The USB-eLicenser (formerly “Steinberg Key”) is a copy protection unit (sometimes called “dongle”) which is needed to use Steinberg’s software range. With the host applications Cubase, Nuendo and WaveLab, the USB-eLicenser is already included in the product package. The USB-eLicenser is also required to run Steinberg VST instruments, but is not included in the product boxes and must be purchased separately if no USB-eLicenser/Steinberg Key is already present on the system.
The USB-eLicenser is actually a tiny computer which stores licenses for Steinberg products, and is connected to a USB port on your computer. All current Steinberg products that use a copy protection device use exactly the same system. The Steinberg copy protection system allows the storage of several licenses on the same USB-eLicenser. Licenses can also be transferred between USB-eLicensers with certain limitations. This can be very useful, for example in the unlikely event of a Steinberg customer wishing to sell a product.