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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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I'm disappointed in you guys here
By cubby1223 on 9/25/2008 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Is the Sony bashing over with by now, or what? No one has mentioned yet that SecuROM is made by Sony? Or is EA just the hipper company to bash? :)

By Dribble on 9/25/2008 1:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Still lots of Sony DRM bashing (quite rightly) going on. Check out the article about them only allowing you to download movies you bought on the PS3 network once.

By MRsnufalufagus on 9/25/2008 1:23:11 PM , Rating: 3
you would think that EA would have paid attention to the fact that they were adopting methods from and actually paying money for the technology to create the exact same PR disaster that Sony had with the rootkit fiasco. At least EA is acknowledging the problem more and not saying things as contemptuous to the customers as "most people don't even know what a rootkit is."

The dumb thing is that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with trying to protect your intellectual property. You just have to tell people if it is going to get so entwined with your OS. DRM is like herpes. you should tell people when you stick it in them. and unlike the latter, you can make it possible to clean it out. you must do so.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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