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Spore DRM Lawsuit

The Courthouse News Service has news of a class action lawsuit filed in US federal court against Electronic Arts over the digital rights management in Spore, the recently released life simulator (though their reporting of the details of the case is inaccurate). The suit is over the stealthy install of the SecuROM software, rather than the aspects of the DRM that have already been the source of controversy like activation limitations (story). Here's a bit from the court filing: "What purchasers are not told is that, included in the purchase, installation, and operation of Spore is a second, undisclosed program. The name of the second program is SecuROM, which is a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for computer game. Although consumers are told the game uses access control and copy protection technology, consumers are not told this technology is actually an entirely separate, stand-alone program which will download, install, and operate on their computers, along with the Spore download. Consumers are given no control, rights, or options over SecuROM. The program is uninstallable. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio. Even if the consumer uninstalls Spore, and entirely deletes it from their computer, SecuROM remains a fixture in their computer unless and until the consumer completely wipes their hard drive through reformatting or replacement of the drive." Thanks BingeGamer/N4G.

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77 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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77. Re: No subject Oct 19, 2008, 06:05 Jackplug
 
I dont get this, if EA has a deactivation tool for us to claim back
our activations, then why have Securom in the 1st place and it dont stop people from pirating it!!!

I refuse to buy any EA games ever or anyone that uses Securom, as I
refuse to have that piece of shit on my system.
 
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76. Re: No subject Oct 10, 2008, 18:36 Xian97
 
For all how vocal we are about DRM and its restrictions, I think we have to be honest that it's mostly just about principle. If EA allows you five installs and gives you a tool that can get you your installs back, is there really any scenario that causes you to be unable to play/install your game at any one point?

I already had that issue with Bioshock, though it was when it was limited to 3 installs. I installed it on my PC and it was too slow to run it. I uninstalled it but that did not automatically remove the activation and there was no way to get it back unless you run the deactivation tool beforehand. I installed it on my son's PC which was faster. When he wanted to play it under his user account it asked to be activated again. Same PC, just different user account. That made 3 activations used, the limit allowed at the time of release. His hard drive crashed so we lost those two as well with no way to reclaim them. 2K Games tech support was no help, first saying that it shouldn't have asked for another activiation on the 2nd user account, then referring you to Securom who referred you back to 2K Games.

 
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75. Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 15:19 Markus
 
What tools have you been using to research this? Do you have real Ring 0 kernel level proof?

 
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74. No subject Sep 26, 2008, 23:51 Verno
 
Prez

From what I've been able to find running various tools - SecuRom in Spore DOES install a Ring 0 kernel level driver if you install it under an Admin account in Windows XP/Vista. The term "rootkit" is a bit malicious because it implies remote control of your system, SecuRom doesn't technically do what a typical rootkit does but it does indeed install itself and hide itself in the same manner. So the lawsuit does have merit there.

If you install it as a non-admin user, it does not install a "rootkit" level driver, it just installs a higher level(Ring 3) application that I haven't been able to play with yet.

If you're concerned about the DRM, I'd suggest logging into a non-admin account and installing the game. This doesn't avoid installing SecuRom but you do avoid the Ring 0 kernel level crap which really has no business being there, especially from a fucking game.

SecuRom provides an uninstaller but it didn't work for me, I had to manually kill all of the string entries and remove the driver.

 
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73. Re: No subject Sep 26, 2008, 06:14 Navaros
 
This lawsuit is not an abuse of the court system.

Infesting PC games with malware - that is an abuse of consumers. Even moreso when it's done behind their back and without their permission; but it would remain an abuse even with their permission.

That probably has always been illegal, and if it's not, it needs to be. It's high time someone started suing the Hell out of all companies that have committed the crime of infesting their PC games with malware. They are lucky they don't have their corporations entirely shutdown instantly for this crime against humanity, and all the directors imprisoned. In an ideal world, that is exactly what would happen to all corporations that have ever purposefully infested one of their PC titles with malware.

Screw those evil corporations. Power to the people.


This comment was edited on Sep 26, 06:16.
 
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72. Re: No subject Sep 26, 2008, 00:14 Prez
 
So does this mean Securom is in fact a rootkit? From my (limited) understanding, does that not mean that Securom is a security hazard that opens your computer to hackers? I'm confused.  
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71. Re: No subject Sep 25, 2008, 23:11 Creston
 
Sure, Rootkit Revealer. That's actually it's name It was developed by one of the guys at SysInternals, you can read up more on it here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445.aspx

Thanks Verno. I've run it, and it definitely detects the latest "limited install" SecuROM. This is either the version included with Mass Effect or the one with Crysis Warhead. I have no other SecuROM games currently installed.

Creston

 
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70. Re: No subject Sep 25, 2008, 23:00 Creston
 
I think the latest DRM trend is bullshit... but wasting our courts time trying to make a few bucks off EA is even more bullshit.

It doesn't necessarily have to be about making money off of it. With luck, we might get some form of ruling that curbs the insanity of DRM.

PC gamers want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to complain about DRM, but secretly they don't care enough to actually avoid buying the games. They buy them anyway, en masse. Only a select few people (who haven't liked a game made since somewhere in 1997 anyway) are willing to avoid buying a product

For all how vocal we are about DRM and its restrictions, I think we have to be honest that it's mostly just about principle. If EA allows you five installs and gives you a tool that can get you your installs back, is there really any scenario that causes you to be unable to play/install your game at any one point?

I think most people, especially for a game like Spore, have no clue about DRM or what it's doing on their machine, and they will most likely never be affected by it either.

Which might be the whole point of the lawsuit. WE know about the DRM, but do the 1 million sheeple?

Creston

 
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69. Re: No subject Sep 25, 2008, 00:46 Kxmode
 
Awesome! Thanks Verno.

-----
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Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
DRM needs to die... now
 
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68. No subject Sep 24, 2008, 22:43 Verno
 
Sure, Rootkit Revealer. That's actually it's name It was developed by one of the guys at SysInternals, you can read up more on it here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445.aspx

If you're running Windows Vista you'll need to right-click, Run As Administrator. If the Interactive Services window pops up then you need to click it and follow the instructions. Just hit scan and read up on the website about interpreting the results.

Interesting tidbit - the latest version of the SPTD(SCSI Pass-Thru Driver) included in Daemon Tools denies scan access to Rootkit Revealer, I just noticed that in my latest scan. Have to look into that further!

And the download for it is here - http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/RootkitRevealer.zip

There are others I use for work but Google is probably faster than waiting for me to dig through bookmarks tomorrow.


This comment was edited on Sep 24, 22:50.
 
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Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Infamous Second Son, Madden
Watching: Spartan, Possible Worlds, The Changeling
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67. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 22:25 Kxmode
 
Thanks for the follow-up Verno. Can you tell me which Rootkit Revealer app you're using?

I used to hate Punkbuster Service software. I used to think it was malware. But thankfully they released a really nice uninstaller (that actually uninstalls the app, registry settings, etc.). At some point I'm going to need to remove Spore. When I do I want to fully remove SecuROM. If SecuROM could release a similar uninstaller (that covers all versions of their app) then I could feel a LITTLE better about having this nonsense on my system.


-----
http://www.gamemusicjukebox.com/
Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
DRM needs to die... now
This comment was edited on Sep 24, 22:41.
 
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66. No subject Sep 24, 2008, 21:51 Verno
 
I ran Rootkit Revealer which detects the old "rootkit" version of SecuRom from 2007. I installed a retail copy of Spore but it doesn't find anything. Anyone else mind giving it a whirl? I know EA claims its self contained in the executable but I can't verify it for certain without other people giving it a shot. Don't bother with pirated copies, it won't have it. Anyways if someone else has 2 minutes then give it a shot and let us know. I don't think the lawsuit is necessarily a bad thing but hopefully its based on facts and doesn't get tossed.

This comment was edited on Sep 24, 21:53.
 
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Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Infamous Second Son, Madden
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65. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 21:45 Kxmode
 
Please post a link that backs up your claim.

Please post a link that shows the Spore version of SecuRom installs a rootkit. I have yet to see one anywhere in this thread despite that being the only issue in the lawsuit. I read over the complaint and it sounds more like some woman took tidbits of things from Amazon.com and regurgitated it, there's actually some non-factual stuff in it.

Thank you Verno. That is interesting, but I'm still waiting for DangerDog to post a link backing up his statement, "that doesn't uninstall this version of SecuROM protection."

-----
http://www.gamemusicjukebox.com/
Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
DRM needs to die... now
 
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64. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 21:43 Kxmode
 
>>> This inane blathering from Fibrocyte has been hidden. Don’t feed the trolls!

what was that? I can't hear you.

Bats?

-----
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Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
DRM needs to die... now
 
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63. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 21:43 Prez
 
just like about 50% of all the other cases out there

The logic that another frivolous lawsuit is okay because our legal system is already inundated by frivolous lawsuits is a bit specious.

But if you are an anarchist, I can see the attraction.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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62. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 21:35 Krovven
 
Vex, I know all about how they churn out the same crap every year. I QA'd '97 & '98. It's just sad that the AI doesn't seem to have been worked on at all except to add new moves like lifting the stick to the AI. I will say that the Goalies AI has gotten 10x better over the years though. And the players flickering in the PS3 version...that's just brutal that they knew about it and let it go.

With the changes in '08 and even more in '09 I was really expecting a solid Hockey game from EA this time around seeing as I've avoided them for almost 10 years now.

Oh and I wish they'd bring Jim Houston back for play by play.

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61. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 20:24 space captain
 
, but I am of the opinion that this is an abuse of our court system

just like about 50% of all the other cases out there

i say: fuckin do it - lets get the courts involved and see what kind of bullshit they have to say about this other bullshit

bullshit all around.. yippee do da
 
Go forth, and kill!
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60. Re: No subject Sep 24, 2008, 20:19 Vex
 
Re: Dagok's rant about NHL 09 PS3

I highly doubt that EA will issue a patch to fix those issues. I can tell you with 99% certainty that NHL 10 is probably in pre-production right now. I worked QA this summer and NHL 09 was one of the games I tested. Most if not all of the issues you bring up were found by QA, but of course the men/women in the higher echelons shoved it out the door anyway. The only thing EA cares about is if an issue will fail the game when going to certification (CQC/ECG/first-party). Flickering players and retarded AI aren't grounds to fail a game so that shit gets shipped all the time.

Also I would hardly call the effort they are putting into NHL 10 "work". They come up with a base engine for the next gen consoles and then just churn out v 1.1, 1.2 etc. every year like clockwork. Although to be fair, I think FIFA 09 in particular is markedly different than 08. Imagine that! They actually put some effort into it instead of iterating over the vomit they release the previous year.

 
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59. No subject Sep 24, 2008, 20:06 tuddies
 
This offers additional support to the practice of buying retail and using the unlocked files on your computer. DRM is something that is caustic to the customer and should be minimized at all costs. Even if that includes giving altered checksums of the EXE.

 
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58. No subject Sep 24, 2008, 19:38 Hump
 
Odd, I plainly saw the SecurRom logo when it was getting installed.

I'm all for no DRM but at least tell the truth FFS
 
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77 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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