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Ubisoft Pirates No-CD Crack?

From the man bites dog file, the Ubisoft forums have indications that in order to get around Ubi's own copy-protection for the Direct2Drive edition of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, a version of the game cracked by a piracy group may have been, well, pirated and distributed. An examination of the internals of the executable allegedly reveals the embedded tag from the pirate group. Thanks Chris.

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50 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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50. Re: No subject Jul 24, 2008, 14:58 manic half
 
pitiful's comment is dead-on.

Several others here are missing the deeply awesome irony inherent in this news item.

not really. you just didnt read the earlier posts.

 
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49. No subject Jul 24, 2008, 14:50 manic half
 
my experience with no-cd cracks and the odd pirated game have been smooth. as long as you actually do some research into what you are getting, youll be fine.

yes there are some dodgy things out there. but then DRM is hardly infallible either.

the whole keylogger within no-cd cracks is just anti-warez group FUD.

 
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48. No subject Jul 22, 2008, 08:05 dryden555
 
pitiful's comment is dead-on.

Several others here are missing the deeply awesome irony inherent in this news item.

 
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47. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 19, 2008, 23:45 JohnnyRotten
 
Ubisoft can't infringe the copyright of an unauthorized derivative work because no copyright for that derivative work actually exists beyond that of the original work.

As Paketep's post shows us, Ubisoft corporate doesn't approve of what happened here, and heads will probably roll. Thus, it appears that Ubisoft doesn't agree with your interpretation of 17 USC 101/103/106 and is moving to correct the issue.

A couple of points here:

[1] Derivative work copyright can and does extend to the creator of the work, not the original owner - USC 17 103(b).

[2] While Ubisoft could make the claim that a crack is a derivative work, I think it would be a tough sell under 17 USC 101. Generally, a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major elements of an original copyrighted work. I don't believe you could sell a crack as an expressive piece of work.

[3] Regardless of whether the claim of derivative work could be made to stick through the courts, it certainly isn't up to Ubisoft or you to determine "authorized" or "unauthorized". That is something that only the courts can decide.

[4] Because of Ubisofts action, it wouldn't likely prevail in court over ownership of any hypothetical unauthorized derivative work "crack" because it has unclean hands at this point. This would be the consequence for taking the law into your own hands (if Ubisoft was stupid enough to go after the crackers for an unauthorized derivative work).

[5] When a work is ruled to be an unauthorized derivative work, it doesn't somehow release the copyright of the derived work into the public domain, i.e. your "there is no copyright restriction". That would have the opposite effect that the owner of the original work is trying to achieve.

[6] The courts, when ruling that something is an "unauthorized derivative work" don't allow the original owner of the work to profit from it. Restitution or compensation, yes; profit, no.

To summarize, Ubisoft can no more distribute this crack under the guise of a self decided "unauthorized derivative work" then can the cracker rebrand the game, add their crack, and distribute it on their own.

Furthermore, you're barking up wrong trees as for the legalities of cracking and distribution.

- JR


edit: "wouldn't" not "would"

This comment was edited on Jul 20, 00:05.
 
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46. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 19, 2008, 15:24 CreamyBlood
 
Ubisoft is not allowed to distribute the crack for the same reason the crackers aren't allowed to disribute the crack.

Go on. And that reason is...?

 
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45. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 19, 2008, 10:17 MacD
 
Ubisoft is not allowed to distribute the crack for the same reason the crackers aren't allowed to disribute the crack.

 
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44. Re: No subject Jul 19, 2008, 01:30 m00t
 
Varies. It has decreased a bit the last time I looked (or better hidden, but probably decreased). Early on they were almost exclusively keyloggers or back.orifice type things. While the level of keyloggers stayed roughly the same there was a brief rise in generic adware installers that grew more in to just a general 'download from site x, install whatever is there' type thing. fairly small and simple tucked in directly to the cracked .exe or the key gen. A number of them didn't even work or only worked on older OSes (ME, 2k) so I don't think they were trying all that hard some of the time. The most common one I've seen recently has been registry fishing for popular games and their CD keys/key hashes.

there were a couple groups that were always clean and a couple that were always 'dirty'.

I hate having to keep my CDs handy for all the games I have, so I kept trying to find clean cracks.

Basically it comes down to, just like DRM, you are trusting them completely. Current DRM solutions are as bad or worse than a lot of malware out there, so either way you go, you're probably going to get screwed.


--
Also, a lot of the time it was the packaging from the site that had the malware more than the crack, so where you get it from can have as much to do with it as anything.


I don't like having to crack games to get around the stupid CD check. I have the CD, it's in a box in the closet where it belongs, not cluttering up my desk with 1,000's of other disks. If I have to spend 30 minutes tracking down a CD every time I get the whim to play something, I'll just play another game. The CD check is the least effective protection in general anyway... such a waste of time.
This comment was edited on Jul 19, 01:35.
 
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43. Re: No subject Jul 19, 2008, 01:16 skyguy
 
Having disassembled more than a few cracks in my time, it is no misconception.

examples? what kind of malware did you find?


 
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42. No subject Jul 19, 2008, 00:12 m00t
 
Having disassembled more than a few cracks in my time, it is no misconception.

 
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41. Re: No subject Jul 18, 2008, 22:27 Jerykk
 
There's a common misconception that pirated software is rife with viruses, malware, spyware, etc. It's probably a result of all the fake releases that get posted on P2P and Bittorrent. However, if you have a genuine release from an established (or sometimes unestablished) group, you can rest assured that it's free of any of that bad stuff, including DRM.

 
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40. Re: No subject Jul 18, 2008, 22:14 sponge
 
Ubi could be liable if the cracked .EXE contained a trojan or other malware, which it probably did.

Probably did? I'd trust something from Reloaded more than I would trust shit like SecuROM and Starforce on my system, and I know I'm not alone on this one.

This comment was edited on Jul 18, 22:14.
 
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39. No subject Jul 18, 2008, 20:14 m00t
 
Nevermind the copyright aspects, Ubi could be liable if the cracked .EXE contained a trojan or other malware, which it probably did.

Also, this suggests that someone at Ubi may be part of or very close to someone in the cracking group depending on when the .exe was put up there.

 
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38. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 18, 2008, 19:33 >U
 
They don't need permission to create a derivative work.
They do in order for it to be granted copyright protection. Otherwise the creators of the derivative work have no legal right to distribute it or to restrict its distribution. They own no copyright to the derivative work whatsoever because it is not eligible for copyright protection. You should have read my reply post in its entirety not just the first part.

They only need permission to distribute it.
But, the creators of the crack did distribute it, and that is what makes it a violation of standard copyright law. The DMCA was violated during the crack's creation, but that is a tangential issue.

There's no part of copyright law that gives them automatic copyright ownership over a derivative work that they did not create themselves.
You are missing the forest for the trees. The derivative work here is not eligible for copyright protection under U.S. law as a derivative work because it was created without authorization of the copyright holder of the underlying/original work, i.e. Ubisoft. Therefore Ubisoft does not need permission of the derivative work's creator to distribute the derivative work because the derivative work has NO additional copyright protection aside from that afforded to the underlying work which Ubisoft already owns. The bottom line is that according to U.S. copyright law Ubisoft can legally distribute the crack even though it didn't create it because the crack contains no copyrighted work other than Ubisoft's own underlying work.

In addition one could also make a strong legal argument that the cracked executable from the game is not substantially different or transformative enough from the original to even meet the legal definition of a derivative work under copyright law. And, in that case this entire argument would be moot, and Ubisoft would still have the legal right to distribute the crack.

This comment was edited on Jul 19, 01:48.
 
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37. Re: ... Jul 18, 2008, 19:07 Jerykk
 
I've read the protection for Gears Of War was particularly extreme, requiring people to stay disconnected from the internet to play properly

I think you read wrong. GoW was easy to crack and the crack worked fine and dandy. Right now, Alone in the Dark's protection scheme seems effective, though it may be due to a lack of interest on behalf of crackers.

Oh yeah, the notion of "casual" piracy doesn't apply anymore. Traditionally, casual piracy has consisted of a friend making a copy of a game for a friend. However, even the most rudimentary protection schemes prevented such copies from playing years ago. In order to bypass this, the player must use a crack. Now, if the player knows how to do this, they can play any pirated game no matter how strong the DRM. If it's been cracked and the player knows where to get the crack, the DRM is completely irrelevant.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the mainstream adoption of the internet means that it's usually easier (and faster) to simply download the game instead of getting a copy from a friend.


This comment was edited on Jul 18, 19:13.
 
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36. Sue the basterds. Jul 18, 2008, 18:42 Yosemite Sam
 
Ubisoft really should take ubisoft to court and sue ubisofts ass off for violating ubisofts TOS.  
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CIV4 MOD http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=326525
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35. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 18, 2008, 16:50 Wowbagger_TIP
 
The DMCA isn't really relevant here because the author(s) of the crack also violated standard U.S. copyright law because they didn't have permission of the game's copyright proprietor (Ubisoft) to create this derivative work in the first place. DMCA or not, the crack is still a violation of copyright law.
They don't need permission to create a derivative work. They only need permission to distribute it. Ubi does not own the copyright on the derivative work, even though it was based on their own. There's no part of copyright law that gives them automatic copyright ownership over a derivative work that they did not create themselves.


 
Avatar 9540
 
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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34. Re: ... Jul 18, 2008, 16:00 >U
 
And how can you possibly know this?
Because I know how to use Google as do the overwhelming majority of those who use the Internet.

The new breeds of DRM might be incredibly effective against casual piracy, which is one of the biggest issues.
First, the notion of "casual piracy" is an anachronism today with the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. As evident by the widespread popularity of P2P websites and services like The Pirate Bay and various P2P search engines, the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material including PC games has become relatively quick and easy. Anyone desiring to download a game for free can do so after a simple Google search. All piracy is casual now because the opportunity for it is so pervasive and it takes so little technical skill and effort to accomplish. The old barriers to entry are long gone.

Second, the new breed of DRM is as ineffective as the last, and that hasn't changed in the past ten years when the original versions of these same copy-protection/DRM systems were first used in PC games. The arrangement may change, but the DRM is still the same old useless tune. Mass Effect's copy-protection has been effectively circumvented judging from reports online. Anyone willing to download a working unauthorized copy of that game can do so with relative ease. Therefore the time and money spent implementing it in the game and supporting it was a waste.

This comment was edited on Jul 18, 16:25.
 
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33. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 18, 2008, 15:39 >U
 
I just doubt that the original authors are going to come forward and make that claim publicly since they had to violate the DMCA in order to create the work.
The DMCA isn't really relevant here because the author(s) of the crack also violated standard U.S. copyright law because they didn't have permission of the game's copyright proprietor (Ubisoft) to create this derivative work in the first place. DMCA or not, the crack is still a violation of copyright law.

So, yes, what Ubi did was also "piracy" in this case.
No, it isn't. Ubisoft can't infringe the copyright of an unauthorized derivative work because no copyright for that derivative work actually exists beyond that of the original work. Yes, legally speaking Ubisoft doesn't own the copyright to that derivative work, but that is because NO ONE DOES since it has no copyright. Therefore, Ubisoft is free to distribute that work since it owns the copyright to the original work and since there is no copyright restriction on the derivative part of the work. An unauthorized derivative work has no copyright protection beyond that of the original work.

This comment was edited on Jul 18, 16:23.
 
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32. ... Jul 18, 2008, 15:26 theyarecomingforyou
 
Using DRM/copy-protection is NOT saving money by preventing unauthorized use because anyone who wants a free unauthorized copy of a game without DRM/copy-protection can already easily obtain one through the Internet.
And how can you possibly know this? The new breeds of DRM might be incredibly effective against casual piracy, which is one of the biggest issues. Sure, they haven't stopped conventional piracy - and P2P sites are still full of listings for games using the current crop of DRM - but we don't know their full impact. I've read the protection for Gears Of War was particularly extreme, requiring people to stay disconnected from the internet to play properly - Mass Effect on the otherhand exhibited bugs at later stages of the game when not properly cracked. If DRM prevented some piracy / increased sales then publishers could be justified in its usage, even though I personally disagree with it.

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31. Re: It's not piracy if you own the work. Jul 18, 2008, 14:19 Wowbagger_TIP
 
Actually from a legal standpoint what Ubisoft did here was not piracy (if piracy is defined as copyright infringement). Ubisoft already owns the copyright to the game, so this "cracked" executable from the game that Ubisoft distributed is simply a derivative work. Regardless of who created this cracked executable, Ubisoft owns the copyright to it and therefore has the right to distribute it.
No, that's not how it works. Ubi does not own the copyright to the derivative work. They cannot legally distribute it. Of course the creators of the derivative work cannot legally distribute it either, as they don't own the copyright to the original work. So, yes, what Ubi did was also "piracy" in this case. I just doubt that the original authors are going to come forward and make that claim publicly since they had to violate the DMCA in order to create the work.

This comment was edited on Jul 18, 14:21.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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