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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 used underhanded tactics
By leexgx on 9/26/2008 12:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
SecuRom is very anoying when certan options are turnd on limited installs , not been able to start the game if disk loading tools are running or think is running on the pc, running process explorer (you have to reboot the pc on that one)

c&c3 was ok as it was only used when you run the game and the nocd DAT file does not even brake online game play (been the same for all c&c games thay used the same protection from red alert onwards just updated it an little) its like the guys who make the game understand not to mess with custmers (i own all of the c&c games or did need to find all my old ones agane or buy them)

did not bother even downloading bioshock (drm free one)
if i got the legit one i likey not even work on my pcs with the disk tools running on my pc

World in Conflict is only needed for single player i think to play it, never needed cd in drive for it on muti player

all the above needs an valid key that you have payed for

still useing the new SecuRom with alot of its options turned on or any DRM (online activation) type of game is poor as once that service stops (game very old) you not be able to install the game that you own

when SecuRom is been used for cd protection only norm not an problem as long as disk loading tools detection option is not used

RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
I bought 2 copies of Bioshock. One over Steam. Since I have a German IP, I got a stupid censored copy of the game, so I bought myself the US version. I have to turn off the virtual drives on Alcohol 120%/Daemon Tools, but only takes a sec. After that, I'm good to go.

C&C Tiberium Wars/Kane's Wrath don't seem to care that Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools is installed or have virtual drives.

World in Conflict also didn't seem to care too much about what was going on, on my computer.

Yes, I did buy the games retail and haven't made any cracks/etc to SecuRom. As for the service's stopping or getting old, exactly what is going to disallow you from installing it? Any company that has gone defunct with such games ends up pushing out a patch or other workarounds. Well, only one Steam like distro company I've seen has gone that way.

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