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Handling Plug-in Version Control, Updating, and Copy Protection

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I've hit a serious roadblock dealing with version control, updating, and copy protection on several of my plug-ins and am curious about how some of you handle it.


I have managed to embed version numbers into the plug-ins themselves by adding a popup parameter called '__version', then using GetLocalizedPluginChoice(<plug-in name>, '__version', 1, versionNum), but what's a good method of handling updating?  Using Python to poll an online manifest to determine if a plug-in is out of date?  Then using Python to download the new version from an online depository and overwrite the existing plug-in definition?


Then there's the whole issue of copy protection.  Right now, I sell my plug-ins on Gumroad.com but there's nothing really stopping one person from purchasing the plug-ins and then sharing the .zip package with others.  I've thought about ways to create a key based on a user's serial number, but what is the best way to manage users?  Should I consider writing an external application to manage things?


I'm open to any and all ideas and methods.

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We use a key system based on the last 6 characters of a user's VW license.  Embedded in a given key is information as to which of our products the user has licensed and which version.  This key is generated each time a user buys a license for 1 or more of our tools.  If a user attempts to use our tools w/o a valid key, the bulk of the OIP is disabled and a button to the tools area on our Web site is displayed.


Does that help???

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