U.S. Govt Okays Jailbreaking and Breaking Game DRM for Investigative Purposes

July 26, 2010 -

The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office looks into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) every three years in order to ensure that its harms are “mitigated.” The latest such inquiry has led to the establishment of legal protections for those who choose to jailbreak their cell phones, as well as for those who break protections on videogames in order to “investigate or correct security flaws.”

An AP story stated that the triennial investigation offers exemptions to the DMCA in order to “ensure that existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.”

Other exemptions handed down included:

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Steam Users See SecuROM Removed from Bad Company 2

March 22, 2010 -

EA's popular squad-based shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2 recently received a patch to remove the much-maligned SecuROM DRM.

Sounds great right? Well, hold off on the celebration, because there's a bit of a caveat. The patch, which comes with a number of bug fixes and interface changes, will only remove SecuROM for Steam users. Retail owners of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are still out of luck, at least for the time being.  Steam users will find themselves using Valve's internal DRM, which is a significant improvement.

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BioShock 2 to Feature SecuROM DRM

January 22, 2010 -

2K Games announced this week that BioShock 2 will be available for pre-order on Steam, and that the game would be protected by SecuROM DRM software, much to the dismay of gamers who had negative SecuROM experiences with the first BioShock (which launched with an activation limit). 

In response to the uproar, 2K Community Manager Elizabeth Tobey responded on the 2K Forums with the following clarification:

BioShock 2 is using a standard Games for Windows Live activation system, much like other games you have played in the past. That doesn't mean you always have to be online to play or save the game - you can create an offline profile for the Single Player portion of the game (you just won't earn achievements and you can't play Multiplayer, of course.)

We are using SecuROM only as a disc check method for the retail copy of BioShock 2. That is it's only use.

Tobey later confirmed that SecuROM will only be used as a disc check but that activation will be done through Games for Windows Live—a revelation that may have PC gamers groaning given GFWL's less than stellar reputation.  Furthermore, GFWL will place restrictions on your ability to save without creating a profile, and will require online activation even for single-player mode.

While the BioShock 2 DRM scheme appears to be less restrictive than the DRM included with the launch version of the original BioShock, players will still have to contend with Games for Windows Live which has had a checkered history in games like Dawn of War 2, Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

In September 2008, EA was slapped with a class-action lawsuit over their use of SecuROM in Spore, but such a lawsuit is unlikely for 2K Games given the limited role they claim that SecuROM will have.


Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.

42 comments

Browser Brawler Lets Players Fight Zombies and SecuROM

June 8, 2009 -

If you've finished watching every E3 game trailer imaginable, check out Brain Chef. The browser-based game lets players fight with the likes of the RIAA, the Disney Corporation, and even the much-despised SecuROM DRM-ware.

Progress far enough and you can fight other players online...

Via: boingboing

4 comments

PC Version of GTA IV to be Saddled with SecuROM

November 29, 2008 -

Say it ain't so, Houser Bros.

IGN reports that the upcoming PC flavor of Grand Theft Auto IV will install the dreaded SecuROM 7 copy protection on gamers' computers.

On an up note, however, the number of times that the game can be installed will not be subject to a limit. GamePolitics readers will recall that EA's much-awaited Spore came with a three-install limit. At least, it did until a gamer revolt prompted EA to relax the resrtiction.

Regarding GTA IV's SecuROM, an unnamed Rockstar spokesperson told IGN:

Having copy protection allows us to protect the integrity or our titles and future investments, but at the same time we have worked very hard to ensure that our solutions do not persecute the legitimate players of our games. Implemented correctly, SecuROM is the most effective form of disc based copy protection and allows us to manage authenticity on a global level for Grand Theft Auto IV...

 

GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive... Product Activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game. GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version... and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner... All versions of the game will use SecuROM for Product Activation. Downloadable versions of the game will have additional code if the vendor requires it, such as Valve's Steam program.

Rockstar also warned that pirated versions would not function properly:

Aside from the fact that warez are a great place to pick up a Trojan or key logger, using a cracked copy of GTA IV PC will result in varying changes to the game experience. These can range from comical to game-progress-halting changes.

60 comments

Bethesda: Fallout 3 DRM Not as Intrusive as Spore

October 31, 2008 -

There has been some talk around the 'Net this week that the PC version of Fallout 3 is sporting SecuROM, the same intrusive copy protection scheme that caused so much controversy for Spore last month.

But a post on publisher Bethesda's blog claims that Fallout 3 only uses SecuROM to verify the disc:

For Fallout 3’s copy protection on PC, we use the same security model as we did for Oblivion - a simple disc check. We only use SecuRom’s disc check functionality for copy protection. We do NOT limit the number of installs. We do NOT use online authentication or any other SecuROM functionality except for a disc check when you install the game and when you launch the game. We do not install any other programs and we don’t have anything that runs in the background while you’re playing the game.

GP: Bethesda is clearly attempting to avert a consumer rebellion like the one waged against Spore. You know, the one about which EA 's CEO remarked that half of the complainers were pirates and the other half were too dumb to know any better.

Via: bit-tech.net

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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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