EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

Summary: Guest editorial by Oliver DayThe backlash over DRM has finally started to gather serious momentum.Everyday consumers started a campaign to give the highly anticipated game Spore one-star ratings on Amazon.

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Guest editorial by Oliver Day

Oliver DayThe backlash over DRM has finally started to gather serious momentum.

Everyday consumers started a campaign to give the highly anticipated game Spore one-star ratings on Amazon. Thousands of Amazon users labeled Spore a poor choice because of the SecuROM DRM system that is forced onto PC users machines that purchase the game. EA has backpedaled a bit and eased the restrictions on the number of installs per machine. They have even made a verbal (but unenforceable) promise to disable the DRM system by patch should they ever end of life the product.

But so far EA refuses to give in to consumer demand that they simply get rid of the DRM system. They hold on to the claim that DRM helps reduce piracy. Yet 30 seconds of searching on a popular torrent site shows not only Spore but a cracked copy that totally removes all DRM from the game.

EA could help end DRM

This is possibly the most insulting bit for consumers. People who are pirating the game actually enjoy more freedom in the sense that their system does not have SecuROM permanently installed onto the hard drive. In the recent class action suit the defendants publicly document how the DRM used in Spore remains installed even after the game has been removed from the users computer. SecuROM also operates at "Ring 0" which is to say the core of the kernel layer which is clever in that it is hard to bypass the program yet dangerous because anything that goes wrong will completely destroy the users session. All of these facts are not made plain to consumers before purchasing the game. Only after they have purchased the game and start installation will they have the chance to read about the DRM system in the EULA (.pdf). Retailers almost never allow returns on software once opened which leaves consumers who don’t agree with the surprise DRM in a very bad position.

So how can EA help end DRM? They can look at what is happening around them and try to understand how miserable their own customers are with the DRM choices they are making. If recent events are any indication they will either start pirating the games or simply stop supporting EA with their purchases. EA can also look at recent history and see the reactions of consumers to retailers who renounce DRM. When online music retailers started renouncing DRM (Amazon and Apple) consumers responded very positively.

Not only that but the entire industry started to follow their lead. It is wonderful when smaller producers like Stardock announce intentions on these matters but it will take someone the size of EA to make it an industry trend.

* Oliver Day is a security researcher at StopBadware.org, a project of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.  He has over ten years experience in web and network security, working for companies including @stake, eEye, and Rapid7. 

Topics: Security, Hardware, Mobility

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  • Pirate = Potential Lost Sale. Myself = Definate Lost Sale.

    I am not buying this game because of it, and I really wanted to as well.

    I don't understand the mentality of EA. If EA consider a pirate as a lost sale why not me? What is worse, is that a pirate may not even buy the game if they couldn't get it for free. Seems to me that EA are now actually doubling their potential lost sales.
    Bozzer
    • Some people

      have purchased the game and downloaded a pirated copy
      because of the lack of DRM. It's really stupid on
      EA's part. They have to pay SecuROM on every game
      sold, they lose sales and increase piracy. And the
      pirated version was out before the retail version. It
      doesn't slow anyone down but people who buy the game.
      Maybe someday they'll realize that. Don't hold your
      breath though.
      LiquidLearner
      • DRM = Lost Sale

        I tried to avoid everything with DRM that limited the use of my purchase. Most of the time, I play with the priate copy and buy one from the store when I think I like the game and will keep playing it. Too much the trouble to buy the game, try it and argue with the shop for the refund which rarely happens. Also it is expensive to troublesome if I have to replace the media before my kids could not handle them properly. I understand that it is my repsonsibility to teach kids the right way to handle disc, but they are kids.
        laman
      • Really stupid on EA's part...

        "They have to pay SecuROM on every game
        sold, they lose sales and increase piracy."

        Nope, EA doesn't have to pay SecuROM on every game sold, we (as consumers) have to pay for SecuROM on every game we PAY FOR (and purchase). We are the ones getting screwed (not EA). EA just passes the cost onto the consumers.

        So we get screwed (not them). So the only way to stop this, is to stop buying EA products. Start demanding "DRM-free" products. Start saying "NO TO DRM" and tell EA that we will no longer purchase any DRM products.

        When EA goes back to DRM-free software, and goes back to "Fair Use" licensing (using license keys) and restricting online usage to one computer per license key, then we can go back to buying EA products again.

        I don't agree with piracy, but I do believe in "Fair Use", but all we can do is begin a boycott, and speak with our wallets. If piracy increases, and purchases decrease, then suddenly EA might get the picture that DRM doesn't work. Screwing consumers doesn't work (and it's NOT good for business). Eliminate the DRM, and we'll begin to purchase your products again.

        The only people that are hurt by DRM are the consumers. NOT THE PIRATES!!! DRM doesn't hurt the pirates. As you can see, the software was cracked before it was even released, and "DRM-free" versions were already floating around the internet way before the product even hit the sales floors.

        So DRM is NOT the answer, and DRM does NOT stop (or even slow down) piracy. Instead the exact opposite is true, and DRM only hurts the consumers (not the pirates). Just by reading these posts... people that are NOT pirates, are even considering resorting to piracy, just to get a "DRM-free" product. That sounds sad, but very true. So it would seem that DRM only makes ordinary people resort to "piracy" just to get a DRM-free product. Sounds insane, but true. EA's "logic" has completely backfired on them.

        Seems comical that you purchased the game, and then downloaded a pirated copy (that was DRM-free). It really sounds comical, but I actually thought about doing the same exact thing. I've thought about it, but the only thing that is stopping me, is that I don't want to give EA my money to support a DRM product, so I feel that the ONLY way to stop this silly nonsense is to take a stand and boycott EA's practices, and begin boycotting DRM products.

        If consumers stop buying DRM goods (and boycott ALL of EA's goods and products), then companies will be forced to choose between "Fair Use" and giving customers what they will pay for, or "No FAIR Use No Money". There are better ways to restrict usage (using license keys, and only allowing one user per license key on the online servers to play the game) and that would be much more effective than DRM. I believe in Fair Use. DRM is complete garbage and doesn't work. As you can see at how quickly DRM is broken and cracked, it just shows that the ONLY people that are hurt by DRM are the consumers (not the pirates).

        Consumers need a full cash refund, and EA needs to pay for this. We need a class-action lawsuit, and need full disclosure of DRM (the name, type and description of the DRM in big huge large letters on the outside of the box). So consumers can make a decision BEFORE purchasing the software (not after), and decide whether or not they want to buy a product (based on the DRM on the outside of the box). At least give consumers the right to choose.

        When consumers begin boycotting clearly labeled DRM products, and begin supporting ONLY DRM-free products, then slowly the software companies will begin to understand that DRM doesn't work.

        When piracy goes up instead of down, and when sales numbers go DOWN instead of up, then suddenly software companies might begin to understand that DRM doesn't work.
        DRM-HATER
    • Likewise I guess.

      Spore looked like an interesting concept for sure. It was one of those games I thought would be remembered as a bit of a classic with anew twist. One of those games that it was inevitable I would get.

      Now its "would have got".

      Have to take a stand at some point.
      Cayble
      • Yeah, but it's such a shame...

        "Have to take a stand at some point."

        Yep, I completely agree. As more and more of consumers begin to take a stand against DRM, and begin to boycott products (and companies) that use DRM, then slowly we can speak with our wallets. Boycott their products, and speak with our wallets. Eventually these companies will either fold, or begin to change their ways and learn better ways to completely eliminate DRM, and go back to license keys, and only allow one user per license key to play online at a time. That's the fairest thing for consumers, plus I'm not paying for stupid DRM, and I'm not getting screwed by "unfair" practices (having to pay for software that I can not make a backup of, or that I can't archive, or that installs root kits, or trojans, or malware, or my privacy with tracking tools). I don't want to be spied on by some software company as part of the "fine print" in their long list of "terms and conditions" to use their software. Instead I want to see nice big huge letters on the outside of the box showing exactly what DRM is being used, and to give me the option (before I purchase the software) to see exactly what I am buying, and whether or not I want to purchase a DRM product.

        I'd rather "opt out" of the DRM, and not buy it, but I certainly want to know BEFORE opening the package, and reading some crazy EULA, and finding out later that I can't return opened software, or get a refund.

        That is criminal, and that is deceptive business practices. We need a DOJ lawsuit, and begin suing the pants off of these large software companies with deceptive business practices lawsuits, and start hitting them with large class action lawsuits, and begin demanding FULL CASH refunds.

        Let EA stick their DRM where the sun doesn't shine.
        DRM-HATER
    • EA's mentality

      They think that a pirated copy is ALWAYS a lost sale.
      They don't understand (or perhaps don't want to believe) that a pirate wouldn't have bought the game anyway.
      Nevertheless, it is true that they lose SOME sales.
      Consoles have the advantage that the anti-piracy can be somewhat enforced due to the hardware control. Sure there are ways to chip some consoles and circumvent the security, but so far the scheme has been enough of a speed bump for most people that it's effective.

      What I don't understand is why EA didn't just implement a scheme like they did in BF2 or BF2142, where you log in to a central server and only one copy of the game associated to that account can be running at any given moment. EASY!
      tikigawd
      • EA's lack of mentality... I really wanted this game!

        I really wanted this game as well...
        To be honest, I really really wanted this game as well. Not only for the PC, but for the Mac as well. Personally, I would have bought two copies. I purchase ALL my software, and have no problem downloading AFFORDABLE music from iTunes (99 cents a download with 17 cents going to the actual artist seems fair). But when I see greedy crooks that overprice their software (yes, I do pay $49-$59 per XBOX 360 game that I purchase), but I don't mind paying for good software. All I'm asking is that my computer isn't infested with DRM trojans, and root kits, and on top of it you want me to PAY for that?

        Heck, if I wanted root kits or trojans, I'd go look for a torrent, but why PAY MONEY to infect myself? Doesn't make any sense at all.

        Personally I won't buy anything with DRM's. Apparently software companies like EA just don't get it. I agree with the other poster, who said just restrict the online users to ONE user per license key. So you could have nice DRM free software, and install it on 2 or 3 of your computers, but only be able to use it on ONE machine at a time (because only ONE computer could connect to the online server per license key) at a time. To me, that makes complete sense. It makes things simple, and keeps the consumers happy!

        I'd be extremely happy with a DRM free copy of Spore (for both the PC and Mac) and I'd gladly buy two copies (one for Windows, and one for Mac). One for the kids (Windows), and one for myself (on my Mac). Getting rid of DRM keeps the consumers happy. Customers can copy the CD, and give a burnt copy to the children to chew on and destroy. The CD can get scratched, and no harm is done. Just pull the master copy off the shelf, burn the kids another copy, and let the kids destroy it again (that's what kids are good at). I buy all my Disney movies, and keep the originals on a shelf. I burn the kids a copy, and if it gets scratched, or broken in half, at least I'm not crying about it. If you had young children, you'd understand. It happens. If I had to pay $49 everytime a game got destroyed, I would be bankrupt by now.

        I buy it ONCE, and I keep it on the shelf. Personally, I think Spore is a game that not only the kids would love, but I would love as well. To be honest, I would buy two copies (one for the children, and one that I could play on my Mac as well). It looks really cool, and I love the Sims, and Railroad Tycoon, and Sid Meier's games. I saw Spore coming out, and I was waiting to see the reviews, and I was just completely shocked at all the 1 star ratings. Seems like EVERYONE is outraged by the DRM. It made me realize that eventually consumers need to take a stand. I would have gladly given EA my money (even twice) to purchase a good game, but when a company gets greedy and resorts to evil DRM, then I'll just walk away from it. I'll stick to scrabble, or solitaire, at least they are both DRM free. ;-)

        If I wanted to pirate the software, I'm sure it could easily be found on a torrent site and be fully cracked and DRM free. So EA's excuse that "DRM prevents or stops piracy" is a complete joke. Nope, DRM doesn't prevent piracy at all (as you can see by the author's article, he even shows that DRM does absolutely NOTHING to stop piracy). Pirates will always pirate. The only thing DRM does is stop legitimate users from buying good legal software. That's all DRM does. DRM only screws the people willing to pay for it. That's all it does. Pirates have proven over and over again, that you can't stop piracy with DRM. DRM doesn't work. Never has, never will. Go back to the "common sense" approach, and offer DRM-free software at an affordable price (that's what consumers want, and that's what consumers will pay for). Make software affordable, so people don't even bother or waste their time with piracy. Who would waste their time pirating a 99 cent song, when you can buy it from iTunes and own it legally? Most people really do want to "do the right thing" but when you screw with consumers, and tie our hands with stupid DRM, and restrict our "fair use" rights, eventually we will begin to take a stand and voice our concerns, and begin to speak with our wallets. If you say "DRM is the answer" then I will tell you with my wallet, that DRM is NOT the answer. Install DRM in your software, and I won't buy it. Plain and simple. Go back to what the previous poster said, about restricting online use to one computer at a time (based on license key). So only one user can be on at a time (based on the license key) and do things that way. It makes good sense, and it also allows parents to burn a copy of the game to keep for "backup purposes" in case a disk gets scratched or destroyed. I love my children, but they are not easy on their toys. I don't mind paying for software, but I want the originals to stay on the shelf, and I will burn a copy for the kids, and if they scratch it, or crack it in half, or step on it, at least I'm not out $50. At least I won't be crying, or stressing over it.

        I really hate to miss out on a game like Spore, because it really did look interesting, and really did look like it could have become a big hit and an all time "classic" (like the Sims) but unfortunately the Sony DRM is what did it for me, I'll stay away from that crap and I hope all the users that did buy the software can file a class action lawsuit against EA, and get a FULL refund. If everyone demands their money back, at least it would show EA that DRM doesn't make sense. At least teach EA a lesson, and teach them that deceptive business practices are NOT acceptable. Show EA that we will NOT be bullied around as consumers. If you have ANY type of DRM in your software product, then it should be CLEARLY LABELED with the type/brand of DRM and it should be labeled on the OUTSIDE of the box (just like a age/maturity warning rating on games to warn parents). That way people can see the DRM, and decide whether or not they want to purchase a software title with that type of DRM or not.

        Personally, I don't like it. I avoid ANY type of intrusive DRM software, and I don't like anything that "phones home" or tracks me, and it's no different than malware or spyware, or any other type of malicious backdoor trojan.

        Software companies seem to think that it's "acceptable practice" to install a root kit, malware or trojan on my computer (Microsoft seemed to think so), so I switched over to Mac.

        I can prove my point with my money (as can most others). If EA wants to ruin a game with strict DRM, then I just simply won't buy the product. Just as the other posters have said, it's a DOUBLE EDGE SWORD for EA. They lose the money from the pirates (who weren't going to spend the money or pay for the software in the first place) and then EA loses the money from the legitimate customers who REALLY do want to spend the money, and really do want to buy the product, but just aren't going to put up with the stupid and foolish DRM crap. So now EA loses out on both sides. DRM only stops legitimate consumers, not the pirates.

        If I buy the software, I own the software, and I believe I own the "fair right" to use that software. I feel I should be able to install that software on any machine that I own, or anywhere I please... and I believe that once I purchase that software it becomes MINE (not EA's). I believe in FAIR USE of the software. Not restricted use, not temporary use, but FAIR USE.

        It's not EA's job to track me, hunt me, or install a root kit on my computer, or invade my privacy (or send usage information about what I do on my own personal and private computer).

        I enjoy my privacy. I'm not going to "opt in" to any DRM nonsense. It does make more sense to get a "DRM free" product off a torrent site, (although I do NOT condone piracy) but it almost seems to make more sense to download a pirated copy that is DRM free, just so you don't have to infect yourself with the DRM root kits, and silly nonsense that software companies have been doing.

        DRM doesn't stop piracy, instead it only stops legitimate customers. If EA doesn't believe me, then offer me a DRM-free product, and I will GLADLY pay EA for TWO license keys (one for windows for my children, and one for Mac for myself). I can assure you that I gladly pay for what I believe in, and what I want, but what I do NOT want is DRM. EA needs to listen loud and clear... I do NOT want DRM. I will speak with my wallet. So I hope you are listening.

        If EA is going to make a stand, and show me that they are going to try and shove DRM down my throat whether I like it or not, then I'll make a stand and show EA that I simply won't buy their products. None of them. If EA wants to punish me as a consumer, then I'll just stop buying EA products all together.

        If need be, then I'll stop buying EA Sports games for the XBOX 360 as well (even though it has nothing to do with this topic or subject) but I can show EA that I simply will NOT tolerate this.

        If EA wants to kick their consumers around, then the consumers can kick back. All it takes is "speak with your wallet". Boycott their goods, and stop buying their products, and let EA feel the pinch.

        Instead of enjoying record sales, and making HUGE profits, instead they can sulk in their stupidity over some stupid hairbrain idea to infest their good software with some lamebrain idea of some root kit garbage DRM.

        There are OTHER WAYS to stop "piracy". As the other user stated previously, don't use DRM. DRM doesn't work. DRM is a waste of money for not only EA, but for the consumer as well. Instead, EA could easily just set their online servers up so that it only accepts ONE connection per license key. That will stop the piracy, and also it will make the consumers happy.

        My children have an XBOX Live membership, and they love being able to go over to grandma's house and play XBOX live, or come home and use their same account at home. No silly restrictions, no silly nonsense. They just use their login, and password (and only 1 XBOX can be online at a time). It prevents piracy, but at the same time it keeps the kids happy, and makes everyone happy.

        As I stated previously, I'd gladly pay for TWO copies of this Spore software, if only EA would remove the DRM. If EA refuses to remove the DRM, then I refuse to buy the software. It's that simple. I speak with my wallet.

        If EA's "logic" is that I would possibly "pirate" the software if they removed the DRM, then I would have to say that their logic if FLAWED, because if I wanted to pirate the software I would just go download it off a torrent site, or any of the other various pirate places, which have the software (DRM free) and often have it before it's even released in stores. So their silly nonsense about how DRM stops piracy is nothing but folklore garbage. DRM doesn't stop anything. DRM only stops legitimate users from paying to purchase a product.

        How can you stop people that aren't willing to pay? You can't. It's like telling law-abiding citizens that they can't own a gun (and only criminals can). Doesn't make any sense at all. It doesn't reduce crime. Instead it's just the opposite. DRM has just the opposite effect. The only people that will play Spore are the pirates that can download a DRM free product, and enjoy it (for free).

        Look at all the posts, even those that do buy the software (and want to legally pay/own the software) but don't want to deal with the DRM so they go and download a DRM free copy from the net.

        Just proves my point. DRM doesn't work. I even thought about downloading it myself (DRM free), but then realized that I'm not going to waste my time (or effort) to condone this silly DRM crap nonsense, and I'll prove my point by just NOT buying the software, and I'll wait till a competing product comes along that doesn't use this silly DRM crap, and I'll gladly speak with my wallet.

        Anyone that comes out with a "DRM free" game that is similar or identical to Spore (or if EA gave up the silly nonsense, and released a "DRM free" version, and switched to something more practical like only allowing one computer at a time to connect to their servers per license key) then I would GLADLY buy two copies of their software product. I speak with my wallet (and also warn all the other mothers to do the same). I'm very vocal when it comes to software or movies. I can recommend the good stuff, but at the same time I will warn everyone I can to stay away from this DRM garbage. If EA was more reasonable, and eliminated the DRM and went to a different model (such as restricting the online use to only one computer online at a time per license key) then I would definitely buy and support their product. As I stated previously, I would buy TWO copies, not just one. One for myself (for Mac) and one for the children (Windows). I'd gladly pay $100 for something I believe in, but I won't spent 99 cents for something that I don't.

        If EA removed the DRM, I would also send them a nice letter, along with a photocopy of my receipt, and thank them for being reasonable, and thank them for creating a wonderful product. Thank them for making a consumer happy. Instead, I will just read all the other complaints, and read all the 1-star reviews on Amazon.com, and I'll wait patiently for some crooked lawyer that is itching to sue someone, and pray that he starts up a nice class-action lawsuit against EA, and hopefully every single person that purchased Spore will be entitled to a FULL REFUND as part of the class-action lawsuit settlement, and I hope EA loses their tail over all this. I'd love to see EA go NEGATIVE, and lose millions and millions of dollars, and watch them end up on their head because of some STUPID decision by greedy senior management to screw their consumers.

        If Microsoft keeps shafting their consumers, then everyone will own a Mac. If EA starts shafting their consumers, then everyone will abandon the EA products and consumers will begin to use their wallet as a "voting mechanism". Those poor people that spent money on a product infested with DRM deserve a full refund. I believe legislation needs to be enacted to PROTECT CONSUMERS, and all software companies should have FULL DISCLOSURE on the outside of the box, with BIG BRIGHT LETTERS showing exactly what DRM the software contains (if any) and let the consumers decide, and let the consumers choose.

        At least we can post messages like this, and warn others, and hopefully avoid the nasty DRM, and prove once and for all that DRM doesn't work, and use our wallets to support the companies that sell software DRM free. Music CD's were always DRM free, and I've purchased hundreds and hundreds of them.

        Suddenly this stupid "DRM craze" is nothing but a "scare tactic" by companies like Sony, to try and convince big software companies that everyone is a pirate, and the only way to stop piracy is to install a root kit on their computer. Nah, not true. You'll never stop piracy. The root kit, and DRM only stops the legitimate consumers from purchasing, that's all it stops. As the other poster said, go to a DRM free software, and just restrict access to the server, so that only ONE computer (per license key) can be online at a time. That's the easiest way to stop piracy, and keep the legitimate customers happy. It's a good balance, and at least the paying customers are receiving a DRM free product, and I can copy the disk, and don't have to worry about the kids destroying it, and at the same time EA doesn't have to worry about everyone pirating their software, because only ONE computer (per license key) could be online playing the game at a time (just like XBOX Live). It works, and it works well. EA should learn something from this, and hopefully wake up and smell the coffee. DRM doesn't work. Don't piss off your customer base, because we're the only ones that are willing to spend money, or pay. Pirates don't pay for software, so just screw your head on straight and realize that. The pirates cracked your silly DRM garbage way before you even had a chance to release the software. So it just goes to prove that DRM doesn't work, and DRM only screws the consumer. That's it, and that's all it does is screw the consumer.

        I hate to see a game like Spore flop, because I really wanted this game, my kids are distraught, but I control the money and I control what gets purchased, and nothing with DRM will end up getting bought. That's my stand. As long as I can make "backup copies" of software that I purchase (for my own personal/family use) then I'm happy. As long as there is no DRM, then I'm happy. I understand software companies want to keep their profits high, but consumers don't want their "fair use" rights taken away or infringed upon. Give me "fair use" and I will give you my money. Restrict my "fair use" and I won't give you a penny. Sound fair?

        The music industry learned a LOT from Apple iTunes. They realized that if you sell a song for 99 cents, that people will gladly PAY for music (that they could pirate or get for free elsewhere) but if you give them an AFFORDABLE and cheap alternative (to own it legally) people will pay for it.

        Make the software affordable, and don't use any DRM (and restrict online usage to one computer per license key) and do things that way. It will keep the consumers happy, and it will be a win-win situation for everyone. Thank-you.
        DRM-HATER
        • Agree... but your post is too long

          Holy crap. I agree with you, especially on the bit where if software companies just lowered their prices they would get more sales, myself included. I often buy games used just so I don't have to pay full retail price. However, your post is so lengthy and repetitive that I stopped reading about halfway through, and I think I absorbed all of the information you were trying to impart. I don't mean to be rude, but you may want to review your posts before sending them to make sure you stay the the point and not repeat your self.. it may garner more discussion on the matter.
          fair_rakel
  • RE: EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

    Thing is that EA does make the choose to act like it does. So it seems they are counting on people being sheep and just allow these "mal"practices to continue.

    As editors already mentioned on Tom's hardware page (a hardware/software reviewing website) EA must have had lots of research done before and about DRM in general. Having this information at hand they still opted to use SecuROM (a product created by Sony who already was a tainted past with certain music cd's installing root kits on costumers computers) in their products.

    Time will tell if corporate America / world enterprises will stop deploying intrusive DRM-systems onto their costumers personal computers with or without the costumers knowledge.
    Stuff_For_Reflection
    • No "fair use"? Then demand a full cash refund...

      As consumers we need to file class action lawsuits, and demand FULL CASH REFUNDS (for all DRM-related products) and demand "fair use" of products we purchase.

      We also need congressman (and elected representatives) to enact proper legislation that will put an end to DRM, and force companies to CLEARLY LABEL their DRM products in big huge letters on the outside of the box, so that consumers can see (in big colored letters) the name, type, and description of the DRM in the product.

      That way consumers can make an "informed decision" about the software that they purchase and know what they are buying (before making a purchase) and before opening the product only to be surprised by some crazy EULA, and find out that somewhere buried in some small tiny "fine print" that they somehow agreed to allow a root kit, or trojan to be installed on their computer (just to use a piece of software that they purchased a license for). That makes no sense at all.

      It needs to end, DRM is completely out of control and consumers need FULL DISCLOSURE. We need to begin filing class action lawsuits against any software company (starting with EA and Spore) that uses DRM and once we win one large class action lawsuit, then we can slowly begin hitting the others, and slowly turn this insanity around, and begin making software companies realize that taking away our "Fair Use" rights is NOT an excuse to claim that it "stops piracy". Nope, DRM doesn't stop piracy at all. It only restricts "fair use" and hurts those consumers that pay for and license the software. DRM doesn't hurt the pirates at all. Instead it only punishes those consumers that purchase the product.

      Hit EA with a class action lawsuit, and demand a full cash refund. Hit EA in the pocketbook, boycott their products, and make an example out of them. At least demonstrate to the world that DRM doesn't work once and for all, so that consumers stop getting kicked around in all this "Oh DRM is for your own good..." crap. No, DRM is NOT for my own good. DRM eliminates my "fair use" and wipes out all the "fair use" rights intended for usage of copyright materials.

      So if DRM that violates my "fair use" rights in ANY way, then software companies, movie companies, and music companies should be sued.
      DRM-HATER
  • RE: EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

    I'm an invisible statistic for Spore's DRM. I won't buy it, and I won't pirate it. I am glad this blog gives me an opportunity to tell EA how I feel.

    I think the answer to this issue is easy: DRM costs money to implement, hurts sales of a product, and does nothing to stop piracy. Taking away the costs of implementing DRM, and increased sales and customer loyalty offset the piracy that is going to happen no matter what DRM is used.

    Removing DRM is just good business sense.
    akaltman@...
    • I was considering buying Spore

      Now I'm not going to because of this. I've heard some good things about the game too. Too bad. Guess I'll spend that money on something else.
      voska1
      • I agree, I wanted to buy Spore as well... two copies, not just one.

        You have no idea how bad I wanted this game as well. As a consumer, I speak with my wallet, and if EA tries to bully us around and shove DRM down our throats then I'll just speak with my wallet.

        I wanted to purchase two copies (one copy for Windows for my children, and one copy for Mac for myself). I'm going to boycott Spore as well, just to prove a point with EA.

        I've never pirated a game before, but maybe this will be my first. If it's the only way I can get a DRM-free copy, is to use a "DRM-free pirated version" well, I don't know. I don't condone piracy, but at the same time I certainly will NOT support DRM.

        I've pondered the thought of purchasing the game, and then only installing a DRM-free pirated copy (that is DRM free) but then I realized that I'm NOT going to spend my money supporting a DRM-infested product, or give EA my money for infesting a product with DRM.

        So now I'm back to where I started, and the end result seems that I'm just going to have to pass on this game, and walk away from it. It's sad, but I will NOT support DRM products. I speak with my wallet.

        I supposed if more people stopped buying DRM products, and more people began downloading pirated "DRM-free" software, than maybe the software companies would get the hint? Maybe suddenly they will do what Microsoft is doing, and "bow down" to the consumer, and begin offering affordable software licenses for $30 instead of $189 or $229. Consumers speak with their wallets, and a product is only worth what the market is willing to pay for it.

        If EA is targeting the broke kids that pirate all their software, and think that DRM is suddenly going to cause them to pay money, then they are wrong. DRM only affects the middle class people (such as myself) that legitimately pay for their software, and when you hit us with DRM, and do NOT allow us to make "backup copies" that our young children can scratch and destroy, then I will speak with my wallet, and boycott your products. There are other ways to stop piracy, and DRM is NOT one of them. DRM doesn't work. DRM is easily cracked, and as you can see this DRM was cracked way before you even were able to release the software to the stores.

        So don't think for a second that DRM works, or that DRM is the answer. Instead, focus on giving the consumers AFFORDABLE products, and DRM-free products. Restrict usage by license key, and only allow one user (per license key) online at a time playing the game. That will stop the piracy, and that will keep the consumers happy, and keep the mothers happy, and make everyone happy. EA makes their money, the kids get to play, and mom is happy that the kids are happy, and mom is happy that she isn't spending $50 every time the kids scratch a disk. Give me "fair use" and I will give you my money. Restrict my "fair use" and you will never see a dime of my money.

        I'm honestly considering taking away all the EA sports games from the kids as well. I know they love them, and I know XBOX 360 is completely different, but after EA did this to me (as a consumer) I really want to show EA that I'm not going to tolerate it.

        Maybe I'll only skip the EA sports games for one year (2009) just to prove my point, and I know the kids will hate me for it, but I need to make a point... and maybe I'll talk to all the other mothers, and ask them to do the same. If everyone boycotts EA for one year, and just hit them in the pocket book, and make them realize that consumers can fight back with their wallets.

        Just stop buying any and ALL EA games for one year, and if everyone joined in, then maybe we can bring about change in EA's philosophy, and if EA doesn't want to get rid of DRM, then maybe we just need to continue to boycott EA until they collapse and fold. After they go bankrupt and out of business, then we can show other software companies that DRM doesn't work, and if they try to pull the same stunt that we can boycott them as well. We'll start with EA, and make an example out of EA, and show companies that DRM doesn't work, and to stop listening to the "Sony marketing team" that tries to pitch stupid folklore about how great their DRM products are, and how secure DRM is, it's nothing but garbage. DRM doesn't work, the pirates cracked it way before it was even in stores. So DRM is not the answer you silly little people.

        If you want to increase your sales, then lower the price, offer consumers affordable software, make it readily available for download, and make the licensing "fair use" so that we can use it on as many computers as we like (with NO restrictions) and just make it so that only ONE user can play at a time online. That's all I ask. It's fair for you, and it's fair for me (as a mother with children) and it's a win-win situation for both of us.

        Make me happy, and I will give you my money. Make me upset, and I will make sure that you do NOT have my money, and I will make sure that no one I know gives you their money as well. One angry customer is a million times worse than a thousand happy customers. I will have nothing but bad things to say about EA, and all EA products until EA changes their ways, and gets rid of the DRM and goes back to something FAIR. I believe in paying for my software, but at the same time I expect FAIR USE of the product.

        Restrict (or eliminate) my "fair use" and I can assure you that I will eliminate my money from your bank account. I won't spend a penny, and I will hit you in the pocketbook, and if enough people join in on a boycott (and maybe even a lawyer comes forward to help with a class-action lawsuit, demanding that those that paid for the software get a FULL REFUND) then maybe we can slowly turn EA on their heads, and bring about change in the software industry. All we can do is speak with our wallets.

        For those that already paid, all they can do is demand their money back, or join in on a class-action lawsuit against EA. Ask your legislatures to enact legislation that will FORCE movie companies, music companies, and software companies to CLEARLY LABEL in big huge letters the type of DRM used (just like a age/violence warning) clearly showing if ANY DRM is in the product. That way consumers have a choice, and they can choose NOT to purchase a product that has DRM in it, and at least consumers won't be "surprised" after they open the software and find out there is DRM, and are told that they can't return the product because it has already been opened (and paid for). Seems like unfair business practices, and deceptive business practices to me. I disagree with the EULA, and disagree with the terms of the software license, but I'm not entitled to a full refund? Sounds like fraud.

        Give everyone their money back, and you can keep your DRM. We don't want it. Just give everyone that joins the class action lawsuit a FULL REFUND (cash money) and if you end up on your head, or end up negative, then so be it. At least it will teach the developers and software companies a lesson. That DRM doesn't work. (The pirates already seem to know and understand this). It's only the PAYING consumers that get screwed by DRM. DRM doesn't work, it never has, and never will. So give it up, and give the consumers what we want. Affordable non-DRM software, and please just use license keys to restrict online usage. It's fair, it's customer friendly, and it stops piracy (by restricting online usage).
        DRM-HATER
    • Deceptive Business Practice....

      "Removing DRM is just good business sense."

      I completely agree as well.



      "I'm an invisible statistic for Spore's DRM. I won't buy it, and I won't pirate it. I am glad this blog gives me an opportunity to tell EA how I feel."

      I completely agree with you, and I'm in the same exact boat. I certainly won't buy it, and I do not condone piracy, but if I was ever tempted to download a pirated program it surely would be this one.

      I'm not saying that I would do it, or that I would condone it, and I'm certainly against piracy, but if my only option to get a DRM-free product, was to download a pirated version... then it seems like that is the only viable option for some.

      As for myself, I will just become another "statistic" and I'll just skip the purchase, and wait for a comparable product that doesn't have any DRM on it, and isn't infested with rootkit trojan DRM nonsense/malware/spyware.

      I'm not interested in paying money to infect my computer with a root kit/malware/spyware. Nor will I agree to such an absurd thing as part of ANY EULA. What happened to consumer advocacy groups, and protecting consumers? Might be time to call the Attorney General, and beg them to take a stand against all this silly nonsense and ask our elected representatives to ban DRM all together, and begin fining companies that restrict "fair use" and force these large software companies to give FULL REFUNDS to consumers, and begin to properly label the outside of the boxes with big large letters describing the name, type, and detailed description of the DRM in the product. At least allow consumers to decide (prior to paying for a product, and prior to opening a product, and prior to reading the EULA, and deciding that they do not agree with the EULA, but stores refuse to give a cash refund for any opened software. So two things need to happen. If a product has ANY DRM on it, consumers should be allowed to return the software to ANY STORE for a full cash refund of the product (no questions asked - full refund). Also secondly all software should be properly marked on the outside with big huge letters, and a very detailed description of the DRM used in the software. At least give consumers a choice to make an informed decision (and the opportunity to boycott any DRM software) without having to purchase it first, and then discover later that DRM is installed, and now they are unable to return the software because the box was opened. It seems very unfair, and a very deceptive business practice.
      DRM-HATER
  • RE: EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

    The SecuROM was designed to prevent piracy of the game, but I knew pirates would have a cracked version of the game out only days after the release. So all SecuROM does is penalize those who purchased Spore (myself) with a third party applet that bores itself into the "Ring 0" of the computer.
    I wonder how Will Wright feels about this?
    mschwartz123
  • RE: EA Spore backlash could help end DRM

    I AM A PIRATE. AND IN FULL SUPPORT OF THE FOREMENTIONED PIRATING WEB-PAGE. THE ONLY THING IM AGAINST IS THE SALE OF PIRATED SOFTWARE. THIS DRM SYSTEM IS THE REASON I STARTED PIRATING SOFTWARE, SO IN ESSENCE IT IS EA'S SECURITY MEASURES THAT ARE CAUSING SO MUCH PIRACY ONLINE. YOU SLEEP IN THE BED YOU MADE EA. I MEANWHILE AM GOING TO HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.
    XXXXXXXXXXX>
    • And EA response to you pirating there software was

      "RE: EA Spore backlash could help end DRM
      I AM A PIRATE. AND IN FULL SUPPORT OF THE FOREMENTIONED PIRATING WEB-PAGE. THE ONLY THING IM AGAINST IS THE SALE OF PIRATED SOFTWARE. THIS DRM SYSTEM IS THE REASON I STARTED PIRATING SOFTWARE, SO IN ESSENCE IT IS EA'S SECURITY MEASURES THAT ARE CAUSING SO MUCH PIRACY ONLINE. YOU SLEEP IN THE BED YOU MADE EA. I MEANWHILE AM GOING TO HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO. "


      Here is the catch 22 for EA... People wont buy a game beause of DRM ( Pathic Excuse ) but they will go priate it... and then bitch about EA putting on copy protection...

      I have have seen excuses such as "I am a gamer.... but i wont pay for games...." well how in hell is EA supposed to pay for the games ... development costs... if no one buys the games....

      Yes alot of the games from EA have been crap latety. but name 1 OPEN SOURCE game as complex as Grand theft auto...
      dave@...
      • Pirates get what they deserve most times

        There are always freeloaders. That's a given and they generally bypass DRM with ease as well. Then there are the paying customers who now see a game that is crippled with DRM. So they decided not to buy but they want the game. There is a DRM free version on the net they could use so they use it. Not something I'd do though. Personally I'd post a game download like that embedded with a reverse proxy aware Trojan. Then wait for them to contact me after installing the game. I wouldn't do anything super illegal except use their PC to click links on my website so I get paid more. Get a couple thousand suckers and the money starts rolling in. Yup, pirated software right here. Just email me. LOL IDIOTS!
        voska1
        • 2 wrongs Don't make a right.

          [b]@ voska1[/b]

          So how do you justify your attitude and call "others" idiots? Seems the only blooming idiot here is you! Nothing worse than a bottom feeder... aka leaching from leaches rather than putting your own work forward. Your simply a self admitting wanna-be [i]thief[/i]! I wouldn't even honor you with the [i]title[/i] Pirate!

          At least XXXXXXXXXXX> gave justification (right or wrong) for his/her reasoning relative to the blogs content, all-be-it blatant. Your justification is nothing more than hatred and personal gain. XXXXXXXXXXX>'s "stated motive" was not for profit such as yours is. And if you were smart enough to be a big player in this game and losing money at it in the first place, you wouldn't have been stupid enough to leave yourself wide open spewing your own self centered ignorance all over the board!

          Theft is [i]never[/i] a good thing no matter how you look at it. But people like you and your attitude who would poison the water simply because you didn't like a person or what they had to say are the kind of people that scare me most. In that regard your no better, for that matter even worse, than the sneaky bastards that slip the DRM onto machines in the [i]first[/i] place. :/

          Take a good look in the mirror the next time you feel like calling someone an IDIOT! Right or wrong, XXXXXXXXXXX>'s comment/response was [i]within[/i] the scope of this article like it or not.

          Yours is simply an opportunity to show your selfishness and ignorance about a problem and how we might resolve it, rather than take the opportunity to establish a dialog with someone who at least had the gall to stand up and speak up for what they believe. And for that you stereotype them and put them down with no regard. Who's really the idiot here?

          I'm not taking sides, I'd just like to know what gives you the right to attempt playing God with an attitude? Pirating software has increased since the advent of DRM and DRM-rootkit installations (Sony to name one). SO,... who's really at fault here for your shortsighted narrow-minded attitude?

          Your answer to the solution is terrorism for personal gain, and I have absolutely no use or respect for IDIOTS like you.


          BigThunder1
          BigThunder1