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Lawsuit Against Ubisoft for Starforce

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the punishing-the-enablers dept.

106

Cyber Akuma writes "Due to Ubisoft's intentional use of the highly controversial copy protection scheme Starforce, despite user protests and purposeful deletion of any forum discussions about the protection, Christopher Spence has filed a 5 Million Dollar lawsuit against the company for use of the crippling DRM in their games. Starforce has been reported to cause system instability, slowdowns, and possible damage to optical drives. As well as questionable business practices when dealing with customers and other companies, which has been reported on Slashdot before."

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Out of control lawsuits! (1, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049444)

Wait... we don't like Starforce... go get em Chris!!!

It is often a shame IMO when legal action is the only way to take care of issues such as the wonderful rootkits, spyware and drm on music and video game disks.

Lawsuits vs. Accidental or Intentional wrongdoing (2, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051082)

Lawsuits such as this are totally justified. It's intentional asshattery. There is nothing frivolous about this.

The only time a lawsuit is stupid is when someone sues over something that is, at worst, an accident. Malpractice, McDonald's hot coffee, etc.

Re:Lawsuits vs. Accidental or Intentional wrongdoi (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051620)

But McDonald's hot coffee was a real problem.

What most people don't know want to admit is that the hot coffe suite wasn't about someoen spilling coffe, it was about a company serving coffe that was too hot for the cups they served it in. Yes, the coffee was so hot it melted the cups and caused the lids to come off. After recieving many complaints about it at that particular (yes it was only one store serving it this hot too) store, a customer suffered third degree burns on thier crotch and leg areas.

MCdonalds offered a free coffee replacment after being told about it. after seeking treatment, MCdonalds offered some small amount of money. Thats when she decided to sue for medical bills and this store offered a settlement of some low amount that wouldn't even pay for the drugs. The lawsuite was originaly for medical bills but when the jurry found that the store has paid medical claims in the past over the exact same complaints that specificaly claimed the lid to the coffee cup melted off and caused the spill, they decided the company was purposley serving a faulty and dangerous product and riased the punitive damages.

Of course on apeal, the judgment was lowered to a number more closly resembling the original requested amount. It wasn't frivilous by anymeans except maybe the jurry's huge sum of money they awarded to punish MCdonalds.

Now, malpractice.. This is a fun subject for several reasons. I specificaly know a person that suffered from malpractice. He had an operation on his heart to fix a valve when he was little (about 10-13 years of age). The breast plate didn't grow back properly and cause the r ibcage to slip under the one side and protrude inot his heart. The fix was to cut the sternum back on both sides do somethign to the bones and re attach them properly. This is were the malpractice comes in. The doctor who decided to scheldule a vacation the next day after open heart surgury,felt rushed by his plans and instead of cutting both side as they explained the operation or e ven performing the operation as the "plan" called for too some shortcuts. First they only cut one side, second instead of trimming out the exccess material that grew form t he first botch repair, they re wired the ribcage under the breastplate in a position that opened the lungs up a little. Then he rewired the sternum shut at an angle that caused inability to stand up straight. Of course claiming the entire poeration had been done as they initialy claimed it was, the coverup causes the therope to work on standing straight wich caused the wires to break and the ribs to seperate again. Now because it was easier to slop the poeration and keep the vacation plans, i have a 26 year old friend who has wires sticking into his lungs causing breathing problems. Ribs abd sternum plates resting directly on his heart and if he moves too suddenly,he has shooting pain that mimics a heart attack two years after the operation. To make things worse, when the wires broke, and when the ribs fell again, and when the sternuum droped onto the heart, the doctors said that it was normal and he would get used to it in time. To make things even worse, knowing this was going on, the doctors saw that the insurance was starting to run past the amount of time aloted for recovery and sent him back to work as an automechanic were he couldn't use his arms above his chest without lots of pain and got laid off because he couldn't perform his job. (now without insurance at all) It is almost as if they tried to make him broke so he didn't have enough money to get a lawer.

If a lawsuite over that malpractice is firvolous, then I say we need more of them. This isn't a surgeon forgeting to remove all his tools. Although i would consider that malpractice too. I have seen people fired for leaving tools at job sites. This isn't some mild mistake either, it is a surgeon who deliberatly changed the operation so he didn't miss the flight to cancoon.

Re:Lawsuits vs. Accidental or Intentional wrongdoi (1)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052465)

For an alternate view see overlawyered.com's rebuttal of this "it's an urban legend" position. Don't have the URL handy, but search "mcdonald coffee" on overlawyered. (Turns out McD's coffee then was 10-20 degrees cooler than Starbuck's is served right now. And was well within the norm for coffee temperatures at the time.)
Then again, the whole post above sounds a bit like a trial lawyer soundbite, so not sure how much good my statement will do.

Re:Lawsuits vs. Accidental or Intentional wrongdoi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15052879)

That was the most unreadable /. comment I've ever seen.

And learn to spell.

Re:Lawsuite vs. Occidental er Intenzional wringdoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055137)

SEriuslee. Iiv taekn poopees thet kin spill BEttr thin postar.

takns fir yoor commnt. mush apppprecaded.

Re:Lawsuits vs. Accidental or Intentional wrongdoi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055482)

Slow down sparky, this isn't a fucking race. You must type at least this legibly to ride the Internet.

Re:Out of control lawsuits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15051763)

Karma whoring anonymously and loosely related reply to the original post, but consumers need to know that a list is being maintained of games that use starforce, so we can make informed decisions!

Information and lists regarding Starforce:
http://www.glop.org/starforce/ [glop.org]

lawsuits aren't the only way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15052269)

I don't buy games with starforce on. There are a LOT of games out there, I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

Still, it's good the suit is happening. Not buying a product doesn't send such a clear message to a publisher as having a bunch of lawyers turn up and telling them formally that they're dickheads.

All I know is this: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049448)

they better have read the EULA, because I'm sure Ubisoft covered their tracks long, long ago.

All I know is this: People don't read. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049597)

"they better have read the EULA, because I'm sure Ubisoft covered their tracks long, long ago."''

It says on the outside of the box, before you buy it that you may have problems with some hardware and why. Ubisoft can't be responsable for people not reading what's in front of them.

Re:All I know is this: People don't read. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049787)

like I said, they covered their tracks.

Learn to read.

Re:All I know is this: People don't read. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050329)

Not on every box. I think they started adding that only after they shipped the first couple of games that used the protection and got a large number of complaints from users. I certainly can't find anything like that on the boxes of older games crippled with such malevolent copy prevention. Can't reference anything recent since I stopped buying Ubisoft titles because of it.

Re:All I know is this: People don't read. (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052342)

...I stopped buying Ubisoft titles because of it.

Now isn't that something... quick someone do a study on losses due to DRM vs losses due to piracy.

Re:All I know is this: People don't read. (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15054015)

don't you know? they bundle them together.

a lost sale to a company (regardless of the true reason) get's packed together under piracy so they can go "SEE! our products are PERFECT! everyone is just pirating them!" even though it could be only like %10 of the total number is piracy.

Warning: Use of this product may cause death!! (3, Insightful)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050306)

Just because I put a lable on my product saying I am not responsible for damages caused by it, doesn't make it so. Its all up to the court system to see just how far EULAs can go.

Re:All I know is this: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15050672)

In a legal sense it really doesn't matter what is in the EULA, grated it helps, but you can't do something illegal even if you declare in in the EULA.

For one, most of the time EULAs are not legal contracts, and even if they met the legal 'requirements' you cannot have a contract for something that is illegal.

http://www.okratas.com/modules.php?op=modload&name =News&file=article&sid=45&mode=thread&order=0&thol d=0 [okratas.com]

Who reads EULAs? (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051395)

Let's face it, no one ever reads EULAs just like no guy will ever read the assembly instructions of furniture or how to program the VCR/DVR/TIVO, it is just a fact! Bearing this in mind has anyone ever used this as a defence against a EULA in court? - Namely that it is unreasonable to expect any non-legally trained individual to read and accept an EULA. In fact anything where I have to scroll beyond the bottom of the first page usually loses me!

I guess that this would be called the Homer Simpson defence?

Wouldn't wash with judges I know but it would just show that they don't live on the same plane of existence as the rest of us.

Is this an Internet Lawsuit? (0, Flamebait)

SimianOverlord (727643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049473)

The guy can't even spell Starforce, never mind sue them over it. Is he some kind of stalking horse, deliberately doomed to fail to discourage other people with more resources and ability to sue the company??

Re:Is this an Internet Lawsuit? (1)

JimMcc (31079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049825)

The guy that can't spell Starforce is whoever transcribed part of the filed complaint onto the Kotaku.com website. If you read the original complaint his spelling is correct. Don't always assume that what you've read is correctly cited.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049476)

OMG! FRIST POST!!1! LOLZ

Hello EFF? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049483)

Isn't this just the sort of thing the EFF likes to get involved in? I would think any suit like this would get a lot more traction with their backing (even if it's just adding some whitepapers/briefs in the mix).

Anecdotal Evidence (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049485)

"For example, here's one of the common problems brought by Starforce: under Windows XP, if packets are lost during the reading or writing of a disk, XP interprets this as an error and steps the IDE speed down. Eventually it will revert to 16bit compatibility mode rendering a CD/DVD writer virtually unusable. In some circumstances certain drives cannot cope with this mode and it results in physical hardware failure (Most commonly in multiformat CD/DVD writer drives). A sure sign of this step down occurring is that the burn speeds will get slower and slower (no matter what speed you select to burn at). Starforce, on a regular basis, triggers this silent step down. Until it reaches the latter stages most people do not even realise it is happening."

Proof? Out-of-specs equipment? (remember the problem one of the linux distros had).

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (3, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050517)

Proof.

Installed UbiSoft's 'Silent Hunter III' and my Artec BKM-52x16 Combo drive almost immediately refused to recognize blank media directly after that. Within days of installing the program, my brand-new DVD/CD-RW Combo drive refused to even recognize a CD. Forums suggest flashing firmware, I do so, regain burning functionality, only to have the drive completely stop working the very next day. It didn't take a week for StarForce to completely kill my optical drive, force me to wipe out my hard drive, reinstall anew, and microwave the Silent Hunter CD. I paid 30 bucks for the game, and that game cost me ~$45 just to get my system back in working order due to the damage it caused.

Personally I'd like to see a massive petition sent to Congress to totally ban Ubisoft in the USA. Add on to that a nice hint that suggests unless this happens these Congressmen won't be sitting in their seats come re-election time, and there's a slim but better than nothing chance that they'll listen.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051340)

How about a complete petition to totally ban copy protection outside of cd keys and encryption.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052620)

Or we could just boycott the games which have Starforce [similarities.org] . I think there is only one game on here I've even played however.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15052625)

That's what happens when you use proprietary software. Now cut the bitch and moan and install NetBSD.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15054858)

Huh... You know, this sounds almost exactly like what happened to my drive about a year, maybe two, ago. At the time, though, I never actually checked to see if StarForce was infecting my system. I make it habit of always cracking any game I buy, but of course SF will be installed along with the game initially.

One day, my CDRW/DVD combo drive just stopped accepting blank discs. At first it was only RW discs, but quickly it spread to all discs. It never got to the point of refusing to read regular CDs, though. The drive worked just fine under Linux, which was okay since that's where I usually burned CDs anyway.

Eventually, when I upgraded my computer, I installed a fresh copy of Windows and the problem magically went away...

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (2, Interesting)

cluke (30394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050605)

Shit!! This happened to my system about a year ago. Everything slowed WAAYY down. It was driving me mad, and after about 4 hours googling and messing about I finally worked out my IDE drive wasn't using DMA anymore (or something along those lines, it was a while ago now). Had to delete the IDE drivers for XP to 'automatically' reinstate them. That was a sweaty-palmed few seconds after that reboot, I can tell you!

I was baffled to how this happened (just blamed Windows ;-), but after reading this I am wondering if it is possible Splinter Cell:Pandora Tomorrow has this protection and caused the slowdown? If so, I am *not* pleased... though good to finally find out what the hell happened.

Anyway, if so, that will be the last Ubisoft game I buy.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (2, Informative)

MikkoApo (854304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051160)

Here's an article about resetting the the drives to DMA mode [aiscl.co.uk] .

The registry branch where the info is stored seems to be constant, so this registry file might work too:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlS et\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE1 0318}\0001]
"MasterIdDataCheckSum"=-
"SlaveIdDat aCheckSum"=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current ControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1- 08002BE10318}\0002]
"MasterIdDataCheckSum"=-
"Sl aveIdDataCheckSum"=-
The change takes effect after reboot.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051399)

Thanks, that's interesting.

Also, in reply to myself - from looking online, it seems that particular Splinter Cell game doesn't have Starforce, so maybe it wasn't the culprit after all.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (1)

SevenTowers (525361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15053785)

You don't have to delete the driver. Next time, just follow this procedure:

Re-enable DMA using the Registry Editor

Run REGEDIT. Go to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

It has subkeys like 0000, 0001, 0002, etc. Normally 0001 is the primary IDE channel, 0002 the secondary, but other numbers can occur under certain circumstances. Check the DriverDesc value to see which one it is.

Delete MasterIdDataChecksum or SlaveIdDataChecksum, depending on whether the device in question is attached as master or slave, but it can't actually hurt to delete both. Reboot. The drive DMA capabilities will be redetected.

Open Device Manager again and check whether the device is now actually using DMA mode. If so, congratulations, you've made it (at least until the next time Windows disables DMA).

cheers

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (2, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051344)

Happened to me. Completely toasted my Dual-Layer DVD/CD combo burner/rewrite drive.

Had no clue why until the first article on /. about Starforce appeared. Checked on my computer and sure enough, there it was. Had to go out and buy a whole new goddamn drive.

Dude..... (2, Funny)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049529)

Such a fuss...all because he wants to play without the disk.

Just get a crack for it like the rest of us!

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049626)

I'll never understand the "I steal so I can play without the disk!" mentality that some people have. It's not like it's that hard to change disks. You hit the little Eject button, take out the disk already there, and put in the new one. Easy. If you have time to play an hour or two in a video game, you have time to take the five seconds to change disks.

It's not like it's a new thing, either. When games first started coming out on CD, they all required you to have the game disk in the drive. Yet people didn't complain.

The requirement to change disks hasn't stopped people from playing console games. Hell, some games require you to change disks while the game is still playing! Yet, no one minds.

The whole "steal the game to avoid having to use the disk" has got to be one of the lamest excuses for theft ever. "See, judge, I wanna make my life slightly more convienent, at the cost of Ubisoft's business."

This "case" is going to be laughed out of court.

Re:Dude..... (4, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049744)

It's not like it's that hard to change disks. You hit the little Eject button, take out the disk already there, and put in the new one. Easy

There's a probability of scratching each time. It also drains battery on laptops.

When games first started coming out on CD, they all required you to have the game disk in the drive. Yet people didn't complain.

And you couldn't blow 640 MB * num cds in drive space on a whim then either.

The requirement to change disks hasn't stopped people from playing console games.Hell, some games require you to change disks while the game is still playing! Yet, no one minds.

Consoles are not general purpose machines. Why shouldn't someone be able to play a CD while playing a game?

The whole "steal the game to avoid having to use the disk" has got to be one of the lamest excuses for theft ever.

If you've bought the game, how is it stealing to use the crack?

Re:Dude..... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15050017)

That's insightful? Sigh.

There's a probability of scratching each time. It also drains battery on laptops.

I suppose, techncially, there is a probability of scratching them. It's close to 0, but it still exists. Although if you handle the disks properly, you'll never have that problem.

As for "drains battery on laptops" the drain coming from the CD is minimal compared to trying to play a game on a laptop in the first place. You're going to be losing more power to the CPU and GPU than you will to the CD-ROM.

Consoles are not general purpose machines. Why shouldn't someone be able to play a CD while playing a game?

Consoles are machines designed to play games. If "not having to use a disk" was really an important requirement for playing games, consoles wouldn't require you to swap disks to play games. It's not, so they do.

As for playing a CD while playing a game, if you really needed that feature, you could always try a portable CD player. Or just slap another CD-ROM drive in. Or import the tracks into iTunes and play through that. Plenty of ways to accomplish the same thing without resorting to theft.

If you've bought the game, how is it stealing to use the crack?

Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal. No matter how you try to spin it, it's still illegal. And, if you really did legally buy the game, it's also extremely pointless and stupid.

Re:Dude..... (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050114)

"Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal. No matter how you try to spin it, it's still illegal. And, if you really did legally buy the game, it's also extremely pointless and stupid."

The usual arguement that copying = stealing revolves around the idea that the person using cracked software is therefor denying the creator of the game a legitimate sale. After all, if you download something, you aren't buying it. Assuming that the creator has already been compensated, which is the case if the person downloading the crack bought the game legitimately, then how is it stealing?

Sounds to me like you don't apply much critical thinking to your definition of the word "steal".

As for it being pointless and stupid, I'm currently replaying through Baldur's Gate, a game I bought back in high school. I've copied disks 1-5 onto my HD (purely for convieniece)m since the game + expansion has 6 disks, and you often need to swap disks when you zone. I can't do this with more recent games because of copy protection, unless of course I download a crack. I'd say cracking to get around copy protection schemes when you aren't engaging in piracy is perfectly fine morally, and a grey area legally in most countries (read: outside the US).

Re:Dude..... (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051220)

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal.

Supporting the pirates? What is this, some kind of international cartel that profits from your downloading and installing a 34kb file to play the game you purchased without the CD? I bet they all wear pirate hats too, and peddle crack to one-legged children. It's the downfall of society!

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056066)

You fell into the same trap I did - the GP didn't quote the GGP clearly. That second paragraph was still part of the original quote.

I always surround quotes with quotation marks AND italics - less confusing.

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15050190)

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal. No matter how you try to spin it, it's still illegal. And, if you really did legally buy the game, it's also extremely pointless and stupid.

My game, my right to modify it if I want. (I didn't say it's my right to make copies of it and give them out, but I can do whatever I want on MY system and my system only)

You've obviously never had games in the same house as a child. All my games are archived and the original discs are locked away.

Re:Dude..... (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050331)

Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.
Using an inaccurate term with with strong connotations of illegality and wrong-doing is not a matter of "using a simpler term." If you can't be bothered to describe the issue accurately, perhaps you shouldn't be discussing it?

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal.
Using a cracked version of a game does not "support" pirates. My downloaded a pirated version of the game does not in any way put money in the hands of the people that released it- rather, quite the opposite. By downloading the game, I am effectively costing them money- in the form of bandwidth.

No matter how you try to spin it, it's still illegal. And, if you really did legally buy the game, it's also extremely pointless and stupid.
This is not a matter of spin. There are tangible benefits to having a version of the game that does not require the CD to run- namely, your original, bought-and-paid-for copies will last longer. If I purchase software, I expect to be able to use it any time I want to, until the day that I day- if that's how I want it.

Re:Dude..... (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050375)

What a weird use of logic. If you've bought the game, you've already compensated the owner of the copyright.
Now, a crack is a patch. And a patch is basically the errata section that may be applied to any book that doesn't contain what it should (you can find errata pages for scientific textbooks now and then).
Now, by your logic, it'd be illegal to insert errata pages into legally bought books if those pages were produced by a third party. In actuality, it's completely legal.
Applying a crack to a legally purchased game is not illegal. You've certainly not stolen anything (having already paid). You've also not violated copyright (as you've paid for the privilege of owning a copy).
You are not supporting pirates by using a crack. They gain nothing from it. So where's the support? And again, using a crack is not illegal.
If software doesn't do what I want, I'll fix it. Either that, or I'll send it back to the manufacturer, and specify why I was unhappy with their product. If they refuse to accept it back on the grounds that a box has been opened (in violation of all normal consumer rights), I'll damn well do what needs be done to ensure it fits my needs.
You have a really odd view of what constitutes theft and copyright violation. I'd really love to know where you get your ideas. They certainly don't have much to do with what the legal system sees them as. I'd hazard a guess you've been reading a lot of the 'educational pamphlets' written by the anti-piracy offices.
But, to give you the benefit of the doubt, I'd like to see your rationale of why you consider using a crack to be copyright violation, or theft. And please make the argument such that it would stand up to scrutiny, rather than just say "Because it is", which is what you've been doing.

Cracking paid-for games (1)

StupidKatz (467476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056113)

"Applying a crack to a legally purchased game is not illegal."

Unfortunately, if you live in the USA, this logical argument is actually incorrect. Thanks to a nice piece of legislation entitled the Digital Millenium Copyright Act [wikipedia.org] , it is a federal crime to circumvent a copy-prevention scheme. That's right, when you forked over $50 for a copy of Morrowind, and after a few days of near-constant crashes, found out that much stability could be regained by installing a simple no-CD patch (and did so)... yep, you technically belong in Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. Nice, eh?

In case it wasn't crystal clear, it may be *illegal*, but that in and of itself does not make it *wrong*.

Re:Dude..... (2, Informative)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050435)

If you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal. No matter how you try to spin it, it's still illegal. And, if you really did legally buy the game, it's also extremely pointless and stupid.

If you look at the various forums, you will see that is sometimes is needed to use a crack to be able to play a copy protected game you bought.
It happens too often that 'compatibility issues' with the protection prevent a legally bought game from functioning on vcertain hardware.
For some games, like unreal tournament 2004, the copy protection was removed in a later patch because of too much incompatibility issues.

Re:Dude..... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050856)

Consoles are machines designed to play games. If "not having to use a disk" was really an important requirement for playing games, consoles wouldn't require you to swap disks to play games. It's not, so they do.

And you do other things besides games on the console how? A computer is general purpose. Things that limit that do not get installed.

you could always try a portable CD player. Or just slap another CD-ROM drive in

Buy more because of "features" of the software that gives me no benefit? Yeah, right.

Re:Dude..... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15051282)

Consoles are machines designed to play games. If "not having to use a disk" was really an important requirement for playing games, consoles wouldn't require you to swap disks to play games. It's not, so they do.


Console users don't have a choice. They do what the games require of them. Computer users DO have the choice of playing the CD shuffle or getting the crack. Many of us do the latter.

Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.


You're either a troll or a Starforce operative. Which is it?

f you've bought the game, you already have a way to use it legitimately. Refusing to use that way and supporting pirates by using the cracked version of the game is still illegal.

How is it supporting pirates to download a free crack? What law does it violate to do so?

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15051786)

Troll, or unpaid shill. Starforce representatives all write in this horribly broken Engrish.

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15052436)


If you've bought the game, how is it stealing to use the crack?

Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.

So true. Paying money for a game and then using it the way you want is copyright violation. Not only that, it is stealing. Actually, it is rape. Yes, you are physically raping the copyright holder. Having sex with them without their consent. It's even worse, it is murder. And as if that wasn't enough, it is terrorism. Doing that is equivalent to setting off a nuclear bomb that will blow the Earth to pieces. Really. Read up on the copyright law if you don't believe me. So before you use that game you bought ask yourself this: do I really want to destroy the entire Earth?

P.S. IANAL...

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15053406)

> Well, let's see, you're getting an illegally modified copy of the game without compensating the owner. I'd call that theft. But, if you'd rather, you can always call it "copyright violation". I find that to be a little too unweildy, and would rather use the simpler term: stealing.

Hah! Best troll I've seen in ages :) Brillant(*) way to steal, too. Pay them and then search to find a fix for the broken piece of crap they sold you. LOL!

[*] As distinct from brilliant, because this scheme is worthy of "Paula Bean" herself.

Re:Dude..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15054234)

There is no way you could possibly be so stupid as to believe the garbage you just wrote, so you must be trolling.

Re:Dude..... (4, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050040)

I'll never understand the "I steal so I can play without the disk!" mentality that some people have. It's not like it's that hard to change disks. You hit the little Eject button, take out the disk already there, and put in the new one. Easy. If you have time to play an hour or two in a video game, you have time to take the five seconds to change disks.

It's not like it's a new thing, either. When games first started coming out on CD, they all required you to have the game disk in the drive. Yet people didn't complain.

The requirement to change disks hasn't stopped people from playing console games. Hell, some games require you to change disks while the game is still playing! Yet, no one minds.

The whole "steal the game to avoid having to use the disk" has got to be one of the lamest excuses for theft ever. "See, judge, I wanna make my life slightly more convenient, at the cost of Ubisoft's business."

This "case" is going to be laughed out of court.


It has nothing to do with switching CD's. I'll gladly play a game that needs the CD to start up, like Oblivion. What I don't want is Starforce on my machine. At all.

Why? Again, it has nothing to do with piracy or switching disks or any of that. Starforce screwed up my machine. I bought "Silent Hunter III", a sub simulation, and installed it on my computer. But I noticed that after a while, the entire computer started acting sluggish in normal activities....even though it's a Dual-core 4200+ with 2 gigs of RAM and it wasn't sluggish before. Rebooting seemed to make it worse, yet I couldn't see any activity or stolen CPU cycles or any of that. And I run a very clean system.

Anyway, it was acting sluggish. But that wasn't even the half of it, when I went to make a CD this past Christmas to take to my in-laws of Christmas music (mainly of Tiny Tim singing carols....drives my mother-in-law crazy...but that's another story). I found nothing would burn on my burner. Then my son told me that he couldn't play his older game he liked anymore because it would launch, then just shut down. It was an older game from a few years ago, and it was working fine just a week earlier.

To make a long story longer...I finally tracked down that all of this started happening AFTER I installed "Silent Hunter III" on my computer. I did some research online and found out all about Starforce and it's drivers. I found the Starforce removal tool and WHAM, like magic, everything started working again. But I hear that I was lucky because some people's CD drives are sometimes permanently screwed, though I don't know how.

THAT is why I'm all for this lawsuit. I don't care about any money, just want Starforce to go away.

More info on Starforce in case you needed it. (2, Informative)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050101)

This is taken right from Wikipedia:

StarForce has received criticism for installing its own device driver onto computers. Some users claim that the StarForce drivers can cause optical drives to fail, which has been investigated by the popular American magazine Computer Gaming World. CGW states that under certain circumstances StarForce will cause Windows to access optical drives in Programmed input/output mode which causes the drive to be accessed far more slowly, potentially causing problems. StarForce developers responded to these findings, stating "The issue on StarForce is obviously sponsored by our competitors or organized crime groups that run CD/DVD piracy operations. We are now in close cooperation with US and Russian officials investigating the matter and trying to find out who stands behind the boycott campaign". When faced with criticism on the internet, StarForce officials are known to threaten with legal action and contact with the FBI, though the extent to which these threats have been pursued remain doubtful. StarForce's developers claim that their EULA absolves them from any responsibility for problems that their software may cause [3]. Supporters of StarForce argue that the stability problems were exaggerated and have been resolved in newer versions of StarForce.

StarForce copy protection software also forces users to completely wipe and reinstall their partitions if they wish to remove the copy protection software. The protection will also write to any shared network drives that have full read / write access, causing problems for other users on the network.

A large number of gamers have advocated boycotts of games or publishers known to use StarForce. On 30th January 2006 Boing Boing, a popular weblog, labelled Starforce as malware, alleging several problems associated with the protection system, including disk drive performance degradation, weakening of operating system security and stability. A day later on January 31, 2006 Boing Boing received an email from Starforce, threatening legal action and stating that the article was "full of insults, lies, false accusations and rumors". CNET also ran a similar story, and has received similar [email]. However, Protection Technologies have never proven these claims are false.

On 5th March 2006, a StarForce employee posted a link [4] to an illegal download source of Galactic Civilizations 2, a game developed by StarDock which does not use copy protection. Starforce later issued an apology for this act [5], after it received a great deal of attention on the internet.


More info at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starforce [wikipedia.org]

Re:More info on Starforce in case you needed it. (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15053261)

Go get em

" StarForce's developers claim that their EULA absolves them from any responsibility for problems that their software may cause [3]."

Ok, i'll bite with Midway's Arcade treasures. I never Ok'd this app on my computer. No notice on box. No notice during install. Only a reboot when done-that is in a starforce window, didnt even know what it was at the time, i dont do many games anymore. Only EULA for game is AFTER install is done anyway WTF install 2 GB then ask if i want it?!? Course the registration was BEFORE install. No idea what those guys are on, but i ain't going back there. Even worse the game i wanted in the gamepack is a crippled port, not the real thing. At least i won't feel guilty getting mame and the rom now ;p

Not only is the downloaded rom free it is BETTER, thats NOT the way to fight piracy dumbass publishers. All this over some cheesy arcade games from the 90's that aren't worht the time to swap out the CD anyways.

Re:More info on Starforce in case you needed it. (1)

Joe123456 (846782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055472)

Get pinmame so you can also play there pinball games too.

optical drive damage (1)

LionOfMacedon (947932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052798)

under win XP, if packets are lost during the reading or writing of a disk, XP interprets this as an error and steps the IDE speed down. Eventually it will revert to 16bit compatibility mode rendering a CD/DVD writer unusable. In some circumstances certain drives cannot cope with this mode and it results in physical hardware failure (Most commonly in multiformat CD/DVD writer drives). A sure sign of this step down occurring is that the burn speeds will get slower and slower. Starforce, on a regular basis, triggers this silent step down. Until it reaches the latter stages most people do not even realise it is happening. Moreover, the Starforce drivers, installed on your system, grant ring 0 to any code under the ring 3. any virus or trojan can get OS privileges and totally control your system. Since win 2000, security and stability got enhanced by separating those privileges, but with the Starforce drivers, the old system holes and instabilities are back.

Re:Dude..... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050521)

The act of changing the disc is easy as long as you have only a handful of discs that you can keep within an arm's reach. It becomes more difficult once you have 40-50 of them and have to store them out of arm's reach. It means searching for the disc (unless you've used it recently and didn't put it back in storage), which can take quite some time depending on how well ordered your discs are.

Back when CDs were introduced most of the game ran from the CD, these days the entire data is copied to the harddrive, the disc is not used except for reading a small file to verify the disc. That's why people crack their games, because there is no good reason they have to insert the disc each time they want to play.

Never mind that copy protection can't be good for the disc drives, judging by the noises made. I can tell by the sound my drive makes how heavily protected the disc inside is, if it's pretty quiet and produces a "healthy" sound the disc is unprotected, if it sounds like a sawmill there's a nasty protection on the disc. I've even had cases where the PC wouldn't boot because Windows tried to read the disc on startup and the drive didn't manage to, causing an infinite loop of spinup, spindown that wouldn't end until I removed the disc. I'm pretty sure my old CD drive died because it read too many copy protected CDs because that was the last thing it read before ceasing to function.

On the console noone complains because again the games run completely from the disc, they aren't copied to your harddrive. The disc is actually used instead of being nothing more than a dongle.

Re:Dude..... (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050885)

My problem with games that require the disc to play is in the fact that data isn't loaded from the disc anymore. It is too slow to try and load data from the disc in game so they just dump the entire disc onto the HDD and then expect you to put in the disc, just to slow the crackers down by a day or two. I just think that if they're going to dump everything on my drive to be convenient to them, then they should allow me to play without my disc to be convenient to me. also, I don't think anyone uses this fabled "I steal so I can play without the disk!" mentality. Its more of either: "I steal so I don't have to pay money." or "I play without the disc because it is convenient." both of which are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Dude..... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055715)

I'll never understand the "I steal so I can play without the disk!" mentality that some people have. It's not like it's that hard to change disks.

Right, and that's not what it's about. Read on...

When games first started coming out on CD, they all required you to have the game disk in the drive.

Correct, but something important has changed since then. Read on...

"See, judge, I wanna make my life slightly more convienent, at the cost of Ubisoft's business."

Convenient, yes. At the cost of someone else? No. This is about the following scenario:

Many, many people's main machine is a notebook these days (that's what's changed, point 2). It's not about switching the CD, it's about whether or not you have to lug around a box of CDs in addition to the notebook, power plug and assorted other hardware you have. It reduces the value of having a portable system at all (that's why we prefer not having to use the CDs, point 1).

And many of these complaints are from people who actually bought the games, so Ubisoft (or whoever else) already got their business.

Re:Dude..... (2, Interesting)

ZekeSulastin (965715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049884)

You DID read the legal brief and/or the many, MANY posts on just about every major gaming blog concerning StarForce, right? Even if it doesn't permanently damage your optical drives, cause extreme system slowdown, or make it impossible to burn a CD/DVD (all of which have been reported to happen), it grants system-level access to user-level applications - introducing yet another security hole into Windows, one within a payload much more likely to be used by many users. Also, the company itself acts far superior to their customers, discounts and/or deletes anything on their site claiming StarForce damage, relies on a heavily biased contest result to prove their point ("Hey, come fly out to Moscow and prove to us on our own PC that we've set up for you that StarForce causes damage!!! Wait, no one came? YOU ALL R LIARZ OMGWTFLOL!!!"), and threatens with legal action many others who post about their difficulties. Thus, they lose on all counts ...

Down with Stareforce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049549)

I for one am glad someone is standing up to Stareforce. You don't know how many Virtus's have destroyed my computer as a result of them!

nice work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049595)

The server that hosts the lawsuit .pdf is already down. GO TEAM INTERNET!

Not enough damage... (3, Insightful)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049599)

5M? Ubisoft sold a lot more kit than that. What is the damage going to be - 5$ off Splinter Cell Double Agent for us, 4M to the lawyers? Would be nice to see some of these machine horking protection schemes get held to the same 'criminal' behavior like deleting files or defacing websites...

Re:Not enough damage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15051108)

The lawyers should get -4 Million off computer games. Why should the concerned party get a coupon and the lawyers get cash? Lawyers rule the US, they control two out of three branches of the government. Bush isn't a lawyer but it isn't uncommon for the USA to have a lawyer in the white house like Clinton. Then it's the United States of Lawyers. Political parties are just a smoke screen and a way to filter even more money from the people.

Re:Not enough damage... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052624)

The real importance of this case isn't to get money back - it's to prevent other companies from using Starforce in the future.

Hope he wins (2, Insightful)

VGfort (963346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049618)

that way maybe other companies wont use StarForce anymore, because a lot of companies usually dont listen to customers until it hits them in the pocketbook.

do some research (3, Informative)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049627)

"Such a fuss...all because he wants to play without the disk. Just get a crack for it like the rest of us!"

I don't think you fully understand what StarForce is. Only a couple StarForce games have ever been cracked - and it isn't just swapping out a couple .EXE files.

You need to physically unhook *all* of your optical drives and run an emulator that seriously hits system performance. UBI has released this with their Splinter Cell series - and for the most part it worked. Troubleshooting costs are way higher than normal but I know a ton of people who don't ever buy games that bought these.

Re:do some research (2, Interesting)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049738)

Actually, quite a few StarForce game have been cracked. Try looking each game up on TorrentSpy, you'll see that a lot of them are avaliable there. And yes, it is an EXE patch as far as I'm aware. Once one game protected by a certain scheme is cracked, the rest are pretty simple to crack since you just have to look for the same patterns, provided it's the same version of the protection scheme.

I may be wrong about this, but it's what I've seen so far. I haven't downloaded any StarForce protected games so I don't know for sure how the pirated copies work, but the fact that there are pirated copies avaliable says that there is some way to run them without the disc, and without really bad hassles.

Re:do some research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049981)

Starforce coders laugh at the idiots in the warez scene, just like most people doing free software do. Let those imbeciles waste time cracking protections like Starforce while the rest of us spend our time doing something that is actually useful.

Re:do some research (2, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050226)

>Starforce coders laugh at the idiots in the warez scene,
>just like most people doing free software do.
>Let those imbeciles waste time cracking protections like
>Starforce while the rest of us spend our time doing
>something that is actually useful.

Something useful? What, like encouraging people to pirate non-DRM'd games [boingboing.net] like GalCiv2?

Re:do some research (1)

Finkbug (789750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050032)

If it's not *every* StarForce protected game that's been fully cracked it's pretty close. Just took awhile for the first one.

Which has nothing to do with why StarForce and its maker are nasty.

I sure didn't enjoy emailing the creators of Space Rangers 2 to tell them they'd lost a sale because of the included StarForce protection. That sucks: I don't get to play a great game, small company loses money.

Re:do some research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15050149)

Yes, some StarForce games have been cracked. The thing with StarForce is that is has all kinds of options that the publisher can set, ranging from your standard encrypt-the-executable through encrypting the entire data set of the game. It's entirely possible for a StarForce game to require downloading an entirely separate copy instead of a simple replacement EXE, which is no problem for pirates, but might stop legitimate customers bypassing it, on the off chance that it causes them problems.

The upshot of that is that two StarForce protected games, even using the same version of StarForce, may look and act completely differently.

The major glitch with StarForce (at least, older versions of StarForce 3) is that it only works properly on internal IDE drives. If you have an internal IDE drive capable of reading the disc, StarForce insists on using it. If you don't have one (either you have an external drive only, or you're using emulation software instead), the protection is next to useless, and the game will run off a copy or an image. I don't know if it has the same problem with SATA drives, but I would assume so - they tend to run as SCSI drives rather than IDE drives.

Re:do some research (2, Informative)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049756)

"You need to physically unhook *all* of your optical drives and run an emulator that seriously hits system performance."

Or just use a SCSI drive.

Re:do some research (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050674)

Tell me, do you develop for cdrecord? That's not the best advice to give people who primarily use IDE DVD/CD drives.

Re:do some research (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052996)

or get a SATA optical with the right adapter card that also looks like a SCSI drive :)

Re:do some research (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050158)

>You need to physically unhook *all* of your optical drives
>and run an emulator that seriously hits system performance.

Or wire in a switch. Or if you are really lazy, put them in USB/SCSI enclosures.

Re:do some research (4, Informative)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050344)

I have a no cd or a fixed iso (small iso that meets the cd check requirements) for every single starforce game I own (which is a lot of games). Starforce can't stop piracy. Most pirates have no problem waiting a month or two to play a new game. I personally dont buy games until there is a no CD crack. I even waited to buy Oblivion (Note that oblivion does not use starforce) until there was a fixed iso. I perfer fixed iso's to no cd cracks as I can use daemon tools and the iso without patching my game. Plus those isos are usually less then 20 meg.

I dont like having a giant CD rack in my office to play games. I buy the game, rip it to my network and put the cd in my library room. If I can't do that, I dont buy the game. If they want to do copy protection, they should go with value added copy protection (such as unique keys to play online). Epic, bioware, and blizard seem to understand this. Hell epic even removes the no-cd crack with their first patch for Ut2004. Bioware did the same with nwn.

Re:do some research (1)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050825)

Oblivion wouldn't -have- a fixed ISO, because Oblivion was released without copy protection.

Bethesda listened to their fans on their forums, and promised not to use Starforce. In the end, the only thing protecting Oblivion is a CD check. You can use any old ordinary imaging program to make an ISO of the DVD and then use that ISO to play the game.

Try it! :) Worked just fine for me. In addition to that, I am extremely thankful to Bethesda for not punishing me for buying the actual game.

Re:do some research (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050848)

Really? Sweet, I may be able to get Oblivion after all. Now if only they remove the CD check in some patch, it'll definitely be in my list of games to purchase.

Sometime after I upgrade my PC to be able to actually play Oblivion...

Re:do some research (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051702)

A fixed iso is much smaller than the full CD. If I used ripped ISOs for all my games I would pry have to buy a 2 200 gig drives. With these little isos I have them all on my little 40 gig hard drive on the server in the closet.

Re:do some research (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050991)

I have a similar philosophy. I don't usually buy games until the price drops to $30 or so. By then, all the cracks and patches I'll want/need have been released and I avoid most bugs from the original release. It saves me money, too. :)

Re:do some research (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15052326)

You wouldn't have this problem if you used free software. Again, Windows users pay for their idiocy.

One thing I'd lie to see (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049657)

Less lawsuits, more *EFFECTIVE* boycotts. And no, I'm not talking about half-hearted "boycotts," where idiot gamers with no self-control warez the hell out of a title that's supposed to be boycotted, only to serve as proof that publishers need to use copy protection. I'm talking about shutting out all purchases, downloads, and even positive discussion about a boycotted title.

It would certainly not be a trivial effort to organize something like this. But it would be better proof to the publishers that we don't necessarily need what they have to offer us. They provide us with services and products (luxuries, at that) that we can choose to buy. Don't tattle to mommy government so she can slap the publishers on the wrist and leave them looking for different means to screw you. Just starve them straight. If gamers can't do this, that's just proof that publishers can do whatever they want to you.

After all, we are not talking about (sigh) Windows, which someone might actually need for some reason. These are *games*.

Re:One thing I'd lie to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15049767)

Yeah,

besides... gamer should not be afraid of their game companies, game companies should be afraid of their gamer

Re:One thing I'd lie to see (1)

Why's_This_Fish_So_B (904222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050830)

I'm already in this boycott. I like, for instance, GTR and GTL (racing sims) but I won't touch them due to the Starforce issue (the GTR demo slowed and eventually disabled a CD/RW for me).

So, it's rFactor and not GTR for me. I'm sure ISI doesn't mind the business.

Re:One thing I'd lie to see (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051570)

Perhaps a more attainable stepping stone is getting legislation done that requires publishers to label the box and disk with the specific name, brand, and VERSION of copy protection used.

Two problems with that (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052528)

1) Finding out ahead of time which game has which copy protection is difficult.

2) A large number of games are sold to people who have no online contact with such groups.

Boycott Schmoycott (1)

Iffy Bonzoolie (1621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052555)

This isn't a dire enough issue for a boycott to even enter the vicinity of reality. A game company would have to be harming children or supporting international terrorism to incite an "effective boycott." Boycotting in general is just not an effective means of making change. Lawsuits, on the other hand, are highly effective... I'm all for alternatives to litigation, but let's look at new methods of protest that might work and let's avoid looking back at methods that have historically failed. Repeatedly.

-If

Re:One thing I'd lie to see (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15053242)

Flyers that list the issues, games and what DRM is on them (including "none") and websites with more information would be a start.

A group willing to stand outside their local EBGames, GameStop and hand out the above flyer would be the next step.

An overall group organizing and willing to educate consumers is probably the way to go for an effective boycott/lobby group as well as a way to reach those who may not got on-line enough to care.

A side effect of this sort of thing might be driving more consumers to console gaming where DRM protection schemes are so entrenched its considered "normal".

Always remember, kids: (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050284)

"What you reap is what you sow".

I hope it stops these practices, I've held off from purchasing quite a few games because I'm not sure starforce is trustworthy and I'm VERY sure that I as a legitimate customer do not tolerate being treated like a criminal. Well, actually the criminals get treated much better since the warez versions usually remove such inconveniences completely. "Here's your reward for purchasing our software instead of downloading: A worse user experience! Isn't that great?"

Damage to optical drives? (0)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050326)

I remember seeing a note about this on star-force homepage.
They offered $10,000 reward and all-expenses paid round-trip to moscow to their headquarters, if you could replicate situation where starforce actually did some damage to optical drives.
The competition is over by now, apparently no one tried to prove it right, link here [star-force.com] .

Re:Damage to optical drives? (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050525)

I think that's interesting, though I'm not sure how many people regularly browse the Star Force website and even more, how many actually want to take a trip to Moscow and the headquarters of the company. It doesn't seem all that appealing to me. Of course, the results of their experiment are not "proof" like they claim, but what would you expect from a company trying to sell its product?

That said, anyone that would install system-altering DRM to play a damn game is insane. Totally nuts. I am not much of a gamer, but I know that many electronics stores carry many video game titles. Surely at least some of them don't feature system-altering DRM. I've never given listeners of mainstream music much credit for selectivity, but when Sony tried this kind of stuff a few months ago they were forced out of the market. Why haven't gamers done the same? Are they idiots or cowards, brainwashed to accept any corporate doublespeak? Do they just not care (seems strange for a group of people that will try anything to improve their computers' performance...)?

Re:Damage to optical drives? (1)

GoulDuck (626950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051750)

when Sony tried this kind of stuff a few months ago they were forced out of the market. Why haven't gamers done the same?
This story has not reached the kind of news value, that the Sony case generated. When this happends, maybe Ubisoft will listen. I don't think that Sony was "forced out of the market" - but you could read the story in many different newspapers/site - not just in computer related news. This, ofcause, is not something Sony can live with, so they undid theri mistake. The only place I have read about Starforce related problems, is Slashdot.

Re:Damage to optical drives? (4, Insightful)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050556)

They offered $10,000 reward and all-expenses paid round-trip to moscow to their headquarters, if you could replicate situation where starforce actually did some damage to optical drives.

No, the deal was that you flew out to Moscow at your own expense to demonstrate it. And then they decide whether to award you the prize based on their rules. Also note that the vast majority of people aren't complaining that it physically damages their CD drives. They are complaining about system instability, poor performance and the gaping fucking security hole that Starforce opens on your PC*.

I'm sure that you totally misrepresented the "competition" rules by accident. Everyone knows Starforce are above planting paid shills on forums.

* The Starforce driver can elevate user processes to Ring 0**.
** That's what we call a rootkit.

Re:Damage to optical drives? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051091)

Actually, the entire competition was very hush-hush and rarely spoken of, let alone known even after it ended.

The contest page was visited 48.000 times but we received 0 applications. No one showed up.

48,000 visits? Slashdot probably gets that many visits in an hour and we're supposed to be impressed? If they said 480,000 or even 4.8 million unique visits, I'd be more understanding but 48,000? Thats NOTHING by internet standards.

Re:Damage to optical drives? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052803)

The competition is over by now, apparently no one tried to prove it

Was that before or after the death threats [game-overdrive.com] ?

Why Ubisoft? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15050686)

I know of Ubisoft as a game developer, but what is their relation to the creators of StarForce. It mentioned that they're being used for using it, not developing it... sound really it sounds more like they should be sueing the creators of StarForce or at least have a suit against both. On the other hand, Sony used bought DRM and they're usually the ones held as reponsible for its nasty rootkit, soooo.

I do know that other game developers use StarForce though, to the same effect. Why sue UbiSoft in particular?

Re:Why Ubisoft? (1)

Evil Closet Monkey (761299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15052580)

UbiSoft is the focus of the suit because they are the ones putting the software onto your computer, they are the ones ultimately doing the "damage". StarForce (the company) does not install its software on your computer, UbiSoft put it there so it is their (UbiSoft's) fault when the software causes damage.

UbiSoft, instead of a different company, is likely the target due to a recent choice to equip all their games with StarForce.

Cool (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051234)

Maybe now they will be forced to release a nocd version of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory so I can finally put the 4GB image to some use ;)

Hmm... Russia... (1)

Mo6eB (832959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15051355)

Let's see... The company is based in Russia, produces harmful software and doesn't acknowledge it. It also posts links to torrents of pirated copies of games, that don't use their copy protection (Galactic Civilisations 2) and generally screws up the whole world, except Russia and other countries, where practically everybody infringes copyright, instead of buying the software. I say that this StarForce thingy is actually sponsored by the Russian government in an attempt to screw up the US and the rest of the world.

And they seem to be doing a mighty fine job at it. I hope they continue to do so - seeing how you lose more and more drives ever so painfully is truly an uplifing sight. So, please buy Splinter Cell.

From Russia with Love.
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