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Our group has a couple characters that have been writing matrix programs, and now they are selling them.

Its taken them awhile, but the Matrix rules let you write up your own source code programs, and their "bug tests" are well above the recommended minimums set by the book. It takes a couple days to burn a non-copyable copy.

Now they are selling copies of the programs they wrote at the standard 30% of the base price adjusted by the Negotiations. Currently they are selling no more than 3 of each program for fear of GM reprisal.

So far they have brought in over a million NuYen and use some of their profits to pay for "protection" at the next sale. They have taken efforts to do this relatively anonymously and their profits are used to boost their own gear/cyberware/etc.

My Question (finally!):
What is a fair way to work this? How many copies should I allow them to sell? I'm not at all looking to "screw the players" here, so I'm not looking for heavy-handed GM techniques to put characters in line (i.e. attacks at the meets, competitors taking them down at their safehouse, etc). I'm just looking to give them a fair solution or at least a line they shouldn't cross.
Talia Invierno
It was suggested in another thread that, by selling their wares on the open market, PCs also made it likely that a counter to their wares would evolve much more quickly than it would otherwise - in other words, SOTA would hit those programs with a vengeance. Let's see if I can find the link.

Edit: Selling Code for Nuyen. Gives some of the answers you are looking for as well.
First: the market for programs that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars is very, very small. Hardly anyone can afford that. Most of the illegal people that want to use it could have coded it themselves, which kind og goes with the territory for a decker. Furthermore the programming time for any good application is bordering on the insane, literally years for high rated apps.

Corps are going to have a vested interest in killing you. Selling a 200,000Y program for 40k just cost that corp 160k. 160k can buy a damn fine SR team to come and kill you to preserve their profits, and stop you from doing it twice.

All kinds of financial ramifications come from this.

Business would also not buy this software as it comes with no guarentees, no corp rep at stake if it fails, and no recourse.

Just my opinion. It would work fine for very small, affordable programs, but then those don't make a lot of money either.
It depends on what programs you're making. A rating 7 slease program would probably sell fairly well (73.5k apiece, 24.5k through a fixer) amd could be programmed fairly quickly (2 weeks?) if you had access to a good programming environment/host. Plus you can use it yourself!

If you want to make high rating programs within a reasonable amount of time then using a host is almost a must.

Also corpers aren't going to sell mosat of the programs the deckers are making as they're highly illegal.
This actually brings up a good idea for a program option: "Mass-produced". Costs something like 1/2 normal price, but as it's commonly available the security holes it exploits are rapidly closing.

Variant one:

When program is used, roll Host's Security Value against a number equal to 6+program rating-number of weeks since the program hit the streets. For every success, reduce the rating of the program with respect to that host by 2. This negative modifier to the rating applies until superceded with a greater penalty. The Host may roll when the program is used, up to a total of once per two weeks for Blue, once per week for Green, twice per week for Orange, and four times per week for Red. Ultraviolet hosts can just keep rolling, as you're screwed anyway.

Variant two (less forgiving): When program is used, roll Host's security value against a TN generated same as above. When the Host has amassed five net successes against this program over time, the program ceases to work, though each further attempt will still result in a roll by the Host. Once seven net successes are achieved, any attempt to use this program will immediately put the system on Active Alert.

These can be tweaked and/or combined (two levels of mass production with different cost reductions).

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