Archive for Digital Rights Management

China bans gold farming

Posted in Government, Piracy with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Gold, gil, republic credits, whatever the currency is in your Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, odds are you’ve come across gold farmers.

Gold farmers are typically those characters who have a “board smash” name like “XXyyzzz” and do nothing but fish, or fight rare monsters, or something else that generates a ton of in-game currency. These people then sell the gold they obtain via their playing to other players. Of course, people often sell their gold to the gold farmers as well.

In ever MMO I’ve ever played, this was against the terms of service as it made the game unfair to those who did not have buckets of real world money to use to buy in-game money so they could purchase things like the Lizard Harness Set +1.

The majority of the farmers are in Asia, mostly Korea. However, according to Information Week, China has banned gold farming.

“Since 2007, virtual money trading has drawn official attention, with the government demanding tighter controls as such trading became an avenue for gambling and illicit trade.

Under the new rules, using virtual money for gambling will be punished by public security authorities, and minors may not buy virtual money.

The Ministry of Culture also vowed to step up supervision on money laundering via virtual credits and other illegal online activities.” – From the press release issued by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Information week article

Ministry of Commerce press release.

Pirate Bay sells out

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, Piracy with tags , , , on June 30, 2009 by Bradley Hall

According to The Pirate Bay’s official blog, ” The Pirate Bay might get acquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB.”

From the wording of the blog post however, it appears that this is a done deal.

Global Gaming Factory X AB is a Swedish-based advertising company. I checked their official website and found two press releases concerning Pirate Bay. One was marked as having been posted at 8:51 AM, the other at 8:52 AM.

Both press releases are in Swedish. The first release talks about their purchase of Pirate Bay, while the second release mentions nothing but an invitation to come to a press briefing at 11:00 today.

Pirate Bay post
Global Gaming X AB’s press release page

Article about Game DRM

Posted in Commentary, Economy, Intellectual Property with tags , , , on May 12, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Gamasutra has a great article up about videogame Digital Rights Management.

It’s no secret that DRM is one of the hot button issues of today, either in games, movies, or music.

The article talks about how several small companies in the industry and some of the bigger ones are bucking normal DRM methods this year to release games that just play and don’t treat you like a would-be criminal.

One thing I think odd about the article is their mention that Electronic Arts is releasing next month’s Sims 3 with just a CD registration key that you input once when you install the game and that’s it. But… that’s what EA has done on ALL of the Sims 1 and Sims 2 games already.

Trust me, I checked that out. My mother has every Sims 1 & 2 game and expansion and Stuff Pack… all legally.

Part of why the companies are deciding not to DRM their games is because they have to pay the company that creates the DRM a percentage of the revenue of the game, and if the game gets cracked anyway, that’s almost like wasted money.

I hate Steam with a passion. I can’t play Half-Life without being online so it can authenticate my game Every Single Time I Play.

Gamasutra article about videogame DRM

Remix: Now CC Licensed

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on May 3, 2009 by Bradley Hall

remix_cover_l

Lawrence Lessig’s latest book, Remix, has been released as a free Creative Commons licensed PDF courtesy of Bloomsbury Academic.

Remix was reviewed by this website on December 25, 2008.

Review for this book on this site.

Bloomsbury Academic webpage for Remix, the download link is under the price for the book version.

DMCA coupon problem

Posted in Commentary, Economy, Intellectual Property with tags , , , on April 10, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Ordinarily, when you get a coupon printed from somewhere on the Internet, it has a unique code that allows the store to know whether or not that particular coupon code has been used. This actually happened to me a few days ago. I have a Best Buy reward zone card. I racked up enough points to get a $5 off coupon, excitedly I printed it off and used it to buy the new Neko Case CD (CD only cost me $5 after that). A week or two later, I received a $5 off coupon in the mail from Best Buy.

I did not think this coupon was related to the one I had printed off, but as it turned out, it was. I could not use it. I’m sure that if I fought it, they would have permitted me to use it, but, somehow I knew they were right, and was saddened that I had to pay full price (well, it wasn’t a total loss, the next store I found that item in wanted $30 for it, while there, without any coupons, I paid only $10).

Anyway, this article from Wired.com is about a guy who published ways to bypass coupons obtained from Coupons Inc. to make as many legit copies of a coupon as you want, as each time the software is used, it makes a new, legit, coupon code.

“Coupons sued Stottlemire in 2007 after he posted the code on his personal website, along with instructions showing shoppers how to circumvent copy protection on downloadable, printable coupons from Colgate, General Foods and others, for everything from cereal to soap.”

According to the judge for the case, nobody won the trial.

One thing I do know, is Coupon, Inc is going to alter their coupon giving programs so this does not happen again.

DMCA Coupon

Gears of Annoyance

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 30, 2009 by Bradley Hall

According to ArsTechnica, people who tried to play Gears of War after the 28th experienced NOT playing Gears of War.

Due to some fluke of DRM coding, Gears of War unknowingly shipped with an expiration date. Currently the fix is to fiddle with your system clock to show a time before the 28th, but that’s a hassle not many people want to undertake every time they want to play. There’s even more who may not know about this fix.

Full Story.