EA Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Spore DRM

Despite making a recent concession to consumers, the Spore DRM saga doesn’t seem likely to stop vexing publisher Electronic Arts any time soon.

In the latest development, Courthouse News Service reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court. From the CNS story:

Electronic Arts, a leading maker of computer games, defrauds consumers through its "Spore" game, which "completely wipes their hard drive" and replaces it with an undisclosed program that prevents the computer from operating under some circumstances and disrupts hardware operations, a class action claims in Federal Court. 


The class claims that "Spore," a virtual reality simulation game, contains "a second, undisclosed program" called SecuROM, a "form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for computer games."


Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if the uninstall Spore, the complaint states. The secret SecuROM program is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations," the complaint states.

Copy of the lawsuit here.

GP: Thanks to GP reader nighstalker160 for tipping us to this one via Shoutbox.

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  1. Neo_DrKefka says:

    In Japan is it illegal to sell or rent games purchased. Sony for example has something that is built in a PS3. What it can do is it can prevent anyone selling or renting a game from playing that game on another system maybe the worst kind of DRM of them all and in Japan this is an accepted practice. However seeing the PS3 seriously is a failure due to their overconfidence they thankfully choose not to activite this feature. I guess Sony didn’t fully shoot for the sun 😉

  2. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Good point, they are literally afraid of putting it on the box. It’s like you said, for example smoking. Look at that nice cancer sign posted on there. Big Tobacco doesn’t like that and neither would EA but noting this is not like Mass Effect, which though is a popular game Spore was made in mind for not just the average gamer but everyone. I think this is the worst game they could of added DRM too to add attention of the growing concern of DRM.

    There Red Commander or whatever series its not going to mean much if it has DRM but now a game like this or Sims 3 lol EA is going to have a problem

  3. nighstalker160 says:

    There’s actually a recent case Twombley (something like that) that raised the pleading requirements in federal district court, so he did need to give something more than you did before.

    36 pages is pretty long for a complaint though.

  4. thefremen says:

     ITT: lots of EA/Securom employees.


    Why doesn’t EA mention Securom on the box? This shit wouldn’t nearly be as bothersome if we just knew what we were getting into.


    Most Pro-Corporate people will say "I’ve had Securom/starforce and it never bothered me!". Well that’s nice, there are a lot of people who’ve smoked ciggarettes and never been bothered by Lung Cancer. There’s a lot of people who drive 80mph in residential areas without getting a ticket or killing a pedestrian. Why expose yourself to unecessary risk?

  5. Ben says:

    You’re forgetting this particular line: But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Essentially, it means that those with the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. Therefore, if we have to commit crimes to correct an injustice… so it shall be.

    "Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance." -Laurie Halse Anderson

  6. Rabidkeebler says:

    Just for those wondering, EA did NOT include any relavent information pertaining to SecuROM or another program download in the EULA.  There is only one vague mention of technichal protection measures.  It is on the first page if you are curious.

    You can read it here if you still think EA has a case


  7. Unruly says:

    You obviously didn’t comprehend what I said. I bought the game, years later I lost the CD, and created an image to use for installing/playing. Sure, Blizzard made it not need the CD to play anymore, but you still need it to install, and that image is still used for that. Its no different at all from making a physical backup disk. So yes, I DID make a backup of the game disk, only in digital form instead of physical(which requires a digital copy to be made first anyways). Nowhere, nowhere, did I whine and cry. I simply said that if Blizzard were to try and take me to court for it I would tell them to kiss my ass since I legally own the game and they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    Oh, and calling me stupid and lazy because I lost a cd after the game has been out for 10 years? Please. I’m sure everyone, including you, has lost newer, more expensive stuff even faster than that. I’ll admit I have older games still hanging around, but none of them got travelled all over the place like my SC disk did either.

  8. Zaruka says:

    im glad that someone sueing them about the malware that securom is. though it went a little off topic hopefully that wont effect that he said the two differnt programs that one is installed with out the customer permission and stays on after the game is unistall.

    anyway ….IT has started, muahah



    Thanks Zaruka


  9. Anonymous says:

    The Declaration of Independence condones nothing.  It simply states that due to grievances we have suffered that we henceforth cut ourselves off from England, and that any attempt to retie those bonds of government will be met with force.  It was simply a declaration of a nation’s newfound and self declared independence.

    It doesn’t matter anyways.  The Declaration of Independence is in no way a piece of law.  It was written a decade before our Constitution was even drafted and effects in no way any type of governement or personal proceedings.

  10. Alex Encandar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve got some legal experience, my dad’s a lawyer and I worked in his law firm for 2 years. Plus I have taken 2 law courses myself. I have to say that this lawyer doesn’t sound very good, for one he goes on and on about what Spore is. That’s completely off topic, all he needed to do was establish that Spore and DRM are two different programs, which he did in the first paragraph. He didn’t need to explain the plotline of spore, the goals of it, etc.

    Still hoping EA gets taken down a peg or two, just think that the lawyer could do a better job.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Nonsense!  The US declaration of independence basically condones piracy in the case of a situation where people are being taken advantage of by a body that is in some sort of position of authority.  Clearly this is such a case.

  12. Anonymous says:

    True, we don’t have the right to DRM-free games, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have that right, nor does it mean that we shouldn’t complain or that EA is right.

  13. LuNaTiC says:



    We are all going to die someday. The trick is not to rush it.

  14. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I posted in the forums about Ars’ "test" of the Spore DRM. Check it out.


    Basically, I came to this conclusion of their "test"

    Their test consisted of the following:

    • Install on PC1
    • Uninstall on PC1
    • Install agian on PC1
    • install on PC2
    • Install on PC3
    • Install on PC4

    That’s it. From a site that thoroughly tests applications that are not controversial, they sure dropped the ball hard on this controversial subject. Guess what their results were. The DRM is not as big a problem as we thought.

    They could have tested the following:

    • Upgrade various hardware components while the game is installed. (RAM, Video card, sound card, DVD Drive etc)
    • Reinstall Windows without uninstalling the game.
    • Install Windows service packs while the game is installed. (ie from SP2 to SP3)
    • Install cd/dvd ripping software or iso burning software while the game is installed.

    They didn’t. Why? I have no idea.

    In the end, there were a lot of scenarios that did not get tested that could have easily borked some of your installs.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  15. John B says:

    One thing that I’ve noticed that NO ONE is talking about is what is even more nefarious about this DRM — it links the unique ID to your EA account.  That means that once you’re done with it and you no longer want to play, YOU CANNOT SELL IT!  Unlike books, CDs, DVDs, and so forth, this nefarious scheme of EAs totally tramps all over any rights to "first sale".

    Don’t kid yourselves, people.  This has little to nothing to do with stopping pirates.  It has EVERYTHING to do with destroying the used games market.

  16. Chadius ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m really happy about this. Hopefully a lawsuit (wether or not it is successful) will tell EA to stop futzing with my computers.


    In the meantime, there are many other games (Lego Batman, Sonic Chronicles, Wario Land Shake It) that I’ll spend my money on.

  17. Rabidkeebler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually, as it stands right now there is legal precedent due ot the Sony BMG CD issue from (2005?). 


    The issue stands at the fact that EA didn’t fully disclose information about the DRM, either with a label on the box nor in the EULA (End User License Agreement)

    nor do they inform users that the program will not be uninstalled after uninstalling Spore (though why would you since it uses one of your tokens)

    nor do they offer an easily accessable uninstaller of Securom

    Nor is their consideration on resource use/security risk mentioned with the use of Securom, which is extremely important since it seems to function as a rootkit


    This is very close to the problems Sony went through, since placing CDs inside the computer autlomatically installed the software without the users knowledge, and was never acknowledged until after the fact.

    Again, this isn’t an issue on the use of DRM itself, but disclosure of information before purchase, especially since you can’t return opened PC games anymore. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ever since Lionhead Studios started with putting a  "call home" key in the registry when installing Black and White,  computer companies have gotten bolder and bolder. Maybe we consumers as a group will lose this fight, maybe not. I do wish we would have had a class action lawsuit that focused on post purchase support.  How can a company sell a game, patch it once, leaving immeasurable glitches unaddressed, and then tell the customer point blank that they are no longer patching the game??? And worse, the company goes under and its catalog sold and the new owners refuse to support the former companies products tho they have the copyright. If their was a possibility for a full refund that ones issue, but when they say you have to return the product unopened to get your money back, then that is in the realm of ludicrous.

  19. lumi says:

    "As of earlier this year (February), you no longer need the CD in the drive to play Starcraft. Blizzard patched the game so their long-term fans were less inconvenienced. I’m not going to call you a pirate, but I will call you an idiot for not making a backup of the game CD as the EULA permits you and then crying Waagh when you lose it. I see so many pirates use this as one of their excuses and, although I am against most forms of DRM implementation, ‘losing the CD/DVD’ (read: because I am lazy and/or stupid) is not a valid excuse. Make a backup if you are prone to losing things. If you don’t want to do that or can’t be bother to find out how to, you take responsibility for the risk of losing the only copy you have."

    …wow.  Where do you see him "crying"?  He said he lost the game, so he copied it from a friend’s disc.  I fail to see the tears.  As a matter of fact, it sounds to me like he did exactly what you told him he should have done, except he waited until after he lost the disc to copy it.  Which matters…how?  The only one it makes a difference to AT ALL is him, because he had to wait until he obtained a copy from his friend and burned it before playing, as opposed to popping the burned backup into the drive immediately.

  20. Crispy says:

    "If that’s true, then call me a pirate because I lost my StarCraft cd, which I bought on release day and still have the box, manual, little advertising box inserts, and cd case for, and use an image that I made of a friend’s cd to play. If Blizzard comes after me and tries to sue me for piracy, which they won’t since I have all the original stuff including my own cd key, then I would tell them to kiss my ass and wouldn’t buy Diablo3 or SC2 no matter how much I actually want them after near-begging for both these last 8-10 years."

    As of earlier this year (February), you no longer need the CD in the drive to play Starcraft. Blizzard patched the game so their long-term fans were less inconvenienced. I’m not going to call you a pirate, but I will call you an idiot for not making a backup of the game CD as the EULA permits you and then crying Waagh when you lose it. I see so many pirates use this as one of their excuses and, although I am against most forms of DRM implementation, ‘losing the CD/DVD’ (read: because I am lazy and/or stupid) is not a valid excuse. Make a backup if you are prone to losing things. If you don’t want to do that or can’t be bother to find out how to, you take responsibility for the risk of losing the only copy you have.

    If you lose a film DVD or a music CD, this does not give you the right to steal another copy if you lose the original. You bought the original as a hardcopy, not in digital form. 360s and PS3s have enough hard disc memory to play the game from the console without needing the disc, but the games manufacturer has decided you need the disc to play it. If you buy the product in this state, whether it’s a PC games DVD or a PS3 Blu-Ray disc, you must abide by their decision. It’s only when you buy the game via digital distribution or the game allows a complete install from disc that you have a valid claim when you are told you are no longer allowed to play the game you paid for.

  21. Unruly says:

    I’m going to have to go with #2 on this one. The article focused only on the install limit and not the fact that SecuROM installs itself secretly and is unable to be removed by any normal, harmless way(editing the registry by hand is never completely harmless). Or the fact that it causes issues with other software such as cd/dvd burning software and even Microsoft developed Windows debuggers.

    "Oh, but Unruly, what would a legitimate user ever need a program like Alcohol 120% and Daemon Tools for? Only pirates use those kinds of programs."

    If that’s true, then call me a pirate because I lost my StarCraft cd, which I bought on release day and still have the box, manual, little advertising box inserts, and cd case for, and use an image that I made of a friend’s cd to play. If Blizzard comes after me and tries to sue me for piracy, which they won’t since I have all the original stuff including my own cd key, then I would tell them to kiss my ass and wouldn’t buy Diablo3 or SC2 no matter how much I actually want them after near-begging for both these last 8-10 years.

    Besides, it the principle that programs like Daemon Tools and Alcohol 120% are something that I’ve chosen to install on my computer and a game company shouldn’t have any say over what can be run on my personal, bought and paid for, legally OWNED computer. There is nothing inherently illegal in what those programs do. There are legitimate reasons to run them. Just like there are legitimate reasons to have 2 cd drives at once. Not every game doesn’t require the cd in the tray. Most old games do require the cd in the tray, and a lot of newer games still do as well. I have 2 cd drives so I don’t have to swap out disks as often, both during installs and during play. Ever sit down and reinstall WoW and TBC expansion with one cd drive? You have to swap 8 disks in and out. With WotLK coming, that number is gonna go up to 12. I have 2 cd drives, and an optional external 3rd that was bought for my laptop, so that I can reduce that number of swaps down to 6, or even 4 if I so choose.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The reinstall limit is frankly secondary to the invasive malmare that is Securom, but still as a consumer we should not be having to RENT something we paid full price for. EA need to be shpwn that treating its own customers in this way is not acceptable.

  23. Dark Sovereign says:

    This doesn’t violate the constitution. Americans aren’t happy about this, either. Thus, protesting and piracy. We just don’t ask momma goverenment to solve everything for us.

  24. sortableturnip says:

    1)  GP may not have been aware of the story

    2) GP may have known of the story, but did not publish it on this site.  Why?  Well, for one, there is a huge hole in the way they tested it.  They lied to the EA customer rep about its usage.  Also, they claimed that there was a three install machine limit and claimed that you can reinstall it multiple times on the same machine.  However, if you need to reinstall windows and you’ve changed your hardware configuration, that counts as another machine install.  Plus, as I pointed out earlier, EA is not disclosing that you have a 3 install limit or that there is DRM bing installed on your machine prior to purchase.

  25. sortableturnip says:

    The company has the obligation to fully disclose, before you make the purchase, any and all restrictions. 

  26. black manta says:

    Good for them, good for all of us.  It was about time.

    I’ve always kind of been on the fence about DRM, feeling that it was a necessary evil and that the negative reaction to it, even with Spore was a tad overblown.  Even though I’d personally prefer that there be no DRM at all on any game.

    Incidentally, I sent Dennis this link to an article in Ars Technica that took a look at how Spore’s DRM actually worked.  I emailed him the link, but so far he hasn’t put it on.  Here it is for anyone who wants to read it.:

    ARS Puts Spore DRM to the Test – With Surprising Result 

    I hate sounding like JT on this, but Dennis, is it because it doesn’t neatly fit into the largely anti-DRM consensus on here that you haven’t run it?

    Anyway, with Spore, even I have to admit that what EA did went beyond the pale.  And I also do agree with Hal’s assertion that people like me who normally wouldn’t even consider piracy may turn to it if I were to get myself a copy.

    And I am glad that this is finally happening.  Really, it was only a matter of time until something like this happened and a sufficient number of consumers got pissed off enough to want to do something about it.  Like someone on another thread said; DRM is simply put, a bad idea.  Eventually the companies will realize this and it will be done away with.  It happened with StarForce, and it will happen with SecuRom.  This will be a major embarassment to EA, giving them a nasty black eye in the process that should (hopefully) make them think twice about ever using it again. 

     Who knows?  They may even look at StarDock’s DRM-less business model, how well they’re regarded because of it, and realise that doing away with it may go a long way towards rehabilitating theoir own image.  Yeah, it’s a long shot, but I’m a cockeyed optimist.

    The one thing I’m particulaly hopeful about?  That they’ll rethink their current stance on Red Alert 3‘s DRM and just remove it altogether prior to release.

  27. Brokenscope says:

    They way games, and all software for that matter, are sold, they TECHNICALLY don’t break any of the consumer rights outlined in the US copyright code.

  28. Anonymous says:

     Yeah, and I’m not buying them. I’m not saying that.

    I’m saying they shouldn’t have the RIGHT to illegally install monitoring software without saying so, and telling you when, how many times, and for how long you can use a product. That is completely bullshit and it boggles my mind that anyone can be defending such fascism and blatant invasion of privacy.

  29. Derovius says:

     You don’t have the right to DRM free games, you have the right to choose whether or not you want to purchase said games given these built-in restrictions. As much as these heavy handed tactics piss me off, I think some of need to be thrown into a country with a true authoritarian government. Maybe then you’ll stop whining about your rights with respect to luxeries.

  30. Baruch_S says:

    Here’s hoping that this lawsuit hits EA hard and serves as a lesson to any other company that considers using SecuROM.

  31. Rabidkeebler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This would be more like car companies recording the face of anyone allowed to drive one car in an attempt to stop carjacking, but only being able to record 3 faces.  So a family with 4 drivers would have to get another car, but carjackers could just hotwire the car and steal it anyway.

  32. Anonymous says:

     Leasing a car is a bit different.


    In any case, replace it with Ford saying "by the way, you’re only allowed to drive this car for 200 miles before it will self destruct and you have to buy a new one" or with the government saying they’re only allowed to drive 500 miles a month.


    It’s the fucking principle. This is not freedom.

  33. nighstalker160 says:

    Anonymous wrote

    "You bet if someone told Americans how many miles they could drive a month they’d freak the fuck out.You bet if someone told Americans how many miles they could drive a month they’d freak the fuck out."

    They actually do DO that.  If you’ve ever leased a car, they come with mileage restrictions.  You can only drive say 4000 miles a month and if you go over that its like $.17 a mile or $.75 a mile.


  34. Anonymous says:

    I still don’t understand how the shit DRM is constitutional. You bet if someone told Americans how many miles they could drive a month they’d freak the fuck out. This is a BLATANT FUCKING ASSAULT ON YOUR RIGHTS. How can so few care, even the non-gamers?


    Land of the free my ass.


    PS: I’m not insulting American, I live in Canada and our laws are basically copied from yours. Which is sort of my point. Americans are always up in arms about things that threaten their freedoms yet so few care about this (and don’t cite the people here, obviously people on this site care, but in the grand scheme of things, extremely few people care about this).

    I wouldn’t care if they gave me 10,000 installs. It’s not right and should be illegal.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually inclined to agree, I pirated Spore in a day of downloading, it took about 40 seconds to figure out the crack (that someone else made) without a readme, I’ve been enjoying ever since. Frankly Ea can go f*** itself. The interesting part is I wasn’t tracking spore I was just bored and remembered it was out, one day later, spore works great and I’m conquoring the galaxy mega-pulse in hand. If the DRM does stop reselling then it seems like that’s all it’s stoping

  36. thefremen says:

     Wow so if you reformat the disk where the game is installed that will remove registry keys? THAT’S AMAZING! 

  37. Monte says:

    Well there are many who can say they never had a single problem with their xbox 360, but that doesn’t make the red rings of death any less real… From what i have been hearing of the issues of SecuROM, the problems it can cause are not 100% certain to happen. While you say you never had a problem, others have said they did… Only a fraction of people end up expereincing problems… but even if it can cause serious problems for only a fraction of people does not make it ok for the software to be in there; espeically since most people buy the games without even knowing about the malware that comes with the game (ane you throw in the fact that lots of places don’t allow returns for PC games after the box has been open)

  38. black manta says:

    Yeah, I have or had several games on my computer that used SecuROM, including the ones you mentioned (BioShock, Crysis, etc.) and have never experienced any real problems with them.  The worst that happened was that the CD for Crysis would make a weird clicking noise in my Lite-On DVD drive whenever it would spin-up for the first time after putting it in the drive, though I was later to understand that had more to do with the DVD disc itself, as it was dual-layered.  So out of fear of wrecking the drive, I got a DVD-free crack.

    Still, I’ve yet to experience any of the problems SecuROM reportedly causes, and I’m largely chalking them up to urban myth.  For that matter, I never had much of a problem with StarForce either now that I think back on it.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Crysis has securom too? damn, I really have to stop buying EA stuff, first they start putting securom into games then they start shipping them without endings….whats next?

    Damnit, what with me now boycotting EA and securom, adding to my mmo boycott (they can monthly charge my ass, its not really the charge itself its the blatant profiteering, if they made a game with variable fee structure depenedent on server and admin costs THEN i might buy) the market is getting small….

  40. Ben Zupan says:

    Well, to be honest, I’d do some looking myself if anything. I used a detector suggested by one of the ‘it has rootkit’ proponents at the time, and it came up with zilch at the time. I plan on running another search tonight, though since I installed Bioshock, I’ve also installed Crysis, Spore, and Crysis: Warhead (through Steam)… three potential rootkit sources if what others are saying are true.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thats good to know, and quite relieiving thanks, although I heard rootkits are notoriously hard to detect, I’ll choose to trust your judgement for the sake of peace of miond.



  42. Anonymous says:

     It sticks now even if you uninstall. Bioshock may have been an older version.


    There are even people who say that it keeps itself through reformats.

  43. Ben Zupan says:

    Actually, the thing in Bioshock doesn’t. This came up when Bioshock was released, and we ended up plowing through a few systems to check for a rootkit. Nada. And when Bioshock was uninstalled, the protection went with it.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Yeah.  If they say it wipes your hard drive, the case will be thrown out in the first five minutes of the preliminary hearings.

  45. DeepThorn says:

    I give up, haha, thanks.  They have the article up now, well, the EA getting sued, I doubt they will ever cover that EA admitted they did something wrong.

  46. black manta says:

    While I’ve long since come to understand that it means ultra-strict, I will always associate the word "Draconian" also with either the aliens from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century or from the Doctor Who episode "Frontier in Space." 😉

  47. Rabidkeebler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Draco or his code of laws.



    (often lowercasehttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel: Draconian forms of punishment.


    Draco was an early BC Greek nobility.  He created a set of laws (partly notable for distinguishing between murder and involuntary homicide).  But assigned the death penalty as the result for a large portion of crimes including many simpler crimes.

  48. nighstalker160 says:

    It’s a reference to an old Greek lawmaker "Draco" who prescribed very harsh penalties for very small offenses.

    For example:

    If you went into debt (by any amount)…you were sold into slavery

    If you stole a loaf of bread…death



  49. Overcast says:

    Win or loose, they will have to pay their lawyers.

    I hope ‘EA’: the DRM serves you well, in getting people to buy the game that ‘otherwise would not’ – I suspect that’s a fallacy the RIAA has been whining about for a long time and they, like EA obviously, believe they loose a lot more money than they really do. I really can’t think of a way for a business to loose more money than to go after their customers in court and/or add stupid things to the product to piss them off.

    See – EA, along with the RIAA are in the business of entertaining people, it’s not necessary at all. I never have to buy a game or a music CD, period; ever. Heck, you know, I think the very first EA game I ever played was a ‘cracked’ version – older game, I’m sure. I likely got it from an ‘Elite’ BBS in the form of zipped up floppy disks… I’ve been gaming for a while now, yes 🙂

    Since, I have bought the SIMS and SIMS2 (among others like Battlefield, Need for Speed, probably 15 others too) – in both cases, 90% of the full package of expansions too. I’ve got a lot of EA games. But ever since the hassles I ran into with ‘Bon Voyage’ (SIMS2) and hearing how DRM is ‘king’ at EA; in spite of ANYTHING else, I avoid your games like the plague. So at least in my case, specifically; DRM has lost EA money. No other way to spin it.

    Look – I gotta work for a living all week. I simply do not have time to re-install the full SIMS2 each time I add an expansion pack. The re-install comes from the fact that when installing expansions, it wants the old disks from the original game and/or former expansions again in order for the new expansion to install – AKA cheesy DRM. Then, it complains ‘the game is not up to date’ or some crap like that (it’s been a while) and basically, even on their support forums – the fix is to re-install the whole damn thing.

    Screw that, I bought WoW, got tired of that and I’m playing EQ2 now. I bought Bon Voyage for the SIMS2 and have never played it, at all. In the time I would have spent re-installing the SIMS2 for the 15th time (9+ disks… that’s a pain now), I downloaded something else that won’t give me incessant problems each time I add on content.

    Maybe I outta email them along with the list of EA games I’ve purchased – but naaaa, I don’t like to waste time on stupid shit. In spite of the fact that EA has had some pretty cool games.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for clearing that up. Looks like a case of "bad summary" rather than "bad lawsuit".

    I hope those buggers at EA lose big time. There is absolutely no excuse for secretly installing software that takes over basic operating-system functions, potentially harming the system.

  51. DarkTetsuya says:

    Aren’t there viruses that take less to get rid of? yuck. I hope they bend over EA and get em for every penny they can, fuck that shit. 🙁

    — "Jack and listen are two words that don’t go together…just like Jack and sanity, Jack and truth, Jack and proof, Jack and win…" — sortableturnip | http://www.orangeloungeradio.com/

  52. Krono says:

    Yeah, page three of the complaint, lines 4-10. Didn’t see any other mentions of hard drive wipes, but I started skimming after a while.


  53. nighstalker160 says:

    AHHHH that makes much more sense (and removing it without complete wipe means editing the registry…which often leads to a complete wipe). 

  54. Anonymous says:

    I can’t either, especially if they actually worded the complaint like that.  Spore does not "wipe your harddrive"..


    The most we can realistically hope for, in my opinion, is EA being required to put a SecuROM sticker on the box, with another sticker indicating you can only install the game 3 times.  They obviously don’t want to do that, since those could cause people not to buy the game – which, of course, is the only real solution.  We stop buying, they stop putting DRM on.

  55. DarkSaber says:

    I don’t know, I think the timing of it will prove quite important. It’s not like this is some quick-buck class action law-suit being launched 5 years after the fact. How long has Spore been out now? 3 weeks?

  56. Anto103 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hopefully a suit like this will actually do something against SecuRom but, I can’t really see this thing going far.

  57. Pierre-Olivier says:

    If our version, here in Québec, is the US one (which I’m not sure), they they violate a law about "hidden vices".

    Thanks to the OPC (office de la protection du consommater, litteraly "Consumer Protection Office"), a company MUST disclose everything included in the package on the box. There’d be enough ground for either a refund and/or a lawsuit.

  58. SteveUK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow – someone still reads the articles! I will take a leaf out of your book, sir, and research before I leap 🙂

  59. Anonymous says:

    In the US, there are no warnings on the packaging relating to Securom in any way:  not that it’s there, not that it can cause conflicts, nada.

    If memory serves, certain Sims2 content packs were sold in other countries with a warning about ‘copy protection technology’.  But never in the US.  I don’t believe it’s required by US law, so they don’t.  They probably drape themselves in the DMCA to wriggle out of it, as they first tried to do when TheSims2 EP Bon Voyage came with Securom and caused players innumerable technical problems.

    Didn’t fly with players, so they were sent to find fixes with Sony/Securom instead – not EA.

    Ugh.  No matter what happens, EA has had this coming for over a year.  If this one fails, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another pop up in its place.

  60. Pierre-Olivier says:

    There’s one thing I wonder about this DRM. Was there any kind of warning about SecuROM (or a mention of a copy protection software).


    Because in Québec (where I live) if a company installs this kind of thing without warning the user (on the box, since you’ll have trouble getting a refund with an opened box), there’s enough ground for a refund and (if you wish to push on) a lawsuit.


    Two years ago, I saw a case about a parent buying an MMORPG for his son (didn’t knew what a MMORPG was) and was surprised that the game asked for fees AFTER buying the game itself. The additionnal fees weren’t on the box (hence, to know about the fees, you HAD to open the box), so the parent had enough ground to ask for a refund.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Indeed, seems like the courthouse blurb writer got it wrong.  I’ve never seen complaints that Securom wiped hard drives, only that wiping the drive is sometimes the only option left to get rid of Securom and all its traces.

  62. Krono says:

    From looking at the complaint itself, it doesn’t look like the suit claims that Securom completely wipes their hard drive. Rather it claims that completely wiping the hard drive is the only way to remove Securom.


  63. nighstalker160 says:

    What’s hilarious is that I came across this via StumbleUpon which linked to the CNS document, I didn’t believe it at first (it IS StumbleUpon) I was pretty surprised when I checked it out.

    They could get into trouble for claiming the DRM "completely wipes their hard drive" since it doesn’t do that (in most cases…I guess anything could happen).  But most courts will allow you to amend your complaint, within reason.  Who knows thoguh, maybe it did wipe these particular hard drives (or screwed the computer up so much a complete reinstall of the OS was required).  This is EXACTLY what I saw coming a while ago with this kind of DRM, the loss of data (important data…people keep valuable stuff on their computers now).

    I hope EA is at least forced to go through an expensive litigation process (even if the Plaintiff’s don’t win) because it might force a change to avoid future litigation.

    At this point I’m hoping this survives what’s called a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.  Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) the Plaintiff’s have to state a valid claim.  EA will move for the court to just dismiss this claim out of hand for failing to state a valid claim.  IF the Plaintiff’s can get past that (which is ALWAYS the first thing the defendant’s try) then we have a real case.

    If this case survives a 12(b)(6) it means the court will consider these valid complaints, which opens the floodgates.  Every game EA releases with DRM comparable to SecuROM is going to result in one of these suits.  Which hopefully will at least force EA to make SOME real changes (not just upping the install limit) to avoid having this repeat with every game they release.

    I’m happy they’re going after SecuROM based on the problems it causes with the install instead of just the usage restraints (the install limit) since EA can’t walk in and say "We upped the install limit, problem solved" and the court just agrees an install limit of 5 is good enough…issue moot…case dismissed.

  64. Christian Astrup ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *Hums the Tie Fighter bit from the Star Wars score*



  65. DeepThorn says:

    Can you imagine a ‘lawyer’ like JT explaining something using computer terminology and doing it correctly?  I would really enjoy seeing JT actually try, but he might make a fool of himself like that one politician that said that the internet is a series of tubes.

    This is staying at the bottom of every new post I make until GameSpot reports on Spore’s DRM, EA’s apologie, how gamers have reacted, AND the Class Action Suit against EA over Spore’s DRM.  You can forge your own opinion on if they are in bed with EA since they don’t publish dirty news about them, try to swing news to make EA look pretty, or keep it nutural and fact based instead of doing their job to inform the gamers.


  66. Skyler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, the lawyers need to brush up on their computer terminology, but gratz to them for taking on the bohemoth that is EA. 

  67. chris30 says:

    I keep hearing the term "draconian measure", what does that mean exactly?


    "The world if full of stupid people….watch out."


  68. Anonymous says:

    About time, Securom embodies all the draconian DRM measures companies take and this will hopefully be where we draw the line in the sand and say no

    I didnt find out about securom in bioshock untill after I’d got it and I’m really annoyed, but I’ll be boycotting spore and any other game with it untill its removed (unlikely)


    Treating consumers like pirates only makes them want to be pirates and does nothing to disuade the real ones, You’d think EA would know this but since they make their living shafting consumers obviously they dont care.

  69. Rabidkeebler ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If you read the actual copy of the lawsuit, you will see it isn’t some typical get money suit.  They go after what Securom is, and the fact that EA never disclosed to the general public either through labels or warnings in the EULA what Securom is or what it does.  By posting things like the Spore FAQ on Securom, and the EULA they show that EA tried to pass it off as some type of online connection, instead of separate piece of software.


    BTW, the reports aren’t 100% correct on their reporting of the case.  The main defendant/lawyer is not suing due to actual damages caused by Securom, though that is part of the overall suit, and never mentions that it will wipe a hard drive.  Instead they state that this is one of the few ways to actually completely remove Securom, and quote people who have had Securom damage their computers.

  70. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually from what I can see besides the ‘completely wipes your harddrive’ its all true for securom, or at least some versions of it, maybe not the spore version, but the bioshock one supposedly installed a rootkit, potentially giving control of the PC to the program.

  71. nighstalker160 says:

    I just paged through the complaint briefly (it’s a 36 page complaint.)  I don’t see it mentioning the "complete wipe" of the hard drive, but I could have missed it.

    It seems like a fairly standard complaint, vague, open ended, not really backed up by evidence.  That’s pretty standard, it doesn’t take much to state a valid claim.  You aren’t required to present any evidence (that’s covered in the discovery process which doesn’t start until AFTER the claim is validated).

    What I do find interesting is that they quote some of the Amazon.com reviews that complained about the DRM as evidence (not admissible in court, but that doesn’t matter for a complaint) that this program causes problems.

    I don’t know if you read the actual complaint, if you just read the CNS blurb (which is what Dennis quoted above) it does seem a little flimsy.  But the complaint itself is pretty standard language, nothing particular different about it from most other complaints.

  72. SteveUK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Brush up on their terminology?! How about sticking to just getting the facts right! A half-decent corporate lawyer will tear that crap up in no time. This suit might as well be argued by Jack Thompson for all the merit it has.

    I’m all in favour of no DRM or hassle-free DRM (if there is such a thing) in games and I’m no fan of EA, but this is just a shitty attempt to extort money from a big corporation. Again.

  73. Squigs says:

    Even if they do, this sort of thing is an inconvenience to EA. Digging through lawbooks and case files and finding a technicality is not a trivial task.

  74. Vacavriach says:

    Here’s hoping the lawyers don’t goon something up to let EA off on a technicality.  I pray this works.

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