EA is currently facing legal action in the US concerning its decision to use SecuROM on its PC products. The move followed a prolonged backlash from PC users over the implementation of the DRM in Will Wright's recent PC hit Spore.
Speaking to IGN, a Rockstar spokesperson explained: GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive, and is used for product activation of the title.
Product activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game. GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version of the game, and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner.”
However, Rockstar looks to have adopted a more lenient implementation of the software than EA by not limiting the number of installs.
SecuROM offers a diverse toolset to publishers to help safeguard their IP and interests,” the spokesperson continued. Vocal 'board posters' seem to be most down on the SecuROM feature that limits the number of installations. But this SecuROM functionality is really nothing different than what iTunes has used for years now, which is used in over 500 millions files purchased from iTunes store.
If you have the retail disc version you will just need to take the disc with you and you can play on an unlimited number of machines. For the digital download versions, each digital download vendor has its own policy on the number of installations that are allowed. Check the vendor's policy before you purchase.
Creating video game entertainment is our passion and we invest a considerable amount of time and effort to release each title, and employ a large number of people in the process. Having copy protection allows us to protect the integrity or our titles and future investments, but at the same time we have worked very hard to ensure that our solutions do not persecute the legitimate players of our games. Implemented correctly, SecuROM is the most effective form of disc based copy protection and allows us to manage authenticity on a global level for Grand Theft Auto IV.”