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Two New Class-Action Suits Against EA Over DRM

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the ea's-chickens-have-come-home-to-roost dept.

The Courts 336

In September, we discussed a class-action suit filed against Electronic Arts over the DRM in Spore. Now, two new class-action suits have been filed that target the SecuROM software included in a free trial of the Spore Creature Creator (PDF) and in The Sims 2: Bon Voyage (PDF). If this sort of legal reprisal continues to catch on, EA could be seeing quite a few class-action suits in the future. One of the suits accuses: "The inclusion of undisclosed, secretly installed DRM protection measures with a program that was freely distributed constitutes a major violation of computer owners' absolute right to control what does and what does not get loaded onto their computers, and how their computers shall be used ... [SecuROM] cannot be completely uninstalled. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio ... EA's EULA for Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition makes utterly no mention of any Technical Protection Measures, DRM technology, or SecuROM whatsoever."

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Of course the installer must leave something (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695601)

If uninstalling the free trial would leave your computer in exactly the same state as before, then nothing could stop you from free trying again.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (5, Insightful)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695699)

I'm not sure that's really a great defense. If I uninstall software, I don't expected phantom memory use by something I'm not using anymore.

I know it's not realistic, but it doesn't change that uninstalled programs should not leave shit all over my hard drive.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695755)

There is a difference between leaving "hey, I was here before" traces, and actual executables that continue to load and run on a machine.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695903)

One is easy to circumvent, the other is not?

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696669)

One continues to affect your computer's operation while the other does not.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696867)

You didn't get the hint that you have to compare effectiveness as well.

If EA went with the non-obtrusive solution the Slashdot story would have been "Spore's Free Trial Time Limit Can Be Circumvented With One Registry Key Change", and you'd be ranting about how inept EA was. You can't have it both ways.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695825)

So frikking what?!

It would be the same situation if people had Deep Freeze installed on their PCs... or even if they re-installed or re-imaged their computers after the trial. It is stupid to think that people will not use free things over and over and over again. It is more stupid to take steps to ensure that their computers are impaired or limited in some way to ensure that. Sony did that and it didn't work out so well for them although I believe the remedy wasn't harsh enough.

What if drug manufacturers did the same thing? Modify your body in some way to prevent you from taking more than one free sample? I recognize this a very extreme example of the same general idea which is trying to control what the recipient of free things do with them.

Windows is already flakey and unstable enough as it is with every printer or other hardware maker insisting on loading utilities that start at boot time, AOL instant messenger, MSN messenger and all sorts of other nonsense being installed on top of flaky drivers and kernel mods. All this crap needs to stop. But it is "The American Way."

Software companies feel they need to protect their interests even when it means secret infiltration of property they do not own or otherwise have full legal rights to.

The Bush administration, other members of the government and most rednecks feel it is important to protect our interests even when it means invading other nations, killing people and destabilizing the world in the process. (Here's the acid test to ask yourself if this is okay or not: ask yourself if you would be okay with it if some other nation did that to you? If the answer is "hell no!" then you have your answer.)

Should not have to. (5, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695931)

Why should I have to run Deep Freeze, or any type of software to return my system to a state before a program is installed?

Unless I give explicit permission for a program install something, then it should not be installed.

How is EA doing this different from anyone installing trojans, spyware, or virus?

Re:Should not have to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696831)

You guys have the same point... pay attention to your parent comments. He said so what to the grandparent comments, not to the Article

Re:Should not have to. (0)

panda cakes (1333537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696937)

How is EA doing this different from anyone installing trojans, spyware, or virus?

The difference is that you are in a contract with EA through an EULA you had to agree in order to install and run the software. It does not matter that you did not read it or think it does not have any power because this contract is the only thing allowing you to run and install the software and otherwise you breaking the law yourself.
I know many people are confused by this so I will explain. Mind that IANAL.
You have no right to install software. It's an act of making a copy (in fact even running off a cd is because you are making a copy of the executable imagine in RAM) and this what copyright is all about. Fair use and other exceptions don't apply in this case (for example for Fair Use defense you need to be already granted some rights from the author). There is only one reason you can lawfully run the installer - it's a provision that you can do so if it necessary in order to obtain a permission from the author.
Your right to run and install software is granted in the contract, commonly called "EULA". If you don't agree with it - you have no right to run it and/or keep a copy on your hard drive. If you could not find it or failed to read for some other reason then again, you have no right because the software is a subject of the copyright laws explicitly forbidding you to do this.
So either you have explicitly allowed EA to do whatever they asked you in the EULA when you have entered that contract or you are a criminal, illegally copying a protected work.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (2, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696021)

...What? We're talking about unethical software, not the actions of nations. Don't blow it out of proportion.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696433)

Undoing moderation. Thanks for pointing out the Bush flame at the bottom of the post.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (1, Offtopic)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696245)

The Bush administration, other members of the government and most rednecks feel it is important to protect our interests even when it means invading other nations, killing people and destabilizing the world in the process. (Here's the acid test to ask yourself if this is okay or not: ask yourself if you would be okay with it if some other nation did that to you? If the answer is "hell no!" then you have your answer.)

While that rant was way off topic, let me respond anyway.

How about we use a more valid analogy. If my country was full of wild eyed lunatics who kept running across the border and blowing up bystanders in other countries, as well as blowing up citizens at home for talking to the wrong person, worshiping the wrong God or wearing the wrong article of clothing, would it be OK for someone to invade us? Yes, and I'd probably welcome it. That's the correct analogy that you should have use when talking about Afghanistan.

And a valid analogy for Iraq would be this: If my country was full of lunatics who also would kill people for the wrong beliefs, if my country was governed by a brutal dictator who put protesters through plastic shredders, launched unprovoked wars on neighbors Canada and Mexico and used chemical weapons of mass destruction on them (this equates to Iraq attacking Iran and Kuwait), and if that dictator further used chemical weapons in an attempt to wipe out all the black people and the Amish (equatable to Saddam's genocidal reprisals against Kurds, an ethnic group, and Shiites, a religious group), and if that dictator appeared to have a continuing desire to get more WMDs and never showed anyone he destroyed the ones he had, would it be ok for someone to invade us? Umm... yes! And again, I'd be out welcoming it!!

While I don't know your particular political orientation, I can guess that you are probably liberal. So here's a question for you to try out: why was it wrong for Bush to go into Iraq, but right for liberal President Bill Clinton to go invade Bosnia and Kosovo? If you claim we have no valid security interest in Iraq (I think everyone knows we had one in Afghanistan), than we sure as heck didn't have one in Kosovo! That was nothing but a pure nation building/police exercise which, if it was handled at all, should have been handled by the Europeans, since it was at best a minor regional squabble in their backyard and didn't involve either attacks on us (Afghanistan) or repeated invasion of other countries and allies (Iraq). But liberals never complained about that. They only complain about Bush and Iraq because it is the fashionable thing to do, and he's in the wrong party. Try using your brain for a bit, and make sure you use some more valid analogies in the future.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696299)

...

who put protesters through plastic shredders

...

Wasn't that completely debunked by now?

Oh, it was. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696747)

It would only be justified if it worked, and you could be sure that they weren't just bringing in or fostering their own set of murderous wild-eyed lunatics.

Have you looked at Iraq and Afghanistan lately? The Taleban is on the rebound, civil services have gone back to the same levels they were under the _Russians_ in Afghanistan, and Iraq has become a recruiting ground for Muslim terrorists worldwide. The invasion has, in fact, made it less safe than it was under Hussein, at least for those in Baghdad.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695937)

Fine, but they need to ask permission before making a change that can only be backed out by reformatting your HD. Either that, or PAY for you to have your machine reformatted and re-installed with everything but their steaming pile.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696161)

Why would they want to stop you from using something that they are giving away for free? EA do not stop you from reinstalling the program, nor would they ever wish to do so. As a result, there is no justification for leaving any traces of anything behind when you uninstall.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (5, Informative)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696473)

It might sound like a dumb idea and has no reason (there is no disc to authenticate with), but the DRM is present in demo versions only because crackers used to use demos to crack the retail versions of the games. They were a good starting point (especially with StarForce games) as most of the code to start the game was EXACTLY the same as what would appear in the retail version if it had not a copy protection placed on it.

Re:Of course the installer must leave something (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696317)

I'm sure the companies that offer a free trial would find a way for their business to work.

In other words, I don't care.

Hugely disappointed with Spore (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695603)

I'm never buying anything made by Wil Wheaton again.

i hope they burn (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695617)

and lots of others like them should join them

DRM has something to do with niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695627)

DRM may not be from Africa but it's still a nigger.

What's to stop them? (4, Insightful)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695653)

What's to stop them from including a clause in their EULA allowing the installation of shadow DRM?

Re:What's to stop them? (5, Informative)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695705)

IANAL

There is a principle in law that a clause in the contract can not invalidate a law. Also, you cannot waive a fundamental right that is granted by the constitution. To give an (absurd) example...

In a hidden clause of a contract (or EULA) it says that you agree to give up your first born child. If the other party tries to enforce that clause of the contract, the courts would invalidate that clause (and maybe the entire contract).

Re:What's to stop them? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695801)

Unconscionability [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's to stop them? (5, Interesting)

Red Alastor (742410) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696165)

Also, this is not a contract. Clicking 'I agree' is not a legal way to sign a contract and it is not legal to unilaterally add conditions once a deal is done (once you gave them money, they can't force more conditions on you). They know this, this is why they call it a license. However, a license cannot only grant you rights, it cannot remove them from you.

Hence, EULAs are bogus.

Re:What's to stop them? (4, Interesting)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696499)

The courts do not see it that way. I've seen a number of cases were EULA's were deemed valid, I have yet to see one where the EULA was deemed invalid (though parts of it being unconscionable are probably common enough).

Re:What's to stop them? (4, Interesting)

williamhb (758070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696545)

Also, this is not a contract. Clicking 'I agree' is not a legal way to sign a contract and it is not legal to unilaterally add conditions once a deal is done (once you gave them money, they can't force more conditions on you). They know this, this is why they call it a license. However, a license cannot only grant you rights, it cannot remove them from you. Hence, EULAs are bogus.

Some courts have upheld EULAs in the past. In some cases they have even upheld shrinkwrap EULAs that you cannot see until after you have accepted them (where a 'reasonable person' would have expected the clause to be present in the contract). I am not a lawyer, but I strongly suspect the parent poster isn't either and you should think twice about taking his "EULAs are bogus" advice.

Re:What's to stop them? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696687)

The software companies claim you should hire a lawyer before installing any program to review the license for $200 an hour. Pfft

Why does software get this special treatment?

Imagine not buying anything and just buying a license to use products like groceries or your car? People may actually want to hire a lawyer before buying a car if they pull this crap but its not worth it for a $45 game.

Re:What's to stop them? (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696517)

In a hidden clause of a contract (or EULA) it says that you agree to give up your first born child.

Damn, EA is getting tight on those EULAs. Oh well he was a cute little bugger, but he screams and poops a lot and I REALLY want to play Spore. "Hey honey, where's our son at the moment?" ;-)

Re:What's to stop them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696823)

"Hey honey, where's our son at the moment?" ;-)

Don't you know? Your wife had a similar idea and they already took him.

Re:What's to stop them? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696839)

In a hidden clause of a contract (or EULA) it says that you agree to give up your first born child.

Damn, EA is getting tight on those EULAs. Oh well he was a cute little bugger, but he screams and poops a lot and I REALLY want to play Spore. "Hey honey, where's our son at the moment?" ;-)

"Oh come on Honey, that's not mean. They probably just want him to bring him up as a code slave. You know the drill, 120 hour weeks for a pitance wage. Just like daddy. Only we won't have to feed him or pay for college because EA will train him in house...and I get to play Spore. Tell you what, I'll buy you a nice necklace with some of the money we save. See, honey, everybody wins!"

15 minutes and no posts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695657)

apparently nobody cares.

I prefer another form of protest (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695659)

I've just stopped buying any of their games. Simple yes, but the easiest form of protest, and it works because they are right now down about £200 in lost sales from me.
I don't download them from piracy sites either, I just completely ignore their products.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (5, Insightful)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695701)

They can just attribute your loss in sales to piracy. There's just not enough people willing to stop buying EA's games in protest to actually change EA's minds. If a successful legal attack is practical it may be the best option.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696259)

They can just attribute your loss in sales to piracy.

In other words, it isn't enough to just not-buy [product].
You must explain to the maker of [product] why you are not buying and what they can do to regain your business.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696429)

Nah. I want them to helplessly struggle to find the reason nobody buys their shit, wasting all their money to fight those windmills, and to drown in the process.

Yes, maybe I'm cruel. But I think, there's only so much I as a customer can take, until I let them burn like this. (Think of lava to fit the burning metaphor with the drowning metaphor. ;)

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696787)

Given their recent earnings troubles, I think you are wrong. Whether they believe that's because of the economy, piracy, bad games, or DRM backlash, I don't know.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695707)

May work better if you write them and tell what you chose not to do.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696279)

I want to add, a letter, not an email..

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695719)

I don't think this is the way to go. Doing this not only punishes EA, it punishes the studios that EA oversees, manages and works with. For example, I don't think the RA3 devs had ANYTHING to do with the SecuROM crap, yet by not buying their games you essentially cut off their fundings. If the studio disappears because of it, we'll all be crying because yet another good PC developer will have bitten the dust. Same goes for other games under the EA label; I, for one, don't want to miss out on some of their games; I just won't buy them on the PC. Sucks, I know, but I think lawsuits will hurt them more than any sort of boycotting will, since it targets their management directly and not the studios which only want to produce nice games.

So, EA has to do business your way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695905)

Bullshit.

In a capitalistic economy, the best thing that a consumer can do is to vote with your wallet.

No company has to do business with you. Nor do you have to do business with them. If you do not like the way EA does business, then do not buy their games. I mean, who's going to die if they don't get a video game. It's just a goddamn game! I don't see what the problem is here. This class action suit is frivolous. And this BS of suing companies is only going to bite us all in the ass with increased costs all around to subsidize the legal profession. You don't think EA is going to eat the legal costs, do you?

God, some of you people need to grow up.

Re:So, EA has to do business your way? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696305)

That makes no sense at all..

Class action lawsuits "bite you in the ass" because of increased pricing, however you say that lost sales because people refuse to purchase has no effect? What?!

Re:I prefer another form of protest (4, Insightful)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696025)

For example, I don't think the RA3 devs had ANYTHING to do with the SecuROM crap, yet by not buying their games you essentially cut off their fundings. If the studio disappears because of it, we'll all be crying because yet another good PC developer will have bitten the dust.

Then developers will learn not to work for studios that sign on with distributors that use DRM. Pain is the best teacher.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696101)

Is that what they'll learn? Really?

What a coincidence! This is a story about DRM!

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695731)

While I agree and am doing the same, I'm not sure they know or care.

They can blame piracy, they can blame the developer for not making the product good enough, they can blame marketing for not getting the message out, but they may not want to blame their DRM.

Is there a good way (other than filing lawsuits) to let them know they're pissing off their customer, and blame-shifting won't fix anything. Fixing their DRM is the only way to win us back.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696377)

Lawsuits are the best option, no company likes going to court and it gets this information out to the public who might know anything about DRM.

It legitimises the whole thing as well, instead of making it look like a bunch of nerds that are bitching because they can't pirate anymore it shows REAL pissed off consumers that don't want this crap on their computers.

Hopefully with enough lawsuits they'll be a law outlawing this practice. I'm really sick of how programmers are allowed to get away with anything they want because it's their program. There needs to be more ethics in the software industry as a whole.

Re:I prefer another form of protest (5, Insightful)

Gorgonzolanoid (1394311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696399)

In a similar way, I stopped buying CD's as a protest against the RIAA. I've got over 200 albums on my iPod: no downloads, all imported from CD's I own, of which exactly *one* was bought less than so many years ago.

Some time after I stopped buying, I read that they were suffering from a loss in revenue (not that I think my personal bit was of any visual influence in that), and they were attributing it to piracy. Not to displeased customers like me giving them the middle finger, only to piracy.

So in a way, they were using my protest to "prove" that their actions - the same ones that made me stop buying CD's - were right all along.

Best way to get back at them (5, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695685)

Don't buy them and don't download them.

Just don't play them at all.

Re:Best way to get back at them (3, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695689)

They'll just blame their losses on piracy.

Re:Best way to get back at them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695715)

Maybe that will prove to EA that DRM doesn't work to stop piracy?

Re:Best way to get back at them (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696387)

Just proves the PC market is dead and will move everything to consoles instead.

Re:Best way to get back at them (3, Funny)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695723)

That's fine. When they can't find anyone to prosecute for downloading and have no money, it really doesn't matter what they blame.

Re:Best way to get back at them (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695899)

Except that will never happen. People in general just don't care about DRM. If you don't buy their game millions of others will.

Re:Best way to get back at them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695933)

They'll just blame their losses on piracy.

That's funny. I blame their losses on anti-piracy. Why would I buy software that eventually just refuses to work if I reinstall it too many times?

For that matter, why would I want to pay for rootkit-like software designed to tamper with the drivers on my DVD burner? Might as well pay for a copy of the Chernobyl virus while I'm at it.

Re:Best way to get back at them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695963)

They would blame "losses" on "piracy" even if they were selling out of every copy. You don't seem to realize the kind of criminal scum that EA truly are.

The only real reason for this DRM crap is to destroy the resale value of the products you buy. This piracy bullshit is just a smokescreen.

Re:Best way to get back at them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696297)

Best way to get back at them

Class action lawsuit

Our laws aren't perfect, but this is exactly what many of them are there for; to protect individuals from crap like this.

Use the system when you can. It's often the best way to get results.

Re:Best way to get back at them (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696851)

Nah, suing them is pretty good too. Boycotts take a long time to work, if they ever work. A nonstop barrage of expensive lawsuits can have an effect very quickly.

How do you return software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695735)

How do you return software even IF it pops an eula explaining DRM on you at install time that you disagree with if the stores refuse to take back software with the seal that is broken?

Re:How do you return software? (3, Informative)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696443)

This happened to me once- I bought something from Microsoft - same exact situation. I couldn't see the policy until I opened the software, and once I opened the software I couldn't return it even if I disagreed with it and didn't install it. I went to the store and raised a fuss with the manager. First they attempted to tell me that if I didn't agree with the terms I could return it to *Microsoft*. After I kept pushing it (I went to a different store location), the manager there told me that if I didn't agree with the terms I could bring it back to the store. Turns out the terms weren't as onerous as I thought they'd be, so I kept it. But it was nice to know what my options were.

How to remove that crap? (3, Interesting)

AM088 (1170945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695783)

I installed the Creature Creator back when I was still looking forward to Spore, and I was unaware of that the Creature Creator came with that crap too until today.

Does anyone know of a way to remove it?

Re:How to remove that crap? (1, Insightful)

Raynor (925006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695847)

The idea is you can't fully remove it... which is why you and I get to hop on that class action lawsuit bandwagon.

YEHAW!

I didn't even buy anything from them and I get to sue them.

Karam's a bitch EA, and mine is excellent :D

Re:How to remove that crap? (5, Informative)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695923)

in run->services.msc, stop and disable the securom service. In the Documents and Settings, in Application Data, delete the SecuROM folder. Delete UAService7.exe from windows\system32. Run "sc delete useraccess7" from the run command on the start menu, or from a command-line prompt. Delete the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SecuROM] from the registry.

Note: This will, of course, stop any SecuROM game from functioning until you reinstall it, and various games may put the actual files in different places....but this should give you a starting point. I haven't actually tried this...although I plan to when I get home tonight. But it looks sane enough to me.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695995)

Well, I've installed Mass Effect PC and Spore Creature Creator, and I don't have any of those files or registry entries.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696099)

Be aware, however, that you may have other games that depend on SecuROM. By removing the SecuROM software, you may have trouble with those other games.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Gorgonzolanoid (1394311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696483)

ISTR that securom has a reputation of messing with your CD burning ability.
So create a restore point first, and first thing after you apply those modifications, check if your CD burning software still works. If they installed a driver into the CD driver or filesystem chain somewhere and you break the chain, something might stop working.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696559)

in run->services.msc, stop and disable the securom service. In the Documents and Settings, in Application Data, delete the SecuROM folder. Delete UAService7.exe from windows\system32. Run "sc delete useraccess7" from the run command on the start menu, or from a command-line prompt. Delete the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SecuROM] from the registry.

I don't suppose that any of this will remove the deliberately invalid filenames in your Windows profile?

Those files prevents a user from copying the contents of his profile to a backup or to a new computer, since the invalid file names makes the Windows copy routine go belly-up.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Awod (956596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695941)

Theres a way but you need to search google, it may differ depending on the version. Either way it is tough you will end up having to go into the registry to delete it.

A quick search provided this but if you're gonna mess with your registry I'd still recommend you search a bit yourself.

If you want to completely remove SecuROM after uninstalling this game, including the 'SecuROM User Access' Service it installs in Windows, follow these steps:

1. Uninstall the game as normal.

2. Manually delete the game directory (typically \Program Files\Atari\Crashday-demo\

3. Go to Start>Run and type "Services.msc" (without quotes) and press Enter.

4. Go to the 'Securom User Access' Service, double click on it, click Stop and then set it to Disabled.

5. Go to \Windows\System32\ directory and delete the UAService7.exe file.

6. Go to Start>Run and type "sc delete useraccess7" (without quotes) and press Enter.

Note: This Service may be recreated by one of your other SecuROM games, in which case you will have to keep it running to play them.

The following steps are very risky and only for people who are certain none of their currently installed games use or need SecuROM:

7. Go to \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ and delete the SecuROM sub-directory. 8. Go to Start>Run and type "Regedit" (without quotes) and press Enter. Then find the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SecuROM] key and delete it if possible.

There is no guaranteed removal method - each new SecuROM game may have additional secuROM files/folders which may require specific manual instructions for removal.

Re:How to remove that crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695949)

format c:

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696497)

I use a freeware version of "Revo Uninstaller"(got it from downloads.com....yeah, yeah. Shake your heads, but it works, and works well).

What it does is images your drive BEFORE an installation(must have hunter mode active for this imaging to take place) so that when you go and UNinstall something, it knows what shouldn't be there. It then runs the applications built-in Uninstaller. After that it does a comparison and lists ALL changes that were made to your harddrive by the installation, BUT NOT CHANGED BACK BY THE UNINSTALL. You are then free to manually delete all the crap left behind. Careful though. It is essentially a registry editor as well.

So far, it has been totally successful, although I have not tried to remove SecureROM with it(didn't let that shit on in the first place).

Using Revo and "ProcessExplorer"(another AWESOME freeware app), I can essentially watch all the handles and DLLs utilized by an installer and its child App, and thus have a pretty good idea what is going on rather then just sit, wonder and hope.

Regardless, I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO RESORT TO THIS SHIT.

Re:How to remove that crap? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696663)

Dial-A-Fix [lunarsoft.net] is your friend

Factual information, please? (4, Insightful)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695939)

Does anyone have a solid description of specifically what this form SecuROM "installs", what it does, how it is harmful, and why it can't be removed?

Every time this topic comes up it becomes a "How dare they!" bitchfest so I've never been able to figure out the answers to the above.

I'm not saying that this is definitely just a pile of FUD combined with general anti-corporate hate against EA. But I'm leaning that way without real evidence.

Re:Factual information, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696175)

Do you have a computer running windows, haven't you? Then just go to EA site, download and install the demo. Then, please, come again to this thread and tell us how "fucktual" your experience was.

Re:Factual information, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696421)

I have had the demo installed on my computer for weeks, and everything is fine, and I don't have any unrecognized services or processes. My DVD burner and my copy of Daemon Tools are working fine.

Re:Factual information, please? (5, Informative)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696277)

Reading over the legal filing for the creature creator demo, a few very specific complaints are made.

It allegedly disables a number of semi legitimate (Any DVD, Daemon tools), and completely legitimate (Process Manager, Alchohol 120%) software tools. (10 specific programs are named) It also claims that it interferes 'in some circumstances' with having a secondary CD drive (I assume it prevents burning a copy of a CD that's in the other drive), and that all of this occurs whether the demo is running or not.

Looking at the filing, they mention process manager as its own claim, given that this is a legitimate tool used to identify rogue processes, EA can't really claim, (falsely or otherwise) that it is a piracy tool, the way they'll surely claim with the others. AnyDVD is a particularly interesting one as well, since to my knowledge, it only affects movies, and has nothing to do with any EA product at all.

I can't actually say if the claims are correct for the specific version of SecuROM in the demo game, or if a lawyer simply looked at the things SecuROM is known to do and filed those, depends on how bright s/he is I suppose.

The other complaint (2, Informative)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696447)

Ok, looking at the complaint over Sims 2: Bon Voyage, the same allegations of not informing the consumer of SecuROM is made (including not making the user agree to it in the EULA, which is moronic in the extreme in my completely non legal advice opinion, EA may lose this on the basis of having crappy lawyers). In this case, ambiguity as to exactly what SecuROM does is lessened, since the primary plantiff's personal experiences are listed.

Allegedly, backup CDs of other Sims 2 games stopped working. Her USB flash drive and Ipod failed (I assume this means it busted USB data transfer altogether),. Forum posts of the time indicate numerous people having the issue after installing the Bon Voyage expansion.

There is not, as far as I can tell, any hard evidence linking the problem to SecuROM, since she neglected to try and duplicate the issue after an operating system reinstall, and 'Dell tech support said so' isn't really reliable evidence. These issues could be from another program, a virus other than SecuROM, or just a bug in the game (iTunes does similar things on occasion after all). Seems like a weak case, though they could be building a better analysis of SecuROM as I speak.

Re:The other complaint (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696729)

Thanks for reading them through for someone whose brain shuts off after the first page break of a scanned document :) It sounds like the complaint is based on prior versions of SecuROM, so I'd be interested as to what comes out of the discovery phase. I guess I'll keep a news alert out on it in case something interesting crops up.

Re:Factual information, please? (2, Informative)

Baldrake (776287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696363)

This article [reclaimyourgame.com] has a fairly comprehensive list addressing the "how is it harmful" question.

The truth is, most people will never notice that SecuROM is installed. But if you do run into a problem, SecuROM is very hard to remove, and in fact goes to great lengths to conceal its presence.

Re:Factual information, please? (0, Redundant)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696543)

The problem is that I don't believe the article, because it's written by someone totally clueless as to how his own computer works.

Interfering with the firewall? It made an internet request, and the firewall popped up an accept/reject box. That's exactly what it's supposed to do (internet authentication), and the firewall is working exactly as it should.

It hides a folder in Application Data? Try this on for size: the Application Data folder is hidden by default. Furthermore, the files in the Application Data \ SecuROM folder have a README.txt explaining exactly what they are and what they are used for.

It disables Process Explorer? No it doesn't. It doesn't let you run the game until you reboot if you have run an old version of Process Explorer, and that was fixed a long time ago (by Microsoft) as of Process Explorer v11.

The only thing that site has under Player Stories is a bunch of people saying things like "My XXX software doesn't work or is buggy! I blame SecuROM!". The claims (it disabled my antivirus! my hard drives crashed and my dvd phyiscally broke!) border on hysteria and don't offer any more solid proof.

All I want is someone to actually look at the SecuROM protection that comes with Spore or Mass Effect and then tell me why it is bad, without falling back on "I heard that SecuROM does terrible things!"

Re:Factual information, please? (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696475)

The question of what it installs and how to remove it have already been covered in other comments, listing the relevant files, registry keys, and services. The problem with removing it is not so much that it's "impossible", but more that the removal process is quite beyong the capabilities of your average user, so for all practical intents and purposes it is impossible to remove for them. Even worse than that, each new version of Securom adds (or can potentially add) a whole batch of new things in different locations that you'd also need to remove, so you can't even draw up a list of easy-to-follow removal instructions for the more technically capable users.

The question of how it's harmful has rather more possible answers. The obvious response is that once it is installed, it is permanently running on your computer, using up your system resources even when you're not playing a Securom game. Then again, it is quite prudent to oppose Securom just on principle, because its sole purpose is to prevent legitimate users from playing the games they have paid for (or who are downloading free games, as in the case of the Spore Creature Creator in this article) if it doesn't like the look of their CD or CD drive, or if it objects to certain software they have installed. (Pirate copies of games do not include Securom, so end-user pirates are unaffected, and the process of removing the Securom from games is largely automated, so the cracker pirate groups are similarly unaffected. Meaning that Securom quite literally does not affect pirates, and only targets legitimate users.)

Re:Factual information, please? (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696575)

The problem is that the information in all the other posts is of the "I found this on the internet and haven't tested it" type.

I would happily accept that if it weren't for the fact that I have a copy of Spore Creature Creator installed and my Daemon Tools work fine, my Process Explorer works fine, and none of the files that these instructions tell me to remove even exist.

Re:Factual information, please? (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696769)

But the big problem is that EA refuse to say exactly what it does.

They don't even want to say what consist a new computer and thus requiring a new install, and I could not even get the Spore license from their webiste(Despite the fact that the box say to go to their website and download it before buying the game).

After 3 mails to EA tech support I have simply given up finding out exactly what what the license for Spore is, what exactly SecuROM does and if it overwrite my boot sector(There were some versions of SecuROM that did that).

So now all we know is that it will install some software that can't be removed, and which for some users prevent other software from running.
Exactly what it does, how it affect the users and what hardware changes require a new install, is as deep secret.

Martin

Re:Factual information, please? (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696731)

According to the complaints in the Sims 2: Bon Voyage filing, it prevented the primary plantiff from using 'backup' copies of other sims games. If this is in fact intentional, and not a bug, EA may be attempting to force people who pirate some games and buy some games to buy all the games.

Re:Factual information, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696797)

It installs a 'driver' with pemanent ring 0 access that wraps all your drives in windows explorer. It can cause missing drive syndrome and make your computer go apeshit for no apparent reason. It poses a major security threat, I mean It's a ring 0 program designed to stay there ffs. Hence the bitchfest.

Re:Factual information, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696827)

OK, what's the name of this driver, where is it located on disk, and are you sure that Spore installs it?

Gamers should Boycott All DRM'ers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695943)

The gaming industry does not listen to its customers, and has not for years. Before 'EA' became the monster it is now, it was called 'Electronic Arts', and in the early nineteen eighties it had a motto: "By gamers and For gamers". Sadly it has cast aside these noble intentions for over a decade. Like 'Lord British' with "Ultima IX", the industry cares nothing for its customers except how much cash can be wrung or extorted from them. The industry has also centralized into a de facto monopoly. As such their bad behavior has intensified as they now know that they don't care, they do not HAVE to care, as they think that customers can go nowhere else. It is this public be damned attitude that needs to be addressed. Obviousely the industry is not listening because it does not have to listen with its ears. Its ears were wired shut years ago. It only listens with its ass! Kick it hard enough and often enough and it will be forced to listen or go broke. We gamers need to realize that:
      One: All the good games have already been invented
      Two: There is a great deal of good old game software, like WarZone 2100 (open source now) out there that we can use
      Three: We customers have the power to bring these monopolistas down by using the boycott.

Boycotting the monopolistas will eventually force them to take DRM out of their products, and to bring quality products back to a marketplace that has been bereft of them for years. Companies are increasingly putting 'eye candy' in products at the expense of playability..another gripe. Back to the point, DRMers will at first claim to be free of it, but many will conceal it and lie about it. The way to stop this is to demand that companies put up a 500 million dollar bond that instantly forfiets to all its' registered customers as soon as DRM is found concealed in their new products. Some may call a half a gigabuck as too excessive, but present day monopolistas are capitalized in multi-gigadollars American, and a half a gigabuck is the smallest present day amount that will cause real pain to a producer enough to force change. Remember these monopolistas are soulless present day BuchenWalders who take pleasure in forcing ninety years old grandmothers to live under bridges and freeze and starve in the dark all for 'the possibility of so called infringment'. Remember also that these monopolistas who hide behind the artists who create their capital often do not pay those artists anywhere near their due. These crimes by publishers are an old story run over from the music industry. Perfect example is the lowball 5 million bucks paid the Beetles for an early collection of their songs. One only need do a little googling to find other examples of cheating by the industry of their benefactors. Again, kick this industry monopoly in ass with boycotts until it hurts, and hurts enough to force DRM out of our machines. While we are doing that, we should also look to our fawning sock puppet politicians who are drunk with industry bribes. Yes bribes. Common folk do not 'contribute' near the amount that monopolistas do, and monopolistas do their bribing (political contributing) far more directed and get far better results. The way to counter this is with something that we gamers have that the monopolistas do not, boots on the ground. We can act personally and collectively to campaign for change, and for the political opposition of the lackeys of the monopolistas. We can to this for free, and collectively if there are enough of us we can make a difference. Maybe enough difference to give pause to these servants against the public trust before the next time some monopolista calls in a 'marker' from them.

Paragraphs, please learn to fucking use them.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696453)

Posting Options -> Comment Post Mode to "plain text"

Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696065)

This is entirely Barrack Obama's fault, can't you see that? IT'S IN REVELATIONS PEOPLE!

Banned from the forums? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696135)

EA, the company where being banned from their online forum results in you being unable to play your puchased offline games.

What is wrong with EA? (4, Insightful)

Ender77 (551980) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696151)

I have personally stopped buying any EA PC games after spore and I know of other who have also. I am also aware that piracy for EA games have SPIKED after they started implementing the DRM scheme. You have to seriously wonder what is wrong with EA. While the games are still making a buttload of cash, They have to realize that they are probably not making nearly as much as they would if they had not implemented the DRM scheme. On top of that they are pissing off the fan base into rabid hatred for them, and motivating the fans to not only pirate the games, but to go to review sites and post negative reviews about the games because of the DRM. Buisiness 101 should tell them this is not a good business in the long run and if you are a shareholder I would suggest getting rid of the stock because this is going to come back and bite EA in the ass.

Re:What is wrong with EA? (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696391)

It's true. Piracy will only continue to spike too either as a real 'stick it to the man' type of attitude of gamers or simply 'I don't have the money but I really want to play'. Honestly, I support both opinions because I hate DRM. Even the cracked games still run the normal installers which still install SecuROM or SafeDisc or whatever they want to use at any given time. So yeah you still have that 'garbage' running on your PC that can never be fully removed, seemingly. The EXE (and other files) are cracked to return success to every SecuROM request. That is all. Like a dongle emulator crack. As far as on-line play, so many games have had their server software cracked so you can just play with other 'piraters'.

Sony owns SecuROM. Where are they now? Where's their remover? They should have one, and I think I remember that they do.

Regardless, the DRM does not work as every game gets cracked eventually (crackers love doing it, it is fun for them and it gives them the reputation they want amongst the others in the 'scene'). Even StarForce (a strong VM-based copy protection, at first) games got cracked eventually; the release group RELOADED even released their documentation on the protection. Honestly, what has not been cracked yet? All companies can do, like Sony, is make new versions of SecuROM and fix whatever exploit/bug/etc that the crackers found and used as part of their 'fix'. Then the next big title has that fix from Sony/Macrovision/etc, and the crackers figure out their next workaround.

If the game companies would just realise that no copy protection is going to stop piracy, then they would stop wasting money on it. Even console copy protections, now PS3 even (although still a work in progress), get cracked, under the guise of wanting to use homebrew software (which should be allowed even if a copy protection for games is still present, in my opinion).

The first solution to the whole problem of piracy is make better games and stop milking series. Why does this keep happening? Call of Duty X, Medal of Honor X, Need for Speed X, Tony Hawk's X, and etc. Get back to creativity and make some new games. Spore is a good step towards this but unfortunately it comes with SecuROM. Yes, everyone wants Diablo III and C&C Red Alert 3 (even me), but I also want new games too. Perhaps those can go into series, but companies are so bad at making these kind of products in general that once one version becomes a hit, they want to make another knowing many people will outright buy it (they might even leave a cliffhanger at the end of the story just to make you get the 3rd which will come out who knows when). I would say 7 or 6 times out of 10 this scheme does NOT work. People buy said title version 2 or whatever, but often companies do try hard (and I give the developers credit), but they cannot top their first version.

This ain't going anywhere (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696235)

There are - many - reasons why courts have pruned back severely your right to prosecute a class action lawsuit.

To waste their time on so fundamentally trivial a complaint as the DRM used to protect a free demo - is ludicrous.

Re:This ain't going anywhere (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696599)

It's not just about the demo, it's about all games that use this type of copy protection. RTFA.

Re:This ain't going anywhere (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696761)

Read the rest of the articles, if you look at the two filings, one was specifically about the free demo. The other appears to be about Sims 2: Bon Voyage.

Re:This ain't going anywhere (5, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696693)

Umm, BULLSHIT.

SecuROM revokes some of your administrator priviledges and disables other legitimate programs on your computer. This is anti-competitive behavior (interfering with other products from other companies/individuals,) and a violation of my property rights. I own this computer, you do not have the right to revoke some of my administrator priviledges and make it to where I cannot delete files from my own goddamned system.

Maybe in YOUR bizarro world this wouldn't go anywhere, but then again facts always fly in the face of the bizarre.

How does one join the Class Action? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696239)

Thanks to this article, I just learned that I got SecuROM from Spore Creature Creator.

Is there any way I can add support to the class action suit?

For those who want to join any SecuROM lawsuit (2, Informative)

yamiyasha (1119417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696295)

http://www.reclaimyourgame.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=17&Itemid=57 [reclaimyourgame.com] this site has all the information to contact the lawfirms handling 4 EA lawsuits over DRM covering Spore, Mass Effect, The Sims and other EA games

You got served (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696303)

it doesnt take two monkeys to understand that placing something on someone's computer without their consent and knowledge constitutes not only a violation of their rights, but also an information technology crime, as same as hacking a pc.

but apparently it takes infinite amounts of lawyers to understand that as a company. or, EA's lawyers were TOTALLY stupid, or bloodless bastards.

this is 21st century, not wild west. enjoy your class action damages, jerks.

Rip 'Em Good (2)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696725)

I'm waiting for a DRM-using company to get so fully and completely ripped that no other company in the future will ever try it again. I'd hoped it would be Sony over their audio CD rootkit, but that lesson didn't seem to stick. Perhaps this will be the one.

What we need to do... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696879)

Band together, plan out a distributed attack against EA in court. file multiple individual lawsuits for different charges for the maximum allowed in your small claims court area.

Basically a legal-system DDoS - no lawyers allowed in small claims court, and multiple suits (loss of property, trespassing, etc.) will be enough to bring up so many criminal charges against the company they'll likely lose their business charter and be sued out of existence by their shareholders.

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