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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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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