The first educational software for the BBC micro was not copy protected and was on cassette tape. When floppy discs were introduced and educational software became more mainstream in schools, publishers and software houses began to introduce copy protection methods to prevent casual copying of their titles and to allow an inspection copy service.

Gratuitous copying of unprotected software was prevalent up to 1987 and possibly later. Indeed this was often done at a national level by Local Education Authorities and Teacher's Centres.

Whilst some protection was introduced for educational software on tape, protection really took off with the widespread use of floppy disks. Educational software on tape was common only in the early years of the BBC micro.

Each Software House frequently introduced proprietary protection mechanisms. These protection methods also evolved over time, making protection a study in its own right. In some cases the protection method used was much better programmed and much more interesting that the actual title(s) protected!

The naming of these methods used is not official. It is used as a convenience by the Archive to identify different protection methods. Further details about the protection methods found whilst archiving can be seen by clicking the button below.

From mid-2023 protected titles are not routinely de-protected. These are being saved as HFE format images, which can be run using the BeebJIT emulator or copied to a USB memory stick and used in a GOTEK floppy drive emulator on a real BBC Micro. The disc protection is preserved in these images.


2018 - 2023