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Windows 7 Anti-Piracy Plans 403

Slatterz writes "Microsoft has announced that the forthcoming Windows 7 operating system will contain a number of piracy 'tweaks' it says are designed to protect the interests of customers. Under the new regime users will be expected to validate their software in a much more precise way than before. Other Microsoft operating systems and anti-piracy measures, including Windows Genuine Advantage, allowed users to delay 'activation,' but Windows 7 will make it harder to ignore repeated messages. According to Joe Williams, general manager for Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft, counterfeit software 'delivers a poor experience and impacts customer satisfaction with our products, particularly if users do not know that their software is non-genuine.' Williams gave the example of one piracy exploit that caused more than a million reported system crashes on machines running non-genuine Windows Vista before Microsoft was able to resolve it."

EA Patches Spore, Eases DRM 161

EA has released the first patch for Spore, the purpose of which is to fix a number of bugs and tweak some gameplay settings to be more entertaining. Some of the visual effects were upgraded as well. They've also officially responded to the complaints about Spore's DRM, stating their intention to increase the number of allowed installations to five and to set up a system to "de-authorize" systems in order to reclaim the installation credit. They plan to allow multiple screen names per account, which was an issue for many families trying to play the game. This comes not long after EA made similar changes to the DRM of upcoming RTS Red Alert 3, and after Spore's DRM protest spread to in-game creature designs. Reader SoopahMan notes that users in EA's Spore tech support forum are reporting a number of new issues caused by the patch.

MSN Music DRM Servers Going Dark In September 543

PDQ Back writes to tell us about an email Microsoft sent to former customers of MSN Music today. The company said it would be turning off the DRM servers used to authorize playback of music purchased from the now-defunct MSN Music store. "'As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers,' reads the e-mail. This doesn't just apply to the five different computers that PlaysForSure allows users to authorize, it also applies to operating systems on the same machine (users need to reauthorize a machine after they upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista, for example). Once September rolls around, users are committed to whatever five machines they may have authorized — along with whatever OS they are running."
PC Games (Games)

Valve Responds to Steam Territory Deactivations 258

An anonymous reader passed us a link to Shack News, which is reporting on official commentary from Doug Lombardi of Valve about the international Orange Box code problem we talked about yesterday. According to Lombardi, the folks who bought copies of the game from a Thai gaming store are pretty much out of luck. They'll need to buy a local copy to have a working version. That said, they should be able to replace the old code with a new one. "'Some of these users have subsequently purchased a legal copy after realizing the issue and were having difficulty removing the illegitimate keys from their Steam accounts,' added Lombardi. 'Anyone having this problem should contact Steam Support to have the Thai key removed from their Steam account.'"

EA Denies DRM Problems With Sims 2 188

Fizzlefist writes "For the past 2 weeks there has been an uproar on the Sims 2 forums concerning the inclusion of Sony's SecuROM DRM software in the latest expansion pack, Bon Voyage. It seems paid customers have been having problems since day one of release, but EA is only now, 5 weeks later, issuing an official statement on the matter. A lot of what's in the statement is outright fiction with proven reports of issues with disabling of disc burning software, optical disc drives, printers, cameras, system slowdown and even system crashes. Fan responses have been cold to say the least. Interestingly enough, the expansion pack was cracked and up on the internet less than 24 hours after its release."

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller