Monday, September 8, 2008

DRM, Software Pirates, and Warez - Oh My!

Tags: DRM, warez

Spore Pirate

Spore, one of the year's most anticipated computer games was released Sunday. It's a game that has been in development for what seems like an eternity and now that it's out, it has received a lot of attention from the video game masses. Sadly, most comments, critiques, and discussions seem to be focused not on the game itself, but on the anti-piracy software that the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, has incorporated with the game.

What is this apparently evil piece of software? Digital Rights Management (DRM) of course. You see, DRM has become a dirty word for most gaming geeks. With software, movies, and music becoming easier and easier to steal online, various entertainment publishers have decided try and fight back by developing various software protections that they hope will discourage these digital pirates from obtaining their goods.

Sadly, this protection rarely stops people from stealing software or downloading music illegally. In fact, some even claim that DRM encourages stealing because they say it deters people from wanting to install software that may not work correctly due to the accompanying DRM solution. This argument is laughable at best. Sure there have been a few times when the DRM included actually crippled the software and could even negatively affect the computer itself. However, the solution is to not buy products from companies that push out bad DRM. You don't decide that since you don't like their DRM, you'll just steal their stuff instead. If BMW came out with a car that had bad airbags, you don't get to steal the car instead.

As for Spore, people are in an uproar about the fact that it only lets you install the software 3 times before you have to contact support to install it again. Really people? This is the big beef here? Are you really going to upgrade your computer 3 times and still want to play Spore? And if you do, is that phone call really going to kill you? I mean, you loved the game enough to want to play it after upgrading your system and reinstalling the game so many times... I think you'd be okay with a single phone call to get up and running again. Sure, some may worry that they may not support the game in years to come and your phone call will go unanswered - well, that's a valid concern, but how many games do you continue to play 5-10 years after they've been released? Again, this only becomes a concern if you've already installed it 3 times. And even still, you can always choose to not buy the product... you just can't choose to steal it.

I'm not sure what it is with people these days. Everybody seems to think they are entitled to any and all digital "stuff". Whether it's music, movies, or games, they think that they have the right to choose if they will purchase it or steal it. A couple hilarious examples:

"I bought the game, then found out about the DRM. I told all my friends who were going to buy it to pirate it instead. Thats about 5 sales lost there.

Congrats EA on being retards."

-Wartz (Digg)

Yes Wartz, EA is the retard trying to defend their products from people like you who decide to steal it whenever it's too inconvenient to purchase and use legally.

"Any company that makes it paying customers put up with DRM gets everything it deserves, and it seem as if EA and Maxis got what they deserved."

-The_Sentinal (1UP)

Again, this sense of entitlement is almost scary. So EA and Maxis attempt to put security on their software, and if that protection is an inconvenience to some, they deserve to be stolen from?

How pathetic all this B.S. is. The only real reason people steal online is because it's easy. You can hide behind whatever made up justification you want, but the truth remains. You are no better than the guy who steals a car on the side of the road or the guy who robs the corner grocery store.


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