Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human Revolution Theft

July 7, 2011 -

Yesterday we reported that Square Enix had filed a lawsuit against unnamed Italian citizens who (they allege) stole a preview build of Deus Ex: Human Revolution (see this story). The latest wrinkle in the story is that the company wants Valve Software to help them because the stolen build was a copy that was hosted on Valve's Steam service.

For its part, Valve says that it has plenty of information on those individuals responsible for stealing and leaking the file onto the internet, but it is unable to give that information to Square Enix without them presenting Valve with a court ordered subpoena.

It may seem like an odd position for Valve to take with a publishing partner, but the company is simply protecting itself and following procedure.

We'll let you know how this situation plays out.

Source: Kotaku


Comments

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

This is a lot of praise and credit for a stance on user privacy that is par for course for a lot of tech companies.

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

As it should be, in a world where privacy is considering decreasingly private. The way this story has been reported in many news outlets seems like shock that Valve hasn't just instantly given up the information.

This should be a non-story. If privacy was handled well, it would be a non-story. But because we're making of deal of it, it is important to give credit to a company who is staying level headed on the matter.

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

Yes, we do live in a world where companies are increasingly willing to violate our privacy to make money--have you used Google recently? Figure out how they make almost all of their money?--but users still expect their details to be kept private. People either provide false or as little as possible with the expectation that their information will be sold to an advertiser or they place their trust in a company to keep it secure. If nothing else, the whole thing with the PSN and Lulzsec should teach us that companies need to keep our information secure and private. For a company to give us the privacy we expect is as praiseworthy as you showing up on time to work or going to all your classes.

Valve is doing what they should be. Good, fine, I agree with you, this should be a non-story. Should they do something more in this situation, then that would be praiseworthy.

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

It turns my stomach a little to say it, but you are setting your bar too high. We are still getting companies used to the idea that they have to release information carefully, let alone not without cause. Do you remember Yahoo releasing people's "anonymized" searches? That was done for the intent of doing GOOD, and on the surface it can be difficult to understand why it was such a colossal mess.

In Canada right now, we're battling a proposal from our government to spy on all of our web surfing and 'net traffic. It hasn't yet entered the public consciousness en mass that privacy is private.

Google is a terrible example for your case, because they are very clear and very forward about what they share, and it's certainly not your name, address and banking information, which is effectively what Square Enix wants from Valve. Whether or not Google's data harvest is ethical is an interesting question, but one that Google is actually trying to answer.

This is all without the pretense of legal consequences. The subtext of this demand on Valve is: "You are responsible for this theft, and if you do not help us, we will sue you." The average person doesn't understand that this is unreasonable -- that is why this is in the news. So forgive me if I disagree that Valve SHOULD be praised for doing as little as standing behind their privacy statement, despite the potential for bad press for not doing the 'obviously' right thing.

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

Mention of Google is primarily to point out that they make most of their money on search ads, a combination of selling user behavior (which, as you say, is not identifiable, though I would argue simply not immediately, should you start Googling your own name, I hope you don't expect to believe they absolutely will not know who you are) and selling space for companies to put their name with relation to a specific search term(s). Also, "Don't be evil" isn't necessarily "don't do evil," and if Silicon Valley Watcher is to be believed, they've preemptively dropped that motto so they don't break it.

Returning to the topic, this whole process seems to me as what we should expect, even if the public consciousness isn't quite on board. Look at patent cases--what a mess--we've got Apple and Samsung slinging patent lawsuits and countersuits back and forth across different countries and continents. In the context of that, a suit is just a big way of saying "we're serious, pay up" with countersuits sort of like a big "fine, but you're paying for these."

From what I've observed recently, patent cases are more often settled out of court and some money will go both ways. I expect this'll turn out the same way. Square Enix will get their court order, Valve will cough up the required information and only the required information, then Square Enix will shift their focus with the new information and everyone else will be on their way again.

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

Glad to hear they are following their privacy policy:

"Valve will not share personally identifiable information with any third party unless the user agrees to such disclosure in advance." and "Valve may release personally identifiable information to comply with court orders or laws that require us to disclose such information."

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

This isn't a suprising or unreasonable position for Valve to take; with all the user information that they handle through Steam, it'd be an unthinkable precident for them to offer up information to another private entity without legal writ. I certainly don't think Square Enix is unreasonable to ask for the aid, but they too should understand Valve's position. 

Re: Square Enix Presses Valve for Info on Deus Ex: Human ...

I can understand Valves position to be honest, whether they want to give out the information or not they realise how uncomfortable a precedent they would be setting by just handing it over without any kind of official request to do so, it would probably have a negative impact on public perception.

 
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