SlySoft is dead, long live RedFox!

A week or so ago, the SlySoft website was suddenly replaced by a terse announcement that “[d]ue to recent regulatory requirements we have had to cease all activities.” I’m willing to bet that most of my readers haven’t heard of SlySoft or their main product, AnyDVD. In essence, AnyDVD is an app that circumvents the DRM present in all DVDs and Blu-ray discs, at the driver level.

There are two reasons for doing this. The first is to circumvent the region encoding used by DVDs, and this was the initial reason I researched and found AnyDVD in the first place. Film distributors divide the world up into six regions, and encode the region into the DRM within the disk. North America is region 1 and Europe is region 2 for example. Manufacturers ensure that their DVD players are locked to a particular region, so that, for example, a US player will not play a DVD from England. And that dear reader is the situation I found myself in: I wanted to buy British DVDs (of TV shows, essentially; examples include Inspector Morse, Shoestring, New Tricks, Waking the Dead, etc) and play them on my laptop over here in the US. In theory, it can’t be done.

Actually in Windows, you can change the DVD player region three or four times, so you could play a UK DVD, then a US one, then a UK one, etc, but pretty quickly Windows would ask to lock the player to a particular region. Enter AnyDVD: it basically fools Windows into thinking at all DVDs are region 1. With it, I could play my legitimately-bought DVDs from England (from, to be precise) on my US laptop.

From there, it’s a small step to rip those DVDs – for my own personal use, I hasten to add – so that I could play the TV episodes on other devices (there was a time I used my Sony Clie PDA for this purpose, believe it or not).

Anyway, without AnyDVD all this would have been impossible. So I bought a lifetime subscription and enjoyed my British DVDs on every device I wanted.

So, I had a distinct sinking feeling a couple of weeks ago. Sure AnyDVD works fine right now, but how soon would it be when it no longer did? What would I do then? I went to eBay and bought an external DVD drive identical to the one I already use. My plan was to lock the new one to region 2, so I could still watch my British DVDs once AnyDVD started to have problems with some future update to Windows 10.

And then … last week I heard news that, although SlySoft was no more, the actual developers of the AnyDVD app wanted to continue producing updates, and in fact published the next one on a forum called RedFox in Belize. And there was also news that they were planning on bringing the purchasing system back online.

I look forward to further updates to AnyDVD, and will probably put my new external DVD player onto eBay again. Or perhaps I’ll keep it for emergencies.

SlySoft logo

Album cover for Carboot SoulNow playing:
Nightmares On Wax - Morse
(from Carboot Soul)

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9 Responses

#1 Daphne Pang said...
15-Mar-16 3:10 AM

Passkey is a great alternative of AnyDVD. I have buy 1-year license for 50% off.

julian m bucknall avatar
#2 julian m bucknall said...
15-Mar-16 7:35 AM

Daphne: Interesting. I googled Passkey vs. AnyDVD and the consensus seems to be that AnyDVD is better. DVD Fab (the company that produces Passkey) is subject to the same issues as SlySoft, so neither product is any more "protected" than the other.

I'll stick to AnyDVD.

Cheers, Julian

#3 Ailsa Pimenova said...
30-Mar-16 12:29 AM

Slysoft’s resurrection RedFox announced that they will have to make the previous customers repay for the incarnated RedFox products. Although they said there would be some discounts offered, I was still pissed off as a lifetime subscriber who has been supporting it for damn so many years. Why not just honor your reputation by honoring your old loyal customers, RedFox? This is absolutely not the business practice I am expecting from a well-known company.

This is pure scam. I see there are naive people who believe Slisoft closed, employees laid off, etc. The old fairy tale. The question is - my money back 109 euros for a lifetime license or not? Something tells me that no one, do not return anything.

julian m bucknall avatar
#4 julian m bucknall said...
30-Mar-16 8:42 AM

Ailsa: First, since you couldn't be bothered to link to the announcement about RedFox charging for the new AnyDVD HD, I will: you can read it here.

Second, in reading that initial post -- and I'll admit to not reading too many of the follow-on comments -- it seems they want to move to a subscription model. Personally speaking? Good for them. The lifetime licensing option essentially was a pyramid scheme: updates to the app are only paid for by new purchasers, and once those started drying up, no income.

And being in the software biz where the company I work for sells its products on a subscription model, your throwaway "I was still pissed off as a lifetime subscriber who has been supporting it for damn so many years" made me laugh incredulously out loud. You paid them $X or €X "many years" ago, and then what? Supported them by downloading the updates once every couple of weeks? Wow, what support. It really puts the bread on the developers' table, that. Let's see: I bought my lifetime subscription in May 2008 for $62.30 (it must have been some one-off deal at the time, I can't recall) and haven't paid them a cent since. (Now I looked it up, that makes me feel somewhat guilty: in the end, SlySoft got, essentially, $8 a year out of me for so many updates, I didn't even refresh every notification I got.)

In conclusion: a subscription model for an app I depend on and use regularly --- oh look, Amazon UK just sent me four more Region 2 DVD sets to play -- is fine by me. And the prices quoted are extremely reasonable. A scam it is not.

Cheers, Julian

#5 Private said...
09-Apr-16 12:21 PM

Hello, may I add my opinion? If you laugh out loud that a company does not have to honour its contracts when they see fit I think their is something wrong with you personally. I have spent thousands over the last decade on their software (Slysoft) and have been using it for over 13 years. (Yes, I know it goes quick) But due to their "closure" (new logo more like) and not even an email from Gordon to announce it, I believe this is nothing more than a scam. I lost my temper with the forum mods last night on the new Forums, and was given around 5 warnings for my use of language. Then this morning when I tried to log in, I was greeted with your ip has been banned. Thus, making me feel that this is even more of a scam than I originally thought. I've contacted PayPal to see if they can get my money back, and hopefully they will.

Also the source code for the programs that they are going to be selling does not belong to them either, even more proof it is a scam.

I think even Elby are starting to distance themselves from them.

Just my two cents....

A warning to those who are considering purchasing any product of theirs in future. Be careful, these sort of scams seem to be the norm now in the software industry. They got closed down for Piracy, and now they seem to promote it even, it wont be long before it happens again.. Kind regards

julian m bucknall avatar
#6 julian m bucknall said...
09-Apr-16 3:35 PM

@Private: Sure you can add your opinion.

  • "If you laugh out loud that a company does not have to honour its contracts when they see fit I think their is something wrong with you personally." Unless I missed something, SlySoft is dead (hence the title of my blog post). Sure it's fun to throw in unsubstantiated gossip that they're still there under their new name, but that's all it is. In the general, I agree with you; in the particular, I think you are misled.

  • "I have spent thousands over the last decade on their software (Slysoft)..." Bloody hell, not sure what you spent $200+ per year on (assuming $2000 over 10 years) -- as mentioned above I spent $62.30 once and once only -- but you have my sympathy.

  • "nothing more than a scam" Sorry, disagree, the news as reported makes sense to me. Doesn't have to be a scam. Unsubstantiated opinion.

  • "lost my temper [...] been banned" Tough. It's their site, their forums, they can ban who they like. Piss them off, or to quote them, "enough with the foul language, threats and other things", you're gone. Nothing to do with being a scam or being legit.

  • "the source code for the programs that they are going to be selling does not belong to them either" Says you without any proof at all. I could just as easily state that SlySoft was just the business arm of the developers of the software and now they're setting up another business arm in another country, and be just as convincing as you and with just as much proof.

As to your warning, it seems you have a chip on your shoulder about software, software companies in particular, and this perceived slight has been annoying you for a while. SlySoft/RedFox is just the latest incarnation. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Cheers, Julian

#7 Mark said...
30-Apr-16 3:50 PM

I have been an LTL holder of all the Slysoft products for a decade or more. The rebranded Slysoft is a scam! It's developers are trying very hard to convince people that they are being honest but they are not. Are we to believe the software, all the users info, and the website all just mysteriously fell into the other company members hands with no prior communication from the owner. They knew the closure was coming and they planned for it and saw it as an opportunity. It's a load of crap and now when someone post on that redfox forum if the clowns with deletion abilities don't like the posting they delete it. It's a butt kissing contest on the forum. Moderators are to cowardly to say anything, but with good reason they won't have to pay Slysoft/redfox fo their use of the software.

#8 Gazza said...
20-May-16 12:49 PM

I'm personally cheesed off with RedFox's pricing. After promises of discounts for previous license holders, my lifetime license that I purchased just 9 months ago is dead and I am received NO ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT. I have to pay the full amount, less the 20% promo they are currently offering. So anyone that paid the extra for a lifetime license in the recent past (excluding those from December 2015 onwards that they are giving a free 1 year license to) are seriously out-of-pocket. That's no way to treat their customer base. And yes, I do say their, for it is the same developers using the same code, just under a different name.

#9 AnonymousCoward said...
08-Jun-16 9:50 PM

An item I have not seen discussed is what type of privacy can customers expect? Will the customer list ever be compromised to outside parties? Must we use anonymous VPNs and Bitcoins for total anonymity/privacy/protection?

It is a calculated risk to repurchase a lifetime license. However, if we assume the new company will last at least as long as the old one, the yearly rate works out to be a real bargain, compared to the sum of several yearly licenses. And, currently you would be "getting in" at the very beginning, so your overall savings might be even more.

So, both pros and cons to consider.

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