Found at a thrift shop: the last record of a doomed Apple DRM effort from 1979


Originally published at:


I have a vague memory of an Apple ][ copy protection mechanism that involved pressing disks with specific, intentional physical flaws (missing tracks, intentionally bad sectors, etc.) Since disk handling was in software rather than in hardware, a given disk could load an operation system that knew to avoid the flaws of that very disk, but software running out of context (e.g. your basic disk-cracking software) would crap out when trying to access the protected disk.

Maybe someone else here can fill out the details of this for me – was that a real thing? Are there any modern-day (or even 1990’s) analogs?


goes into some of the details.

Here’s a massive gallery of “cracked game” loadscreens where “the Micron”, “the Burglar” “Mr Krakman”, “the Disk Jockey”, “Sector Seventeen” and countless others crowed about their success.

focusses on tapes, rather than floppies.
explains how Gumball was cracked 33 years after the fact.

So yes. It was a thing.


I can remember steve jobs comment about drm but then the subject sorta died


Wow, so close to being lost forever. Well done digital archivist!


That sounds very similar to the copy protection put on game CD/DVDs back in the past.

Some parts of the disk were intentially filled with broken sectors that would trip up most traditional CD duplication programs.

Easily crackable with software designed to just brute-force the disk and ignore all errors though.


We found basically the contents of a student’s dorm room at a by-the-pound Goodwill, spread across a couple of bins. That included her journal and birth control pills. We bought and destroyed the journal, didn’t go near second-hand birth control or other stuff though.

The stuff you find in there, someone could really ruin someone’s life if they wanted to.


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