I suppose that archivists must view copy protection technology in about the same light as the librarians of Alexandria would’ve viewed portable flamethrowers.
That’s one positive of the “warez” scene - pretty much all copy protected software ever has been cracked, making it easier to archive for posterity.
Most of the popular software is cracked, but there are a lot of things that aren’t. Check out the work qkumba and 4am have been doing lately, there is a lot of software that remains to be properly copied and archived. Educational software is a big one right now.. It’s historically interesting, but in its day, it wasn’t the cool stuff to work on.
Yes, very good point - I really was thinking of common gaming/application software on personal computers. Lots of areas of software are under-represented in archives - as you say, educational software, console games, enterprise software, etc.
Are professional archivists making use of warez efforts? I’ve heard things like GoG are often found to be quietly distributing cracked executables (and apparently Max Payne 2 on Steam for a while), but it’s not like warez groups are likely to throw a hissy fit about having the copyright infringed on their copy prevention circumvention software. :)
I’m not sure whether they’re making use of it, but they’re certainly treating the warez community as itself historically noteworthy, and archiving things about it: https://archive.org/details/warez-scene-notices-2006-2010