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PC Games (Games) Security Entertainment Games Your Rights Online

EA Releases DRM License Deactivation Tool 226

Dr_Barnowl writes "Electronic Arts has posted a SecuROM de-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools. This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM." I'm sure EA's hand was forced in part by the FTC's recent warning against deceptive DRM practices. Hal Halpin of the Entertainment Consumers Association commented further on the issue, suggesting to developers that such measures need to be displayed on game boxes, and that standardization of EULAs could be next on the list.
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EA Releases DRM License Deactivation Tool

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  • Standardized EULA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haystor ( 102186 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @03:45PM (#27406521)

    Having a standardized EULA would be a bad thing if it were standardized by the government. They'd be unilaterally agreeing to the terms of the EULA, while right now it is unclear if a EULA is even binding at all.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @03:46PM (#27406553) Homepage
    I wonder how much these companies spend licensing and supporting DRM. Even leaving out sales lost because of DRM, I have a hard time imagining them making up those costs.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @03:47PM (#27406565)
    Well, maybe in some part of the world.
  • by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @03:53PM (#27406661)
    At least you would have an idea what your rights are, and the rights of the publisher. As it stands now, you have no rights, and really, so idea of the publishers rights either, becuase, really, who reads the EULA?
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @03:55PM (#27406689) Journal

    I have had to return two of the Battlefield expansion packs because I could not activate them even after spending several hours on the problem. No matter what I did the online part of the process did not work and I was denied access. These expansion packs were online only so I effectively couldn't use the software at all. Fortunately I bought from a gaming shop that does take returns on games that do not work. I wrote to EA, asked for help. Then again to revoke whatever I'd registered. No reply of course. One day these greedy fools will realize that they're shooting themselves in the foot with DRM. Sure some piracy will be curtailed in some circumstances. So will some legitimate use. In the long run they lose out because the game becomes hard to use and not worth the effort.

  • One day.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:06PM (#27406901)
    One day these greedy fools will realize that they're shooting themselves in the foot with DRM.

    They removed the DRM from Sims 3 and just released a tool to retroactively remove DRM from older games. One could make a reasonably cogent argument that that day is today.

    (Good thing that day wasn't tomorrow, or no one would have believed them.)
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:09PM (#27406953) Homepage Journal

    I remember C&C3: Kane's Wrath patch had SecureROM that caused people (including mine)'s explorer.exe to go bonker and crash. See's+wrath+explorer.exe+securom [] ... :)

  • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:25PM (#27407213) Homepage Journal

    Simple question:
    Do you want the version people pay money for to be as good as the version without DRM that they can get from The Pirate Bay?

  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:37PM (#27407447)

    That's not a simple question at all.

    Of course I want it to be that easy. But making that easy vastly increases the likelihood of small-scale copies (letting a friend borrow the disc, etc.), which for an independent game is considerably more problematic than TPB.

    Your approach is "give it to us or we'll steal it." You know what my reply to that is? "Fuck you, I won't release it at all."

    Creators deserve to make money, too. I want a solution where everyone benefits.

  • Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:45PM (#27407583)

    What you don't understand is that EA's DRM was screwing up computers of people who DID pay!

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:47PM (#27407617)

    So when can I buy a copy of Spore with the assurance it does NOT have SecuROM onboard?

  • Re:Cool... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omnipresentbob ( 858376 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:50PM (#27407657) Homepage

    It is sad. Which is why there should be legislation that makes them read the bills. []

  • by AmaDaden ( 794446 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:11PM (#27407951)

    You know what my reply to that is? "Fuck you

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. Due to all the information that we have at our finger tips if you ever even look like you are thinking this you will get your ass handed to you. People HATE giving money to people they feel are assholes. If they have to then they have to. But if they can avoid it they will.

    The other side of this is that if they hear good things about you they will come to you. The next pair of shoes I buy I will buy though Zappos. Why? Look at these stories. []

    As for you making money I would recommend
    1)Accept donations. Some people might like your stuff so much they will over pay for it.
    2)Ask people who did pirate the game to donate if they liked it. This sounds dumb but it's a way of saying "Look I know some of you are gonna steal this game and there is nothing I can do about it. But Please if you actually like it and would like to see more post-pay for it. I'm not gonna be a jerk about it. I'm just trying to make a living." Most people have trouble ripping off people that are honest and human.
    3)Try to make it easier to buy then steal. Steam is great network for that. At this point I buy games on steam so that I never have to go CD fishing ever again if I want to play an old game

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:14PM (#27407999)

    I've never understood people's belief that they have the right to someone else's work be it music, videos, games, software or whatever. Calling EA an evil overlord for trying to profit from their work and protect it from being stolen is totally goofy. If you don't want to pay for it, you shouldn't have it. I'm sure people are going to trash this statement but if you don't like the DRM they install with it, don't buy it. But stealing a copy of something because you don't like the DRM is theft. Plain and simple.

    Upon careful reflection you'll find the answer was within the whole time!

  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:15PM (#27408009)

    Package a game with some tangible thing -- that increases both my costs and the cost of the game, and in theory drives more people to piracy. Plus, there's pretty few ways, if any, for an independent developer to actually provide anything in that tangible form that anybody would actually want.

    Support -- dunno about you, man, but I'd hope that a game doesn't need support. If it does, I didn't do my job as a developer and a designer.

    Online services -- this is possible/plausible, especially if I do add the possibility of a multiplayer component (the problem being that everything's balanced for single-player, and multiplayer involves ongoing costs).

    Steam is looking more and more tempting, really. Or try to get a WiiWare kit (the game has HTPC and standard-TV resolution modes already, wouldn't be too hard!) and go that route.

    I have zero interest in making life more difficult for those who purchase the game. But, at the same time, I just expect a modicum of fairness afforded to me as the creator ('specially as I've got a couple artists and a fellow musician to pay...).

  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:32PM (#27408281) Homepage

    The best solution would be a standard COTS license, regulated by the FTC, that explicitly permits archival, resale, returns etc.. Any software which wants to use some other license would need a proper paper signature to be enforcable. End the "by breathing you agree to..." EULA forever. The software industry and software consumers both need this.

  • by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:15PM (#27408853) Journal
    I like the concept but I'm wondering how you deal with no internet connectivity? If it can't dial home does it just assume the copy is pirated? If so that's a minor annoyance (depending on how you implement it) but hopefully not enough of one to garner complaints from paying customers. If I might suggest you probably should modify the message if it fails to contact the server to say something along the lines of "I can't contact our server to verify this key, if you paid for this game thank you for your support and please ignore the registration link. If you have pirated this game please consider registering as your support provides incentive for future work." This will hopefully prevent paying customers from feeling like you're accusing them of piracy in the event they're in a situation where they have no internet access (such as the oft reported cases of military personnel in foreign countries).
  • SO true, while i could most likely pirate pennyarcade's drm less game, i have not and will not, why? because i like the guys. on the otherhand OFC i have a pirated copy of spore despite its DRM because i have no intention of paying for something produced by EA.

    So in other words, stealing the value of someone's time and effort is OK depending on who you're taking it from? I wish my morals were that flexible, life would be easy.

  • Re:Cool... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @08:29PM (#27410499) Journal

    The First Congress spent almost six months writing, debating, and rewriting the Bill of Rights, and it was only one page long. Our Congress passed a 780,000 million dollar stimulus bill with thousands of pages and most never read it.

    When the Founders envisioned the Congress, they pictured a body of men who would be highly-intelligent, logical (it was the Age of Reason), and careful in their deliberations, to carefully read every word and weigh its effects.

    Boy were they wrong.

  • by Franklin Brauner ( 1034220 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @11:41PM (#27411879)
    I mean, not seriously, but what about it?
  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @02:20AM (#27412759)

    The thing is, though--they've already taken it. A rational person who accepts as a postulate the right to take a good for free isn't going to pay for something they already have for free.

    Quite literally--and I outright reject the "but it's just copying!" argument, so please don't even bother--they are taking my product without paying. I don't see any reason to expend any effort to help someone who has already stolen from me. As I've said elsewhere in this thread, I think I'll almost certainly accept invalid keys, as from a keygen--but it'll say quite plainly that it's probably not a legally registered copy, you can authenticate again if it is or register without leaving the game by clicking a button, etcetera etcetera. I don't think nagware works terribly well, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

    The "try it for free" argument also smells, too. Like I said, I fully intend a demo of about 20% of the game, approximately ten to twelve hours of content. If you can't decide based on that, I question whether it's not just "get it for free" time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @09:14AM (#27414907)

    While what you outline above is true and correct, the real problem is of course the day EA decides (on its own accord, or forced through its business collapsing, or whatever) to not give a shit about their online activation servers any longer.

    Sucks to be the customer then.

    Oh, what is that I hear some apologists say? "They wouldn't do that." "You wouldn't keep playing games that old." To which I can only respond: Why the fuck do you think that you know anything about, or can decide anything regarding, what they or I will do in the future?

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll