I was in the same page 4 years ago. My studio burned and lost every piece of equipment, software.... even my VPC1.... ALL. And even though the license usb key worked, the licenses vanished from the key. I had all my license numbers and receipts saved. But, VSL didn't risk believing me. They quickly mentioned to me the small wording at the end of contracts that technically my licenses were lost. ALL of them. I mean, I had about 10,000 at least in those dongles. Contrary to the hate people give to Ilock, even though all my East west licenses also vanished from the key, the Ilock system offers a small fee plus buying a new key and they fixed the issue for me (it's worth every coin they charge). The elicenser system supposed to be a security company...but, they are not even capable of retrieving their own data. I am sure they know about that gap in their system, where they don't offer additional protection unless you buy it from them.
One way or another, I find that usb keys are good, if they work like Ilock. Elicenser, on the other hand, is a massive risk you have to work with. I find that the companies using elicenser type of security are better off switching to something like Ilock or simply develop their own serial activation like Native Instruments. If I were choose, it's better to go brute force and have kontakt style security. I am sure I will ditch cubase and vsl completely if that ever happens to me again. What happened to me made me almost completely divorce from vsl and switch 95% to kontakt.... Only VEP7 remains.... And, to be fair, when single computers are able to load more than 128gb of ram for cheap, I am sure, vsl will loose a lot of their business.
Fortunately I only have Cubase Pro 10 and VE Pro 7. I have looked at the sales for VSL libraries and each time I have this horrible memory of the blogs I have read where people paid out £Ks for licensing recovery/replacement. So I won’t ever be buying libraries from VSL while this model is in place.
I got a response to my email about damaged key and was told I could return it and have them look at it. Then if they found it recoverable but out of warranty they would charge up to £100 for recovery. Since one replacement license for VEP is £50, I don’t see the point. I may try this uninstalling elicenser but also remember checking on my Mac Pro for the key and it did not work there either. So I think it’s dead. Away for the week, but will check once I am home again.
The problem here is that Steinberg (who are owned by Yamaha) can offer eLicenser protection for their own stuff without additional charge. But for third parties, this most probably comes at a cost. So Yamaha/Steinberg offloads this to VSL, who in turn need to at least partly pass it on to the end customer.
I think they ultimately really need to figure out a different way of protecting their libraries and ditch the eLicenser. For the end user, it's a terrible and uncertain solution.