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Copy Protection Firms Encourage Piracy? 90

Posted by Zonk
from the quite-possible dept.
Ars Technica has a reflection on the revelation that StarForce had linked to pirated versions of Galactic Civilizations II. From the piece: "It's not hard to see why the publishers use the stuff; after all, no one wants to spend a couple of years on a project only to see their efforts rewarded by flat sales and a robust pirate market. Still, in the quest for better protection, these copy protection schemes have grown in both sophistication and invasiveness. Some schemes now install their own hidden device drivers that monitor your computer's optical drive access, trying to prevent copying and other unapproved uses. (If this sounds familiar, it should. Game copy protection, after all, is just another form of DRM.)"
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Copy Protection Firms Encourage Piracy?

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  • Not surprising... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by babbling (952366) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:48PM (#14928443)
    They sell a product that solves (or at least claims to solve) a "problem".

    They have an interest in making that problem as large and as wide-spread as possible.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "They sell a product that solves (or at least claims to solve) a "problem"."

      OSS

      "They have an interest in making that problem as large and as wide-spread as possible."

      Proprietary Software.
      • Proprietary software doesn't always present immediate and obvious problems.

        I'd say that proprietary software is more of a "limitation" than a "problem", and that there is a difference between the two. Limitations are not a problem as long as you never want to do the things that the limitations prevent you from doing. When you do become limited in a way that affects you, it evolves into a "problem".
      • If there was no piracy, anti-piracy measures would serve no purpose.

        If there were no computer viruses, anti-virus software would serve no purpose.

        If there was no proprietary software, OSS would serve no purpose?

        That's just silly.

    • So that's why Microsoft is now making Anti-Virus...

      *ducks*
      • by babbling (952366) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:25PM (#14928725)
        Yeah, I did consider pointing out Microsoft's major conflict of interest there, but figured most people have probably heard enough about it, anyway.

        It's great for them that they can sell their users a problem for a few hundred dollars and then charge a yearly subscription fee for a "treatment" (note: not "fix") for the problem. Sucks to be one of their customers, though.

        One interesting development that I think will come out of Vista/Trusted-Computing/Windows-OneCare is the fact that Microsoft will probably be able to squash piracy, now. Trusted Computing in Vista will probably mean that it will be very difficult to get Windows updates without having a legitimate copy. Assuming it's a given that Vista will eventually require security updates (safe bet) people won't be able to do much other than purchase Windows. OneCare will probably end up checking whether the copy of Vista is legit, too, since virus scanners updating themselves every week or so is a great way for Windows to constantly "phone home".

        The end result might be illegitimate copies of Vista being impossible to update, which effectively means that no one will want an illegitimate version of Vista. I think this will end up being a big mistake for MS, though. Most home users do not want to pay a few hundred dollars for Vista PLUS a yearly subscription fee. If MS didn't think people would need the OneCare subscription for Vista, they wouldn't be selling it.

        The one way that Vista could weasel its way onto everyones' computers would be by getting it pre-installed on all new computers. Companies like Dell only offering Windows seems like a very important part of MS maintaining their strangle-hold on the home OS market.
        • Re:Not surprising... (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Not to be pedantic or anything, but Dell offers Linux boxes. You just have to dig REALLY hard to find them.
          • And they don't come with Linux installed (FreeDOS only), plus they cost more than the equivalent Windows model.

            Those models only exist so they can say they offer them. They're not intended to sell a single unit.
            • If the selling price is higher than that of the equivilent windows box, but without the OS Tax, you'd think that they would want to sell _more_ of them as the margins should be higher.
              -nB
              • You'd think, but having another OS option reduces efficiency. In an environment where they can rapidly throw together a PC assembly-line style, seperating off a few machines for low volume changes takes time and labor, which in turn means money.

                Obviously the cost isn't as much as the insane difference from the Windows model, but I'm sure it's enough that Dell wants to discourage people from buying them, thus the artificially increased price.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:55PM (#14928496)
    While this tactic might be unethical, they are certainly behaving legally- it's allowed for me to tell people where they can download software. Now all the makers of Galactic Civilizations need to do is link to where people can illegally download Starforce-protected games with the protection removed. Turnabout is, after all, fair play.
    • "Now all the makers of Galactic Civilizations need to do is link to where people can illegally download Starforce-protected games with the protection removed."

      That's when you realise the brilliance of starforce's move: their stuff is also on the site they linked.

    • I agree, especially since I don't belive in the starforce system. The best check you can have is requiring the player to have an online account linked to a serial number. You sign in, you play and no cd is required, and you can use as many computers as you would like to play from. Heck I play my games on several different computers depending on what I have going on, ie rendering/compiling tasks, on the road ... and toating a cd around is painfull. In addition physical media is on its way out to distribut
      • by Mycroft_VIII (572950) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:59PM (#14929389) Journal
        The problem is only changed a bit when you goto such schemes.
            Imagine you need to re-install your game a few years after release (hd upgrade, a virus imploded windows, you ran McAfee anit-virus, etc.). IF the company still exists, and is still supporting 'activation' and your not installing on a machine you don't want on the net, you are o.k.
            A lot of IF's there, I don't want to be beholden to some companies good will and financial stability to use software I've already paid for.
            And since these schemes DONT prevent copies being made I don't understand how these companies keep justifying the expense to the share holders, except to assume the shareholders are largely ignorant and/or apathetic.

        Mycroft
    • by NetDanzr (619387) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:57PM (#14928998)
      it's allowed for me to tell people where they can download software.

      Not exactly. As the MPAA v. 2600 case showed, linking to illegal material can get you in trouble. The only reason why StarForce is able to do so without a legal challenge is because they are based in Russia, where it may be legal. Stardock, based in the US, cannot do the same thing in return.

      • But they DO opperate in the US as well.
        The only reason they can get away with this is that they're on the same side as the big anti-consumer-rights organisations. Those organisations are practically the only ones in the "scene" who start lawsuits.
  • That'd be like letting a consortium of automobile and oil companies buy all the public transit companies so they can dismantle them.

    Next thing you'll be telling me that the President is Schicklegruber.
  • GalCiv2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:03PM (#14928559) Homepage
    GalCiv2 does have DRM of a type; you have to install StarDock in order to unpack the game data files. Think of it as almost like Steam.

    You also need an official CD key in order to download patches and other additional content.

    GC2 allows (and encourages) you to install a copy of the game on as many computers as possible. I even got instructions in the official IRC channel (irc.stardock.com #galciv) to make it easier to move the files between PCs.

    The only other commerical game I can think of that has no real DRM is Falcon: Allied Force. The only time you need the CD is when you install a patch. There is no CD key and the game is huge online. If you ever wanted to learn more than the common person wants to know about the F-16 Fighting Falcon, grab Allied Force and a joystick.
    • you have to install StarDock in order to unpack the game data files.

      I might be talking out of my ass here (I bought it over the internet) but I believe if you buy GalCiv2 boxed you don't need to install Stardock at the same time. You do still need to both install stardock and enter your CD key to get patches though, as well as package the game up to send to another computer, and unpack it again.

      • I can confirm that you don't need to install stardock. I think that you need a stardock _account_ to get patches but you don't have to actually install the application. You can download the patches manually. The copyprotection is based on the fact that there is a constant flow of updates. If you want to update your game easily then you have to have a bought copy.
        • Exactly. They way I see it, it's the "carrot, not whip" method. And it sure works for me :-)

          I bought Galciv: Gold Edition and Galciv2 a few days ago and I absolutely love both games. I didn't even know about them until this whole Starforce affair, but now they have my business and my attention, and if they continue to put out such great games, I am definitely a loyal customer.
      • I should have elaborated. In the edition you download from GalCiv2.com, you *must* install StarDock in order to download and play the game.

        What's interesting about the d/l edition: It actually costs more to d/l the game vice purchacing it in the store. The publisher didn't want to piss off retailers, so they price the game at MSRP both on the boxes and on the website. However, retailers are allowed to price below MSRP while the website cannot. The game costs $44 to download and I saw it at WalMart for
        • i downloaded it because i am lazy and i don't feel like dragging around looking for a store that
          A)carries it
          B)isn't sold out
        • I bought the download because that's straight cash going to Brad Wardell and his employees. Their profit margin is way higher that way; I'd rather the people who _made_ the game get the profit instead of retailers that do nothing but progressively marginalize PC software more and more.
    • Re:GalCiv2 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by courtarro (786894) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:26PM (#14928737) Homepage
      I appreciate Epic's approach with the original UT and UT2004. For a few months after each game was released, you needed the CD in the drive to play the game. After a few months, a standard patch is released that removes the CD requirement, after the most significant piracy problems have died down. From then on, you no longer need to deal with the original CD.
      • This has also been standard with idgames releases. Neither Doom3 or Quake4 require the CD to play once it is patched.
        • Thank goodness for that, too - I've lost my disc one of Doom 3, due to shuffling it in and out of the drive for other things, and it got put somewhere.
      • Stardock's earlier game The Political Machine had something similar. The publisher (Ubisoft I think; GalCiv 2 is self-published) insisted on copy protection. Stardock argued them down to protection which would sunset not long after release.
    • I donno about the downloaded version (I got the boxed version) but you do NOT have to install StarDock to install or play the (offline) game.
    • Steam is a bad comparison. Steam is invasive, and if you buy a game that uses Steam, you do need Steam to play the game.

      If you buy Galciv2 on CD, however, you don't need Stardock Central to install it. And while you need the CD key to get patches, updates and extra stuff, you can get them manually if you really hate SDC. Stardock Central just makes it much easier to get patches and other updates. That's really all it does.
      • Best thing about Stardock Central is, once you've installed the games/desktop apps/etc. you want from Stardock, you can uninstall Stardock Central, and keep playing the games. You're all set ;)

        Unlike say, WildTangent, which requires you to have their rather large "WildTangent Web Client" installed in order to play any of their games. Most of those WT games are single-player, and have no reason to keep contacting the servers in order to play. They claim it's just to send back information on what game you
  • Not sure. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:03PM (#14928563) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure that copy protection encourages pirating but I won't install a bought game on my machine without a no-CD crack, etc. as well. The original games are safest when in the jewel case packed in the box on a shelf.

    • Re:Not sure. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LiquidAvatar (772805)
      I'm not sure that copy protection encourages pirating

      The point of the article wasn't that copy protection software, as a technology, encourages pirates... it was that StarForce, as a company, *does*

      See the (censored) screencap [galciv2.com] that is hosted on the GalCiv site, showing a StarForce employee linking to a pirated copy of the game.

      • Re:Not sure. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bios_Hakr (68586)
        StarForce are really showing their colours here. These guys are basicly acting like mobsters. "Buy our software or we'll show (with links) where people can pirate your game." There really needs to be a day of recokning for these Russian Mobsters, as well as any company who buys their product.

        Ubi is officially on my shit list. I actively encourage piracy of Ubi games until they stop using SF. I give classes at local LAN parties on how to use BitTorrent, VMWare, GameCopyWorld, and Daemon tools to activel
    • Unfortunately, NOCDs are going the way of the dodo. More and more, we are seeing mini-images that, when loaded in Daemon Tools, fool the game into thinking that the CD is present.

      The problem is that, eventually, games will refuse to install if DT is present. Some try to refuse to load, but DT is pretty stealthy.

      In the arms race between DT and DRM, the only sure thing is that the customer will lose.
      • Re:Not sure. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blincoln (592401)
        Unfortunately, NOCDs are going the way of the dodo. More and more, we are seeing mini-images that, when loaded in Daemon Tools, fool the game into thinking that the CD is present.

        I actually prefer disc images to patch-style no-CD hacks. My thinking is that I'd rather be running an unmodified version of the game program, because I don't know what secondary effects a hack will have on the game.

        I say that as someone who *does* hack games. I am pretty sharp, and so are most of the people who make no-CD patches,
  • PIA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AK__64 (740022)
    The article speaks about the invasiveness and general irritation that DRM causes and I think when they state that DRM may be contributing to the problem of piracy, it's the same thing where legit Windows buyers have to jump through the Product Activation hoops and rigamarole. I know of at least one person who legitimately bought WinXP but installed a pirated version to avoid the hassles. Legitimate, law-abiding users pay the price.

    I'm all for the Valve's Steam method of distribution. It's the wave o
    • I installed Microsoft Office 2003 on a computer with no internet access, and I didn't want to go to the trouble of activating it over the phone. When the evaluation period expired, I just stopped using it.

      Since then, I have uninstalled Windows and mostly use Linux. Part of the reason for this is because I don't want to have to deal with DRM, and because I don't want to have to read a very long and restrictive EULA to work out whether my windows installation is even legal or not.

      Microsoft are possibly losi

      • Re:PIA (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mschuyler (197441)
        Not trying to be critical or funny, but you're not normal. Your need to use Office or Windows isn't compelling enough for you to keep using them. Most people who buy Office and Windows don't see much of an alternative. Linux, Open Source, etc. are simply not on the radar screen. They don't read the EULAs either, by the way; they just use the products. When pushed to "validate" their product, they just go ahead and do it and don't worry about it. Where you can't be bothered with EULAs, they can't be bothered
        • I agree. I am in the minority. My point, though, is that there *are* people like me who will stop using MS because of DRM, and there are a very small number of people who will buy MS products because of DRM. So, overall, microsoft are possibly losing out.
  • Big Picture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ludomancer (921940) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:10PM (#14928603)
    Fact: Anti-Piracy software developers are doing the same thing that regular software developers are trying to do: sell software.

    Fact: Anti-Piracy software does not stop piracy.

    Fact: Anti-Piracy softare adversely affects legitimate players.

    Fact: Not everyone who pirates a game is a guaranteed sale/loss of a sale.

    Fact: Pirated software is another model of distribution which helps create product recognition with your audience.

    Partial Fact and Opinion: Many people, myself included, use access to pirated software as a tool for determining what games are worth our monetary support. I can not count the number of times that piracy has either
    a) saved me from buying a horrible piece of software that marketting led people to believe otherwise, and
    b) caused me to buy a game (many, many times) that I would have otherwise never looked at or had a chance to try in another form.
    I wish everyone had this state of mind. Obviously that's not the case, but I also feel that the latter group of individuals also encompass the demographic that would not grant your title a sale even if they did not download the title. That is, they are usually either downloading it for the sake of downloading it, or have no access to the funds to purchase games regularly.

    There are as many beneficial reasons to piracy as there are negative aspects. The lies given by anti-piracy software developers are underhanded scare tactics, and not worth a publishers time. I hope the majority of educated individuals agrees when they weigh the facts in.

    • Re:Big Picture (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tweekster (949766)
      Yes but then again, game companies dont wnat you trying out a game first and finding it sucks so you dont buy it. they would rather you find out after you purchased it
      • Re:Big Picture (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Exactly. I probably should have mentioned that control is as much as issue as the feined piracy problems, but there were already too many points I was trying to make on such a small space.

        Hopefully others realize this too, though not likely. It echoes of the RIAA and the music industry's motivations for shutting down filesharing. There are no moral, ethical or lawful barriers that will stop a company from convincing you it's okay to syphon your bank account away. It's only if they can get away with it.

        H
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:16PM (#14928638)

    I work on a computer all day. I rip all the music I buy so that I don't have to carry around loads of CDs or bother swapping them around all the time. Digital media is more valuable to me than physical media, but I will only buy CDs because a) I want some kind of physical master copy in case my hard drive dies or anything like that and b) I want lossless compression.

    So what does the copy protection do? Lock the thing I value most away from me. If I'm lucky, I get crappy MP3s on a data layer. No thanks. You know what I do if I find out an album I want is copy protected? I download it.

    The simple fact of the matter is that, where copy protection is used, anonymous pirates provide a better service than the music labels. And the sad thing is that this isn't due to the record companies falling short in some way, it's because they actively choose to harm their own product.

    The reason they can get away with this is because there is no competition when it comes to media. I'm not talking about the RIAA cartel, I'm talking about the basic nature of copyright. If somebody owns the rights to a particular song I like, then no competition exists for that song. I either buy it on the terms the copyright holder chooses, I don't buy it at all, or I obtain it from a black market.

    For a free(r) market to exist, with competition acting the way it should, artists should be legally prohibited from signing exclusive contracts. Reduce the record labels to investors and publishers instead of the people with all the power, because right now, the situation is upside-down.

  • Two Words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:17PM (#14928647) Homepage Journal
    Two words: Notebook, CD-Check.

    There's a strong trend towards notebooks as the everyday computer of most people, replacing desktop machines. Once you have a notebook, you use the mobility. Whether you go into the living room for a comfortable surf or take it with you on the train.

    And all these stupid CD-Checks force you to carry a bundle of CDs with you all the time? How stupid is that? Not to mention that they're all fooled, cracked, broken in less time than it takes them to write new versions.

    Like I said before: If game developers would save the money for copy restriction stuff and instead pour it into writing better games, they'd probably sell more.

    Those who pirate always have, always will. Mostly it's the kids who couldn't afford more than one game every other month anyways if they had to buy them. Most of the pirated copies would not have been sales with harsher laws, better copy restriction or whatever else to prevent copying. They would simply be less people playing the game, not more people paying for it.
    • I don't know that you can classify 'CD-check' as a single word.
    • Not to mention that requiring the notebook user to put in an optical drive takes up a slot that could be used for something else (say, another battery). Then there's the effect of spinning up the drive all the time on battery life...
  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:24PM (#14928711) Journal
    Penny Arcade news post on StarForce thugs [penny-arcade.com]

    The comic will briefly be available here [penny-arcade.com],

    And later it will appear in its permanent location: Penny Arcade comic on StarForce thugs [penny-arcade.com]

    (I wonder if they'll ever sort out their flakey software.)
  • Alternative models (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Honestly, the best way to stop piracy of all kinds (for all mediums) is to adopt a new marketing model. Consider digital distribution as a model ...

    For the average game it will probably cost less that $1 (definately less than $5) per copy sold to deliver the game to the customer via download through the internet; at the same time you no longer need an expensive distribution network nor do you have to cut a retailer in on the sale. This means that the only people who have to make money on the sale of the pro
    • 1. Music companies complain that US$1 is too little to pay for each song.

      The preception is that moving distribution to the internet destroys traditional markets for non-proven income.

  • You shunta wan' anythin' to happen to it. We can mak' sure it don't, for just a small fee. Oh, what's in the violin case? (wink) Just a violin. Call me Guido, cuz I'm sure we're gonna be buddies.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:47PM (#14928916)
    Antivirus software companies write viruses...

    Microsoft codes venerabilities into Windows, then patches in the next major version of Windows, coding different venerabilities into it...

    Congressmen ignore their constituents once they get elected...

    More at 11.
  • I installed Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (contains SF), and my computer exploded, blinding me, and then the president of SF came and kicked me in the shin.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    People should really look at what all this SF fuss is about: read what they ACTUALLY did and judge for yourself whether it's worthy of all this media attention. Hint: It's not.

    (Basically, some guy proved a point that it's easy to find pirated copies of a game that wasn't copy-protected. So what. A 13 year old with three minutes on a 56k can do that... it's not like they hosted and distributed it)
    • People should really look at what all this SF fuss is about: read what they ACTUALLY did and judge for yourself whether it's worthy of all this media attention. Hint: It's not.

      He posted a link to illegal copies of a game that didn't use their protection, suggesting that this proved that lack of protection meant more piracy. Then someone else pointed out that he could just as easily post a link to pirated copies of games that do use StarForce. Then another employee of StarForce pointed out that doing so

    • This most certainly is worth the attention that it is getting, but I have a feeling you are just one of the many StarForce stooges prowling various forums and doing damage control. As stated by the others it is their hypocrisy that is causing all this attention. They violated their own forum rules about posting links to illegal content and then left the link up until well after the intial news post on Stardock's site about them doing so. Anyone else making posts like that or posts too critical of their p
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I use Alcohol 120% to make images of all games that I buy. Not only does this help keep the original cd in good condition, but the game loads faster and I don't have to spend time looking for the cd I just misplaced. I was looking forward to Doom3 for some time. I had followed its development and read each new scoop on the game as soon as it became available. When the game released I purchased it the second day of its availability. I felt good. I was getting a new game and doing the right thing when I new m
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @04:17AM (#14931330) Journal
    I had a good income but worked nights so needed something to do during the day and the internet (being dutch I payed by the minute, peak times) was to expensive.

    So I played a lot of games, wich I bought. Still got a huge stack of CD's. The floppys were thrown out a few years ago as I figured if I ever wanted to replay one of them I would just download them.

    Recently I haven't bought a lot of games. Why? Well I was starting to feel screwed. Hard. In the ass. By a big black guy.

    While I am from amsterdam I still did not enjoy that feeling.

    What was giving me that feeling? An increasing number of games that were to short, to buggy, to kiddy and just not worth the high price charged.

    Lucasarts is for me the perfect example. Their early games were all near perfect. I had little doubt about buying x-wing and its expansions and sequels. Their adventures? Who needs a review when it got the lucasarts label?

    Then came games like that horrible Monkey island with the moronic 3d interface that was a bitch to control. Yuck. Fun but ruined by some kind of need to use 3d in the marketing bullshit.

    Worse was still to come. Forgot the title that was the galactic bit version of the current Empire at war release. Or howabout that RTS eh? The first one that was not based on the age of empire engine?

    Crap games, that were buggy and just not fun to play and certainly not worth full price.

    Even the x-wing series went downhill as it became less and less dogfighting and more and more missle dodging.

    I feel less and less inclined to buy the new releases as I know that what awaits me is a poorlyb designed game riddled with bugs.

    FEAR was great but is a 8 hour game really worth full price? Not in my book.

    But there was anoter problem as well. That is copy protection. Why is it that the PAYING public has to mess around with game-cd's, impossible to read keys, non-working drives etc etc when the pirate can just download a far better game that just runs, with the update and isn't slown down by constant CD accessing?

    An old sequel to elite, frontier something, took the absolute price in stupid copy protection. It stopped every 20 minutes or so to ask you to look up a word in the manual. Gee thanks, for that lovely experience. It was still BBS for me in those days but finally a friend gave me a cracked version of the game that skipped that stupid check. My first pirated game. Going from constant interruption to trouble free gaming by NOT paying 79,- guilders.

    Current game protections would be like having a DVD that forces you to watch a 10 second segment warning you not to pirate the movie that ofcourse no ripper includes so only the persons who do not pirate see it. You would have to be completly insane to do that to your paying customers.

    I still got money to spend, just that if I go to a game store today I just don't see that many games worthy of my money. The few that I still buy seem to insist on rewarding me for buying them by giving me a harder time then the people who pirate it.

    Oh, and none of the copy protections work anyway. Empire at war has starforce and all you had to do for hassle free, free play was to wait till a proper group got around to crack it.

    The game is indeed a current lucasarts game. CRAP. Worth about 3 euro in the store. Not 49.95

    • Current game protections would be like having a DVD that forces you to watch a 10 second segment warning you not to pirate the movie that ofcourse no ripper includes so only the persons who do not pirate see it. You would have to be completly insane to do that to your paying customers.

      Wow, things must be different in Amsterdam. They *DO* that here in the US. Your non-hacked DVD player won't let you skip the warning reminding you that pirating the film is illegal. They really don't over there?
      • I played a few here in the US that would let me skip it or fast forward through it. I just mute the volume if it doesn't as I can't stand the music they use. The ironic part is I recall seeing a story a while back that said they didn't license the music used in that trailer.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @08:38AM (#14932193) Journal
    Instead of "Copy Protection Firms Encourage Piracy" it might be more accurate to title it "Russian Software firm re-invents 2nd-oldest profession, extortion ala 'protection racket'."

    Gee, mister, it sure would be a SHAME if your store BURNT DOWN. Perhaps if you were to share your profits with us, we would MAKE SURE something like that WOULDN'T HAPPEN. If you choose not to participate in our generosity, who KNOWS what MIGHT happen?

    Sounds like someone could use an axe-handle across the knees.
  • Another reason switch to open-source games. Unfortunately there aren't any good yet.So hacks,warez and NOCd loaders will stay for awhile.

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