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Spore faces piracy backlash

Ben Parfitt
A report showing that EA’s PC hit Spore is suffering from unusually high numbers of illegal downloads has been blamed on the fact that EA has implemented stern digital rights management restrictions on its game.

Spore’s DRM prevents the game being installed more than three times – a problem for those who might need to wipe and re-install owing to a technical problem, or to those who change their PC. EA is also only allowing one Spore account per house, meaning any family with more than two players is unable to have multiple game profiles.

Forbes reports that Spore has been illegally downloaded over 170,000 times since September 1st – a high number in just two weeks. Eric Garland of peer-to-peer research firm Big Champagne said of the number: “The numbers are extraordinary. This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title.”

Opponents of DRM say that the pirated version of Spore has proved so popular because it grants users the freedom to use the software as they wish; they believe that EA’s strict DRM encourages illegal downloading as the pirated version offers benefits compared to a legitimately purchased copy.

A poster on popular BitTorrent download site The Pirate Bay stated: “By downloading this torrent, you are doing the right thing. You are letting EA know that people won't stand for their ridiculously draconian DRM viruses. You have the power to make this the most pirated game ever, to give corporate bastards a virtual punch in the face.”

EA, however, has defended its DRM measures, stating: “EA has not changed our basic DRM copy protection system. We simply changed the copy protection method from using the physical media, which requires authentication every time you play the game by requiring a disc in the drive, to one which uses a one-time online authentication.”

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Tags: Digital , piracy , download , drm , bittorrent , rights , spore , pirate , management

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