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First Person Shooters (Games) Security

Valve Cracks Down on 20,000 Users 1942

Posted by michael
from the third-degree-burns dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Valve have disabled 20,000 steam user accounts belonging to users who have been caught using a pirated version of the game, or have attempted to use a cdkey to bypass the securom protection found on the retail version of the game. The Steam Forums have been swamped with people now claiming they are unable to play, many claiming they have had their accounts disabled for no reason. A Valve spokesman says, 'The number of people who actually had bought HL2 and used the CD key cheat was VERY small. VERY small. Most people just tried to rip off the game and not bother buying it.'" People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.
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Valve Cracks Down on 20,000 Users

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  • Quit PC gaming... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:58PM (#10900283)
    Now that I have an XBox with XBox live, I have totally ditched PC gaming. Sure I have to pay a little cash but I don't have to deal with this sort of activation garbage, users cheating, etc. So what if I am making Bill Gates rich, he is making me happy. I just nuked my wintendo and made it a gentoo linux box (still looking for type r stickers).
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:59PM (#10900299)

    "A Valve spokesman says, 'The number of people who actually had bought HL2 and used the CD key cheat was VERY small."

    So how draconian are they being? Is that "VERY small" number of users being excluded from the blacklist? Or did they trigger some End Game transgression of the EULA by even trying the CD key cheat?

    If the latter, that would SERIOUSLY suck.

  • Re:It's still fair (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:05PM (#10900397)
    Let's see a show of hands of people who have actually purchased the game and who have problems playing online? I doubt you'd see more hands than what you'd get from statistical noise.

    Now let's see a show of hands of people who didn't purchase the game, are using some kind of crack to get in, and who have problems playing online? You wouldn't see a whole lot of hands, because these people won't own up to it, but if you could read their minds, I'd guess you'd count quite a few, and they're the ones making noise about this whole locking out problem.

    If you don't like the terms and conditions a game -- a completely voluntary activity -- sets forth in order to participate, then don't participate. Simple as that. You want to play, but you don't want to pay? Write your own game.
  • Refunds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nharmon (97591) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:07PM (#10900421) Homepage
    They are disabling accounts, thus effectively preventing people to play the legal games they did buy. So, is Valve obligated to provide refunds to users who cannot access their previously purchased games.

    I mean, if I sell you a car, and you come into my house and steal my laptop, I don't get to take back my car and laptop and keep the money.
  • Re:CD hack? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Cancelled (572486) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:08PM (#10900430)
    I think that's the only real issue here.

    The problem's not that people are pirating the game -It's a problem, don't misunderstand, but the issue of legitimate purchasers being locked out of the game because they chose to circumvent the game's CD requirements.

    IMHO, it's perfectly alright to bypass such protection on a legally purchased copy of the game. For instance, I downloaded such a hack to circumvent the protection on Civ III for the PC, which required that a CD be inserted to play, and which I had purchased at Best Buy. BTW, the hack works great!

    And Valve has a right to 'lock out' customers stealing the game, but they enter a grey area of legality when they lock out legitimate purchasers who simply want to avoid the annoying CD checks on their legal copy of the game.

    I think this is going to be a growing problem as game programmers get wise to the hacks and cracks that are put online almost simultaneously with the game releases. The ideal solution would be one in which the purchaser controls where and how they use the product for which they've paid money, while preventing unauthorized users from doing the same. Valve seems to have nailed a lot of actual piracy with the method they've chosen to use, but they've also impacted some legitimate users as well.

    Interestingly enough, gamers on the Mac (Yes, there are a few!) don't have as many problems with this kinda protection since they can have store and mount CD images directly off their hard drive. When I play Civ on the Mac, I simply have to click the CD image of the game, mount it as a disk image, and bang!, the game thinks I've inserted the CD. Too bad PC users don't also have this option. It's also too bad that more games are not released for the Mac. The G5's ready, but the gaming company's still don't see it as a viable game platform. 8(
  • HL Activation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Smiffa2001 (823436) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:10PM (#10900453)
    I for one don't blame those people that want to risk getting Steam accounts banned by using a cracked game. Speaking as someone that bought the game retail, I spent 2 hours or so watching Steam 'unlock' my copy so I could play it. If someone wants to try to get round this, let em...

    Cracking down on piracy is good, don't get me wrong but at risk of opening up the debate again, I think Valve got it wrong on this one...
  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:11PM (#10900478) Journal
    People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

    Companies are discovering that people will routinely and casually avoid paying for their products or for the use of their services whenever it is easy to avoid such payment.

    Similarly, people routinely and casually avoid stopping at stop signs and using their turn signals.
  • Who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paul248 (536459) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:14PM (#10900527) Homepage
    I can't seem to figure out who Valve is actually banning? If somebody has a pirated version of the game, then they don't even have a Steam account to ban in the first place, because the cracked version bypasses Steam!

    Are they only banning people who actually paid for the game and used a no-cd crack? That's just retarded; It stops the legitimate users but does nothing about the pirates.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fitten (521191) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:16PM (#10900548)
    I don't know about where others live, but where I live, the local software stores salespersons make you aware of any requirements the game has like having to have a valid credit card for activation, monthly fees, etc. before they ring it up. They actually say "you are aware that..." and they'll explain it to you before they ring it up. If you don't want it after knowing that, then they'll put it back on the shelf for you.
  • by Megaweapon (25185) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:17PM (#10900576) Homepage
    You didn't "buy" the software, you bought a license to run the bits on a CD (or in the case of HL2, 5 CDs) as well as the service that Steam provides. You're free to do whatever you want with those CDs: Use them at coasters, throw them at kids, grind them up and put the powder in your coffee. This is true with HL2, MS Windows, Adobe Photoshop, and most other software out there. Whether the game was downloaded or bought on CD isn't really important.
  • Re:cd key? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SlightlyMadman (161529) <slightlymadman@NOSpAm.slightlymad.net> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:19PM (#10900613) Homepage
    When I bought the original HalfLife game years ago, it was shipped with a key that didn't work. I called support and they told me to fax a copy of the cd and case, which I had to go pay to do as I didn't have a fax machine, and they never followed up. I ended up just giving up and buying a second copy of the game because the store where I purchased it wouldn't accept a return. A cracked CD key would have saved me from having to buy the game again that I already legitimately owned.

    I've also used keygens a couple times when going to replay a game I had uninstalled, or after a system upgrade. The key is usually printed on the jewel case or manual, which are easily misplaced, so to play the game I legitimately bought and even have the CD for, I need to get a new key.
  • Re:The $100 Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acceleriter (231439) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:23PM (#10900678)
    They don't have the right to forbid such a sale--the First Sale Doctrine of copyright law means that a seller loses control of an item once it's sold. And if they want to claim it's a license, not a sale, then they'd best quit selling boxes and using the word "buy" in their advertising.
  • TurboTax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dr_db (202135) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:24PM (#10900679)
    I saw the other reply getting modded into the dirt, and decided to reply here :-)

    Up in Canada, the product is QuickTax (same company). I was trying to print out some tax returns for a exparte court visit (exparte meaning does not require proper service). So I find out late Friday afternoon that it's going to be a Monday morning epsisode in court, and I require tax returns. I have all my tax returns on cd, not printed, because, hey, I own the software.

    I got 1999 printed, but not 2000, 2001 or 2002. Why? Because I had installed the software on an older, now dead and gone machine, previously when I did the original fucking returns. So their 'activation' detected that it was a new machine and prevented me from installing and printing out my returns. I attempted to call their amazing technical support, but because it was out of tax season, it was 9-5 Monday to Friday, or in my time zone, 10-6. So basically, they expect someone to make personal calls from work.

    I ended up calling Revenue Canada and having someone pick up summary returns while I delayed in court. Thank you Intuit, for worrying that I might be trying to redo a 3 year old tax return. If you are going to disable shit, allow people to at least PRINT OUT WHAT THEY ALREADY HAVE and kill the ability to make a new return, or something more useful than that. And it would be nice if you would reply to emails too.

    I use XP, simply because it came with my laptop. I do not use Office XP or later, or other software that requires *activation* unless I can now absolutely avoid it. After all, how are you supposed to ensure the company you are buying from will remain in business in case you need to reinstall. And for all you linux zealots that are going to attack me on the using Windows statement - piss off. I develop software for the predominant platform so I can feed my kids.

  • by AndyBassTbn (789174) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:25PM (#10900711) Homepage
    Those who would do good don't need laws to force them; those who would do evil will do so regardless of the law.

    That being said, I hope to make it clear that I feel software piracy is wrong. However, Steam/Valve is doing itself a great disservice, seeing as how people who want to pirate their software will find a way to no matter what they do to enforce their licensing. Windows XP should stand as a good example - how long was it before the activation was cracked? Answer: days at most. When pirate keys were banned, we had SP1 cracks.

    So what happens when the activation software shuts down the OS/game/whatever on a non cracked version? It often shuts down a legit user who simply changed hardware or the like.

    So, we have a situation which puts the old wine of my original quote into the new modern wineskin - those who pay for software don't need activation to make them do so, and those who don't pay for software will circumvent any activation schemes in place.

    And, as is the case in both examples, only the law -abiding citizen is left restricted by the laws/copy protections intended for the non-law-abiding sort.

    Now, does this necessarily make laws/copyguards unnecessary? No, I'm not that naive. These are generally designed as a method of discouraging people from casually "changing camps," on top of providing recourse against those who do break the rules.

    I suppose my real point here is that the only losers here are those in the right; those in the wrong have nothing to lose. Therefore, I don't see how such draconian methods will help Valve in the long run.
  • Re:Good News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fweeky (41046) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:29PM (#10900753) Homepage
    Dunno about you, but I nocd every game I buy, because I don't see the point in having to juggle CDs every time I want to play a different game. If I'm lucky I might manage to make a game work with a virtual CD drive and an image of the CD, but that's precisely the kind of thing these protections are designed to prevent, so it's hit-and-miss. Plus I don't see why I should waste another 700MB of disk space for a 3k private key I've already paid to use.

    This is especially relevent when a given protection refuses to let me use legitimate software on my system, like CD/DVD burning software and virtual CD drives.

    If I hadn't bought HL2 off Steam, I'd be very, very angry around about now.
  • by shredluc (805905) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:32PM (#10900802) Journal
    They
    bought something but that doesn't mean that they own what they bought.


    Definition of bought:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q= bought

    Also if you dont understand that one,
    (definition of acquire, defines bought):
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q =acquire

    The plot thickens,
    (definition of possession, defines acquire):
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search? q=possessio n

    If you don't feel like clicking the links, let me summarize it for you:

    to "buy", past tense "bought" is defined as "acquiring", but to "acquire" is to gain "possession", but "possession" is defined as "something owned."

    Go ahead read it, it's right in the english dictionary.

    So what you have just stated is an Oxymoron. What i have bought, is mine and i have the right to do what i want with it.
    Examples:
    House - i bought it - i own it. if i want to tear it down i can
    Car - i bought it - i own it. - if i want to junk it or tear it to pieces i can
    Underwear - i bought em- i own em. if i want to wear them on my head in private i can
    Video Game - i bought it - i own it if i want to play without a cd or online authorization, i can. and i will dammit. Cause valve is infinging on my right as owner of said property.

    You dont have to show anyone the deed to the house every time you step through the front door, do you?
    I don't have to fax over a copy of the car title to the DMV every time i want to start a car do i?
    I don't have to call Hanes every time i want to put on clean underwear now do i?
    So why should i have to do those things with Valve's software, or any software for that matter.

    On the other hand , i completely and wholehartedly agree with the rest of your comment.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by karmatic (776420) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:37PM (#10900882)
    Bzzt. Try again.

    Title 17, Section 117 of the US Code [cornell.edu]. The relevant part is (a)(1). It is not infringement to make copies necessary to run the program. You don't need a license at all to run a program.
  • Re:cd key? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtkluttz (244325) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:37PM (#10900888) Homepage
    I have lost CD cases with the number many times. I have also purchased software online and given a number in an email.

    I bought it... have proof that I bought it but can't use it unless I resort to using cracks. The same problem exists for DRM'd E-books that I have bought. I reinstalled my computer from scratch but can't reactivate my E-Books because Barnes and Noble doesn't do it anymore.
  • Re:It's still fair (Score:3, Interesting)

    by janoc (699997) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:49PM (#10901102)
    What a load of bull ... Sorry folks, but many people here either do not know what they are talking about (standard Slashdot) or are just simply wrong.

    Steam as spyware - you can refuse participation in the survey and no data are collected. Everything is disclosed to you in cca three lines legible to everybody (unless you are illiterate). How this qualifies as spyware is a mystery to me. Why was the parent modded as "interesting" ??

    Expiration, disabling the game and such - actually, if you want to just play the single player game (there is no multiplayer, BTW, just CounterStrike: Source bundled), you need to activate the game once and then do not need to connect to Steam. You can play in "offline" mode without problem. So, even if Valve goes under, you can still play.

    For CounterStrike that's another matter, the strict checks are necessary evil to help stem the rampant cheating known from the older version.

    No-CD cracks - well, that would be interesting. I have a DVD edition of the game and to have to insert it each time is annoying (especially since it installed cca 4GB os stuff on disk already). I guess a No-CD update will be released later.

    So stop screaming "rip-off", nobody forced you to buy the game. The Steam requirements were known for a long time and I am really not sorry at all for the freeloaders. I really do not get why many people seems to think that they are entitled to play the game without paying for it.

  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:50PM (#10901118)

    I don't have my HL2 box in front of me, but I'm guessing it says somewhere on the outside "By using this software you agree to the license contained within" or something like that. If that does exist on the box, then "average joe" has no right to complain.

    First of all, I half-expected you to be right about them putting some kind of disclaimer on the box, but I just checked my box. Nothing on it mentions anything about a EULA. Not even in the itty-bitty print at the bottom.

    Second, it goes completely counter to traditional contract-law that you can assume that a person agrees to a contract that they haven't had the opportunity to read. There's no "well you should have known the terms ahead of time". That doesn't fly. How can I know the terms if I can't read the EULA?

    If you can't read the license in the box, then don't buy the product if you don't think you'd agree with it in the first place. What is so hard about that?

    Again, if you haven't had the opportunity to read the EULA, then there's no way to know whether you would agree to it or not. This isn't Vegas. We're not playing roulette. This is about law, and that's something that you shouldn't have to guess about. It's either written there for you to read, and thus enforceable, or it's not, and thus not enforceable. That's the bottom line.

  • by Lisandro (799651) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:54PM (#10901171)
    You're missing the picture here. My example was a scenario where you buy a book, get home to read it, and find out you can only legally read it from 8 to 10am, on Sundays, and only if it's raining. No one is discussing the copyrighted media contained in the book.

    You buy a book, you should get a book, and not a license agreement. You buy a game (which is being sold to you as a game, and not as a licence) and you should get precisely that as well.
  • Re:Who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by retro128 (318602) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:55PM (#10901179)
    Precisely. I would like to know exactly what criteria Valve used to figure out who to ban. I bought the retail version and was considering installing a No-CD crack to avoid having to put the disc in when I want to play...I guess not anymore!

    Assuming I did and I got banned...I paid $60 for the game after tax, and just like that Vavle decides they can pull the rug out from under me because I don't want to have to find the damned CD when I want to play? That is utter BS. And let's remember this is the software industry, things can change overnight. Valve could close down one day (anyone remember Sierra?) and what happens then? I'm not allowed to play the game anymore? What happens if Steam gets hacked and my key gets stolen? Is their bot going to auto disable me? I respect that Valve is trying to limit piracy, as is the right of any software publisher, but Steam is going overboard. I feel I haven't paid for jack, and that Valve controls when I can play the game which I shelled out this money for.

    I had no idea how evil Steam was before I bought HL2, but you had better believe it will be the last game I buy or play that uses it or a similar activation scheme. The sad thing is I'm willing to bet that other software manufacturers will see how much money Valve is raking in because of it and adopt a similar scheme, or maybe even license Steam itself. Oh well, I've given up TV and movies, how much harder can video games be?

    At least I'll have the time to do more Linux hacking or go back to the occasional classic with DOSBox [sourceforge.net] :)
  • Re:CD hack? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:00PM (#10901261)
    The real question here is: are your options 1 and 2 correct?

    1) The company does nothing. They loose sales. Bad for them.

    Does a lack of invasive copy protection lead to decrease sales? Or, the other way round: do invasive copy protection schemes increase sales? And in a related issue:

    2) The company builds in DRM. This causes consumers to complain. Bad for us.

    Could the consumer aggravation lead to decreased sales? Does it have any other side effects for the company that could eventually lead to decreased sales?

    Of course, the answers might well be that invasive schemes do actually increase sales by some margin and the consumer aggravation isn't something to worry about. There are few people who won't buy a game because of the current and previous "sins" of a developer or publisher.

    On the other hand, many people quite correctly argue that many invasive schemes annoy the paying customer, but don't do much more than inconvenience the typical pirate. Publishers often claim that copy protection serves to prevent casual pirates from copying the game. I don't think that works anymore: cd cracks are incredibly easy to find on both the web and in filesharing networks.
    Then you get only the bad aspects, and even if you don't care about your customers hating you, you don't get out of anything.
  • by Poseidon88 (791279) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:02PM (#10901287)
    You didn't buy a game. You haven't bought a game in probably about 10 years (about when game developers started including EULAs). If you think you've been buying games, you're deluding yourself.

    What you've been buying all these years are licenses to use a piece of software. The company that owns the software (in this case, Valve) can revoke your license any time they want, if they feel you have violated the license agreement. The difference now is that, for the first time, Steam allows them to do so with real and immediate effect. You are free to contest a revocation by contacting the owner, or by taking your case to a court of law, if you feel you did not violate the license agreement.

    If you want to argue whether or not software should be licensed, that's fine. But this is the way it currently works, so you'd better get used to it.

  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:03PM (#10901316) Journal
    The usual way to prove to them that you bought the game is to send them photographs in JPEG format of the box, manual and CD key sticker.

    Of course.

    So, I'd just need to go buy a digital camera, take a picture, email it to them, then wait for someone to get around to opening my email (someone with no motivation to rush, as they would already have my money in pocket), and maybe they'll let me play?

    Frickin' hilarious.

    I would have liked to play this, but hades will get a tad chilly before I put up with BS like that.

    Another poster had the right idea. When I buy a game, I expect it to just work, like any other game. I pop it in the CD drive, install it, and start playing. Any other steps involved and it goes back to the store.

    About which... Quick hint - Many stores refuse to accept opened software returns, but depending on your state's "warrant of merchantability" laws, they usually can't legally refuse you. Nor can they limit you to accepting a replacement of the same product. If it doesn't work, end of story, they take it back. Funny how "state law" trumps "store policy" every time.
  • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:13PM (#10901445)
    Why aren't they just blocking those users from Half-Life 2 instead of revoking (shall we say "stealing" since they like to mis-use the word too) ligitemately purchased licenses for other products too?

    More importantly, why aren't more people telling this company to fuck off? When TurboTax tried the activation bullshit, there was a huge public outcry, people applied for refunds in droves (and got them in states where the laws allow them), and rushed to H&R Block's TaxCut. TurboTax got the message big time and took out a full page ad in the NY Times and other major newspapers apologizing for the incident and as a result TurboTax for this year has no activation required.

    Of course, I can answer my own question: because there are other ways to do your taxes, but Half-Life 2 is shiny and game addicts need their fix. If you hate a company's product, you shouldn't support them. People need to be stronger and stop buying movies and DVDs and software that impose restrictions. Only then will the companies wake up.

  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:13PM (#10901455) Journal
    Actually, most states have that law. Most people do not realize it. The laws are also "dummy" laws - which means they cannot be waived no matter what sign is posted, or document you sign. Stores just try and "freighten" you by acting like the store knows best. In all reality - just grow a back-bone, know your rights, and stand up for yourself....within minutes the manager will refund you fully.
    Another great thing to do is - buy with your credit card - you get plenty of protection. My mom's fiancee bought a laptop through Dell - didn't use it - but was able to return it two months later for a full refund due to his AMEX card...
    Just a side note, I live in PA -A
  • by AviLazar (741826) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:17PM (#10901503) Journal
    And the state law backs this up? You guys got p0wn3d by the corps. Check up on that (if you haven't already) - but don't listen to a store salesman (obviously). Also, I suggest purchasing with a credit card. They don't give a rats ass about the law - they just tell the store to accept the return or never be able to use Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or whatever card you used... Very effective that pressure from the big guy.
  • Lost Customers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:41PM (#10901843)
    I'm one of those would be customers this B.S. has lost.

    I was really looking forward to Half-Life2.
    But my laptop is often unable to connect to anything when(where) I'm playing, and I've been known to take out that power sucking cd/dvd drive to make room for a spare battery.

    Obviously the stream activation/check in with mothership is not a good thing for me. Same with the CD route.

    Besides, if I purchased via Stream, what do I do when I nuke and pave? It happens about every 8 months, if not every semester. (Yes, I'm a college student.) Can I download a copy to store on cd/dvd for when I reload, or do I have to download from stream everytime? And what do I do when the company changes, fails, stops supporting it? (That's not speculation, it will happen, and probably way too soon...)

    Basically this whole HL2 mess looks like a timebomb debacle of incompetence that will only get worse.
    At least they didn't tie the installation to a specific processor id code... Guess that's in the next patch....
  • Re:No problem... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kazymyr (190114) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:44PM (#10901892) Journal
    So what are you going to do when, in a day or a week or a month or a year, the steam database has a glitch and marks your account as using a stolen key? Or when steam is cracked (because it WILL be sooner or later - the temptation is just too great) and Valve will start locking down legitimate accounts? What recourse will you have then?
  • Lies and Damnation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:49PM (#10901966)
    This is why I will NEVER work in the gaming industry. I spent over 10 years going broke in the gaming industry and after leaving, I will never look back. It is so nice to work for people who appreciate your help. Computer Gaming is for the most part a thankless job.

    These kids are so spoiled, they have had the paradise of American opportunity handed to them without any burdens of being raised in an unstable world (such as worrying about where your next meal is coming from, how to stay warm enough to avoid dying from exposure, etc), and they still have the audacity to believe they OWN someone after giving a measly fifty bucks to them. Most of these kids have no concept of what it is like to create something that actually generates money. Nor do they understand the work that goes in to making them. Their idea of work is "I beat the game in 5 hours".

    I'd like to tell all these whiny complainers "Guess what kids, your measly $50 does not buy Valve, their talent, or their game. It buys a revocable license to play. Don't like it? Good. Tell your friends not to steal."

    These kids will lie, cheat, manipulate, and do anything to circumvent any effort to make an even playing field online. Including coming up with the most bizarre story about how my uncle's brother's cousin shot the dog that was my sisters and so I bought her this game to make her feel better and she thought it was for her friend....

    Sure. Whatever. Once in awhile those stories will be true and someone unfortunately will be inconvenienced.

    So what.

    Believe it or not it is still pretty much a reasonably free country. If you don't like Valve, don't buy their stuff. If you don't like Microsoft, don't buy their stuff. If you think there should be something better, get off your ass and go make something better.

    This whole debate is like blaming Ford for loosing your car keys. "I wasn't stealing my car! I can't get into it! Is Ford going to pay to have a locksmith come unlock my car?"

    Adults understand we are inconvenienced by thieves. If nobody ever stole cars, we would not need car keys. If nobody ever stole anything, we would never need keys at all.

    Hey... Imagine that... a world without keys. Every door would open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Wouldn't that be nice?

    On the steam forums someone from the armed forces was complaining about not being able to play on ship because they were not allowed to use internet on their ship. Who was he blaming? Valve. Not the kids that stole the game in the first place, but Valve.

    Someone who's livelihood depends on evil people doing evil things should realize the cost of splash damage.

    Valve is only guilty of making a better lock. They are not guilty of locking these people our of their cars.

    If you lost access, you lost your own keys. Either by choice of occupation or by not keeping the CD-Key secret or by trying to use a cracker to disable the need for leaving the CD in the drive.... It don't matter.

    Buying Half Life again still costs less than re-keying your car.
  • 20,000 Thieves! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:50PM (#10901975)
    "...people that had their accounts disabled had attempted to steal an item worth about $50. 20,000 accounts times $50 - that's about a million dollars worth of illegal attempts. That's hard to ignore."

    Don't just disable their accounts, I say attempt to prosecute some of them, if at all possible. These people are thieves, pure and simple. (I don't care what you think about the definition or semantics of "steal" and copyright infringement; honest people inherently know that the two are for all practical purposes, equal).

    Why do so many of you defend these thieves and act like the company is just so evil? Oh, becasue some of you ARE those thieves and had your account canceled?

    If you can't agree with the terms of service, don't buy or use that product. Pretty simple eh? Its THEIR product, THEY make the rules. We only affect their rules with our wallets and purses, not by stealing or by whining here like little sissies.

    I think its hilarious. The smug little software thieves are so used to getting away with anything, this time they got the smackdown. Go cry some more crybabies.

  • by TheLittleJetson (669035) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:01PM (#10902146)
    Hey great rant, but be realistic. Valve can do whatever they want, because they have the most anticipated game in years. Raise a fuss, tell your friends, maybe even walk around with a "BOYCOTT VALVE" sign. It won't make a dent in the sales. Most people who want to play the game will just shut up, jump through the hoop, and start playing. Those with rigid opinions on software licensing are not the target audience of the game.

    BTW, how exactly is modifiying the program to bypass copy protection routines NOT a derivative work?
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by novex (515891) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:06PM (#10902238)
    no reason to pirate this game?

    lets ee, having payed for a copy of hl and used it for severaly years, upon the release of steam suddenly i couldnt use it. i contacted the people who i payed for teh game via thier support email address, no response. for 3 months i could not use a porduct i had payed for.

    eventualy i was resourcefull enough to send a private message to a vavle staff member via their forum system, and 2 weeks after that he responded letting me know it was fixed.

    i recieved no compensation for having access to a product i have purchased stolen from me.

    so that a reason to "pirate" the game right there, they took 3.5 months of use for a game i had payed them for.

    i feel perfectly entitled to 3.5 months of a game of thiers that i havnt payed for in return.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ralph Yarro (704772) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:16PM (#10902354) Homepage
    I don't own it but I seem to remember others saying that such a stipulation is printed on the box. I could be wrong, however.

    No, you are perfectly correct. Others have said that, in the messages above. They were lying (I have the box in front of me). I can't even guess at why they lie about this but they do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:22PM (#10902425)
    Before half-life 2 became available Steam was online and available for playing other games. I have owned the original half-life game for years and have never barrowed the game to anyone, or shared the key. When the WAN authentication servers went offline and you needed to use a Steam account to play over the Inet, I signed up for a Steam account. I found that someone had already used my key to register for an account. Valve's FAQ said that if I sent in my original printed key, they 'may' reactivate the key for my account and that they would not return the sleeve and key to me even if I provided postage.

    Essentially, someone probably generated and used my Key. Then when I (a real Valve customer) decided to try to get my account back, they made it hard for me, and easy for the thief.

    To make a long story short, there are a lot of games out there. I simply decided that Valve is no longer concerned about its customer and therefore no longer concerned about a good name.

    I will use my dollar to show them what I think by purchasing titles from their competition. Hopefully others will realize that Valve has crossed the line and pay only someone who provides both a good product and A REASONABLE ANTI-PIRACY POLICY.

    Valve may have made sure that two people didn't play the game from my single Key online, but they also made sure that I will never buy a Valve game again. I purchased that game, and never shared it with anyone. Then Valve gave the right to play the game to someone else, and took it from me...
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zurab (188064) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:32PM (#10902533)
    Wow! That would be a great analogy!


    If:

    1. Valve were selling empty boxes.
    2. Valve hadn't made it abundantly clear LONG before the game came out that you would have to activate it.


    +5 insightful (at the time I started replying)? More like -1: No contract law knowledge.

    Sale of an item is a contract between a seller and a buyer. If you accept that you are buying a game software at the store, then that's the whole agreement between you, the buyer, and the seller. If the seller wants to impose additional restrictions onto the buyer which were not agreed upon during the sale (EULA wasn't agreed upon or signed during the transaction), then the seller has to provide additional consideration in return. If the seller provides no additional consideration, then there can be no lawful contract. And buyer refusing that additional consideration cannot be denied the original purchase item either.

    So, what does NOT constitute an agreement?
    - printing some website URL on the back of the box does not consitute a buyer agreeing to it if the contract is not expressly agreed upon during the actual sale;
    - some "common" knowledge or a suspicion that some kind of EULA text probably or possibly exists somewhere does not constitute to a buyer agreeing to it;
    - anything else to which you, the buyer, did not expressly agree to at the time of purchase cannot be considered as a part of the sales transaction.

    Now, to argue that the required additional consideration provided to you by the seller after the purchase is to let you actually play the game, then you have to admit that you didn't really purchase a copy of the game at the store, but rather a coaster and possibly a copy of a manual. In that case, the almost empty can of pears analogy is more appropriate, but of course not perfect.

    It would be more like - buy this can of pears from IPFruit, Inc., having a small print that you need to activate the can before you can use those pears. When you go home you find out that "activation" involves agreeing to additional restrictions in an EULA that says you can only use IPFruit approved forks for handling pears, you cannot re-sell directly or any food item that contains the pears, and you cannot share them with your friends or neighbors either by any means.

    Disclaimer: IANAL.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sffubs (561863) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @04:37PM (#10902594)
    A friend of mine came up with the idea that the set of laws should be restricted, by forcing them to fit inside a book of fixed length (say 200 pages of 12pt text). That way, when a new law gets brought in, they have to get rid of an old one (or make an old one simpler), and everyone gets a better chance of understanding the law.

    I reckon that's not a bad idea.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @05:28PM (#10903293)
    Another great thing to do is - buy with your credit card - you get plenty of protection. My mom's fiancee bought a laptop through Dell - didn't use it - but was able to return it two months later for a full refund due to his AMEX card...

    Correction: Do not buy with "your credit card". Buy with "your American Express card". American Express is notorious in retail stores because they defend you more than any other credit card company and even let you charge back a transaction to the store and keep the item (even if it's a large one) if you claim that they didn't let you return it. This includes items that are specifically marked "Open Box -- Final Sale" or "Last One -- Final Sale", because American Express apparently doesn't believe in such things.

    Unfortunately, that's also why not everyone carries American Express, as well as why many people that I know have told me that they pay a premium for American Express in comparison to their other cards.
  • Re:You're wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zurab (188064) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @05:43PM (#10903440)
    Err... one more thing - in your analogy if you paid for and bought a car from a seller, and the car was in good condition and completely operational, but next day the seller calls you and tells you that you cannot keep driving that car unless you agree to lend it to the seller's sister on weekends that would not be a valid agreement and you'd be able to say "no" and go on with your life. The idea is that additional conditions cannot be imposed to you single-handedly after the sales transaction.

    Similarly, if any seller activation scheme requires the buyer to give up something (money, rights, whatever) and doesn't give anything in return, and doesn't have an option for the buyer to reject it, then that cannot be a valid contract either.

    This all is assuming that you agree that you are actually buying a copy of the game at the store. Alternatively, you can argue that you are just buying a coaster in a box when you buy software - I don't know how realistic that argument would be, however.
  • Re:HL2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Giggles Of Doom (267141) <michael@red[ ]htning.net ['lig' in gap]> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @05:51PM (#10903504) Homepage
    Thats a fantastic point. If people didn't steal games there wouldn't be copy protection.

    A lot of you feel screwed for having to activate and have a CD in the drive. You say it makes you feel like you're being treated like a criminal. Do you feel like a criminal every time you walk through Wal-Mart's anti-shoplifting scanners? Do you feel like a criminal every time you pass a cop sitting in the median waiting to pick off speeders? How about the times you have to show ID when using a credit card? Or getting asked for ID to buy beer? Do you feel your rights are being violated when the airline check-in person asks to see your ticket? How dare they try to stop people from stealing their product! The obvious answer is : if you don't like it, don't buy it. No one is forcing you to play the game.

    So you can't use the no-cd hack with your retail copy. Big deal. Get a little CD wallet and keep it on your desk with the handful of games that won't let you use no-cd hacks in it. Evidently there IS a problem as they banned TWENTY THOUSAND people, and its only been a week. I love running things off images too, but CD's aren't hard to store in a sorted, compact manner.
  • by SeinJunkie (751833) <seinjunkie@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:53PM (#10904133) Homepage

    In my American Government course, our professor read an article to us something along the lines of "Do the Federalist Papers seem too difficult to understand to you?" He then read how the original writers made sure that the language was understandable by an average farmer at the time.

    I wonder how many more people would know what our laws mean if we hadn't been educationally dumbed down.
  • by Simkin1 (643231) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @08:29PM (#10905067) Homepage
    Well, another one of those dilemas... On the one hand I like not paying a lot of money for software, and while I was in college (long time ago) did dabble in the black-arts. Unfortunately, I'm seeing today that HL2 is not, comparatively speaking, priced high enough for folks to complain about. What am I talking about you might ask? Well... I've noticed since leaving college that the cost of programs used in professional work environments make gaming costs look like pennies. Considering the number of people using the software in the professional environments, companies have to charge more... but in gaming there are millions of folks who are going to buy the software, so the total cost is relatively small. Suffice it to say, I've learned that paying the $50 and moving on with my life is better than surfing the "z" sites for the random crack, and all the potential virii that come with it. Maybe it's just me though.
  • Re:Stop your whining (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Templewood (834034) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @08:40PM (#10905153) Homepage
    Nope.. That's 100% False... Software Industry Hype with a double helping..

    NO-CD Crack/Patches DO have valid uses:

    1) Prevent wear and tear on hardware and cd media. After all the companies are more than willing to replace your CD if it get's scratched beyond use.. NOT.. Granted some will replace a broke/damaged CD.. for a fee.. but they don't have to.

    2) Convinience... The ability to use your lone drive to play audio CD's while playing a game, perhaps you just don't wanna hear the ingame sounds/music.. and would rather kill terrorists to the sounds of "Flight of the Valkeries", or "Anarky in the UK"...

    3) Playing your legally purchased game. Suprisingly enough, some people are unaware that SecurROM 2/3 & 5 (HL2 uses 5), is incompatible with certain CD-R/RW / DVD-R/RW drives, and as such prevents legally purchased versions from runing. A No-CD patch is currently the only way to play the HL2 game you purchased with your money. (Liscense or Direct ownership arguement not withstanding).

    SO no No-CD patches are NOT only for Piracy.

    I know I've used a No-CD patch on all my The Sims games (Purchased @ retail for over $200 total), and I've had little to no trouble with the game, or any of it's expansions. Morrowind tech support even told people to go get the unofficial no-cd patch to fix problems with their game, until they could release a official patch that removed the CD protection checks, because it was AFFECTING their LEGAL CUSTOMERS use of the product they purchased.

    So please before you make blanket idiotic statements, please check your facts, and learn that the Hype the software industry puts out is just that Hype, to make them look better, while they trample on your fair use and consumer rights (What you don't think your elected congressman had YOUR best interests in mind when they (those that did), voted for the DMCA do you?)

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