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Lawsuits, banning threats, denials surround Spore DRM fiasco

According to documents obtained by the Courthouse News Service, Electronic Arts is facing a class action lawsuit due to the implementation of SecuROM DRM software in the recently released evolution game Spore. The lawsuit was filed Monday with the Northern California District Court and the plaintiff is Melissa Thomas and "all others similarly situated". Thomas is represented by Alan Himmelfarb and Scott A. Kamber of Vernon, California, and New York.

The suit claims, “Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if they uninstall Spore”.  The lawsuit accuses Electronic Arts of deliberately hiding the fact that Spore uses SecuROM and claims the DRM software prevents the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations. The suit also claims that SecuROM takes over a portion of a PC's processing resources "to transmit information back to EA." The lawsuit is seeking an award for all plaintiffs the $49.99 purchase price plus damages. The details of the lawsuit are available in PDF format.

In addition to the lawsuit, there is more bad press for EA as Shacknews is reporting a poster on The Official Spore Forum was threatened with banning after asking about the DRM situation on the board. They were asked to take any further DRM SecuROM conversations to another forum and any further attempts to discuss the topic may result in a banning so severe the poster may be forced to buy a new copy to play Spore. The forum thread in question can be accessed here. In order to post on the forum, consumers must sign in with the Spore account tied to their game.

The comments appear to be the result of a frustrated forum moderator rather than official Electronic Arts policy as other forum moderators quickly stepped in claiming the inflammatory comments were the result of a miscommunication. They also stated on another forum thread "It is okay to discuss issues on this forum as long as it's done in a respectful manner and there are no personal attacks. This includes the DRM and other controversial issues.

In a message sent to Kotaku, Electronic Arts responded to the incident stating "These comments are absolutely not true or in-line with EA’s moderation policy. They were made by an over-zealous community volunteer who does not work for EA."

Spore has received large amounts of criticism for the way its DRM was implemented. The backlash has caused Electronic Arts to backtrack on some of their decisions with regards to the DRM implemented in Spore. The class action lawsuit and the forum incident are more additions to the public relations disaster that the Spore DRM fiasco has become.

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RE: EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 12:08:12 PM , Rating: 1
How did the ads affect your decision not to buy the game? I play Burnout Paradise on the Xbox and I see new ads all the time. They are dynamic and sent over the net. It does not bother me. They have been saying that they were going to do this years ago. I don't know why this is a surprise to you.

Oh and to clarify, yes I bought the game, and no I was not made aware that they were going to have real ads running in the game, no where was it mentioned. I read the box, I read the manual, and they did not say anything about real time ads in game.

RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 1
They don't need to put it on the box, manuals, etc for you. Why? Cause when you connect into a game, you will automatically download map details and other player details from the server. Throughout the time you are playing, updates will be going back and forth between you and the server. Just so happens the ads are part of the map details.

No one is going to bother putting down everything the game is going to do when you connect up to their servers. Are you mad that they didn't tell you that map details and other player details would be automatically downloaded?

RE: EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 1:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
No one is going to bother putting down everything the game is going to do when you connect up to their servers. Are you mad that they didn't tell you that map details and other player details would be automatically downloaded?

Actually, I'm not playing on EA's open server, I'm playing on my Clan's server, which they paid for and are renting.

Are you working for EA or something?

RE: EA other tactics
By Parhel on 9/25/2008 6:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't going to go away. And despite the fact that the TV networks pay the bills through advertising, the producers of television shows (and even those movies on Showtime) also make money through product placement. It doesn't really bother me, as long as it isn't blatant to the point of interfering with the entertainment.

RE: EA other tactics
By Digimonkey on 9/25/2008 8:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you. As long as it's not blatant or out of place it can actually add to the atmosphere. For instance it would be absurd to be driving across the country in a race without seeing a McDonalds sign somewhere along the way.

However a lot of people use a game to escape every day life, so bringing advertisements to a game without notice could disturb that ambiance offered by the game of escaping every day life. Especially if you worked at Mickey D's and hate it with every bone of your body.

So there should be an option. You should be able to get the game for $10-20 cheaper if you accept the advertisements being in the game. If you don't want them than pay full price for the game. My 2 cents.

RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
More than likely some data is still traversing between you and EA. Also between EA servers and the other game servers. Had to find that other server somehow and it was probably through EA's servers.

No I don't work for EA. Just stating my opinion as you are stating yours.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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