More Stupid Copy Protection That Does Nothing But Piss Off Legitimate Users

from the why-oh-why-do-companies-think-this-is-necessary? dept

This certainly isn’t a new or unique story, but Broadband Reports has yet another story about ridiculous and pointless copy protection. The copy protection scheme, called Starforce, appears to be mainly used for protecting certain PC games from being copied. Of course, like so many copy protection schemes it does this by assuming all legitimate customers are criminals. Not only that, but it installs itself without letting you know (not even in the EULA), hides itself on your PC, slows down the PC, causes all sorts of other problems and errors, and is nearly impossible to remove — even after the protected application has been removed. In other words, it’s just as bad as some adware/spyware out there — except that it’s screwing things up for legitimate customers who actually went out and bought the games in question. As the article points out, every one of those games is available in a cracked version online, so this “copy protection” scheme doesn’t actually prevent copies. It only serves to anger legitimate customers. Why is anyone using this product on their software?

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Griffon says:

List of games

From their forum, a list of games that are a catalyst for the infection

“List of games

AceSaga N/A ? N/A StarForce

American Conquest N/A CDV Software Russia StarForce 3

Anito: Defend A Land Enraged N/A Anino Entertainment Asia StarForce 1
Anstoss 4 N/A ? Germany StarForce 3

Army Men N/A 3DO Russia StarForce

Bandits: Phoenix Rising N/A Tri Synergy N/A StarForce

Breed 1.0 CDV US StarForce

Breed N/A CDV France StarForce

Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon N/A

Revolution US StarForce

Chrome N/A Strategy First Russia StarForce 3

Codename: Outbreak N/A Virgin Interactive Russia StarForce 1

Cossacks: Back To War N/A CDV Software Russia StarForce 1

Cossacks: European Wars N/A GSC Russia StarForce 3

Curse: The Eye of Isis N/A Dreamcatcher Interactive N/A StarForce 3

Cycling Manager 3 N/A GMX Media N/A StarForce 3

Dead to Rights N/A Hip Interactive N/A StarForce 3

Demonic Speedway N/A ? Poland StarForce 3

Desert Rats vs. Afrika Corps 1.0 Monte Cristo France StarForce

DTM Race Driver 2 N/A Codemasters N/A StarForce

Emergency Fire Response N/A Dreamcatcher Interactive N/A StarForce 3

Enigma: Rising Tide N/A Tesseraction Games N/A StarForce 3

Etherlords N/A Fishtank Interactive Russia StarForce 1

Etherlords II N/A Strategy First N/A StarForce

Fire Chief N/A Strategy First N/A StarForce 3

Fire Department N/A Monte Cristo N/A StarForce 3

Gangland N/A Whiptail Interactive N/A StarForce

Heroes of Might & Magic IV: The Gathering Storm N/A 3DO Russia StarForce

Horse Race Manager N/A Cyanide N/A StarForce 3

Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter N/A Interplay UK StarForce 3

IL-2 Sturmovik N/A Ubi Soft Russia StarForce 1

Kicker Manager 2004 N/A Deep Silver N/A StarForce

Kill Switch 1.0 Namco France StarForce

Korea: Forgotten Conflict N/A CENEGA N/A StarForce 3

Magna Carta N/A Korea N/A StarForce 1

Magnamedia N/A Russia N/A StarForce 3

Mercedes-Benz World Racing N/A TDK Mediactive Spain StarForce 3

Might & Magic IX: Writ of Fate N/A 3DO Russia StarForce

Narsillion N/A ? Russia StarForce 1

Obscure N/A Hydravision Entertainment N/A StarForce

Pax Romana N/A Dreamcatcher Interactive N/A StarForce 3

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time N/A Ubisoft Russia StarForce 3

Pro Rugby Manager N/A Digital Jesters N/A StarForce

Rally Championship Xtreme N/A Warthog Entertainment Software N/A StarForce

Rendezvous 3 N/A ? Russia StarForce

Restaurant Empire N/A Enlight Software N/A StarForce

Revolution N/A Activision Value Publishing N/A StarForce

Runaway: A Road Adventure N/A Tri Synergy N/A StarForce 3

Seventh Seal: The Resurrection of the Dark Lord N/A ? Asia StarForce 2

Shtyrlits 3: USSR Agent N/A ? Russia StarForce 1

Siege of Avalon N/A Digital Tome Russia StarForce 1

Silent Storm N/A Nival N/A StarForce 3

Silkolene Honda Motocross GP N/A Midas Interactive Entertainment N/A StarForce 3

Sniper N/A ? N/A StarForce 3

Soldiers: Heroes of World War II 1.05.1 Codemasters N/A StarForce

Tennis Masters Series: Battleground of Champions N/A Microids Asia StarForce

Tennis Masters Series: Battleground of Champions 1.1 Microids Czech StarForce 3

The Heroes of Three Kingdoms N/A N/A Asia StarForce

The I Of The Dragon N/A Primal Software Russia StarForce 3

The Westerner N/A Focus Home Interactive France StarForce

TOCA Race Driver 2 1.0 Codemasters N/A StarForce

TOCA Race Driver 2 1.1 Codemasters N/A StarForce

TOCA Race Driver 2 1.2 Codemasters N/A StarForce

Track Mania N/A Nadeo N/A StarForce

Trackmania N/A Nadeo N/A StarForce 3

UFO: Aftermath 1.00 CENEGA Spain StarForce 3

V8 Supercars 2 N/A Codemasters Australia StarForce

Wildlife Park N/A Encore, Inc N/A StarForce 3

World War II: Frontline Command Strategy First N/A StarForce

World War II: Frontline Command N/A Strategy First N/A StarForce 3

X2: The Threat N/A Enlight Software N/A StarForce

Xuan-Yuan Sword 4 N/A ? ASIA StarForce 2

Also they apparently include this protection with the demos of some of these games ???

Why ?

Christian Cantrell says:

Devil's Advocate

I’m not saying I agree with this level of copy protection, but I will point out that it is not intended to prevent people from cracking software and posting it online. Cracked software has always been, and probably will always be, a fact of life. It constitutes only a very small portion of piracy, however. By far, the huge majority of piracy is what is known as “casual piracy” which is people around the office passing a CD around and installing software without even thinking about licensing, or friends sharing a new game with a few other friends. That’s what copy protection and registration help to prevent.

Software companies lose huge amounts of money because of casual piracy, and I don’t blame them from trying to stop people from stealing their software. That doesn’t mean they have chosen the best way to do it, however, but I think their intentions are legitimate.

eeyore says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

This is the same excuse that is used when they claim that software piracy is costing tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue without accepting the fact that most of the casual users who borrow a game wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. If I buy Monopoly or Risk at Toys R Us, I can loan it to my friends and neighbors for the weekend. So why can’t I do that with a computer game I probably paid fifty bucks for?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Devil's Advocate

[quote]This is the same excuse that is used when they claim that software piracy is costing tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue without accepting the fact that most of the casual users who borrow a game wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. If I buy Monopoly or Risk at Toys R Us, I can loan it to my friends and neighbors for the weekend. So why can’t I do that with a computer game I probably paid fifty bucks for?[/quote]

thats a stupid statement
your describing casual piracy
while attacking the existance of casual piracy.
you lend it to a friend they install it many gAmes evene when you give them the cd you can still play it
and now your friends can cAn too

a board game is physical so only one of you can have it at a time.
a cd 100,000,000,000 people can use it at once.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

That may be true now, but if they continue with this sort of practice they may force more people to download the whole ISO to get the working game. After all, until “copy protection” got to the point where it interfered with running a legally purchased game, most people (myself included) never bothered with nocd cracks. Now, I download the crack before I even run a game for the first time.

I’ve had a similar experience with “protected” music CDs. I bought a CD which wouldn’t play on my computer. In order to listen to the music I had legally purchased, I was forced to download the mp3s. And then the question arises, what have I actually paid for? If you have to download the full ISO of a game in order to play it, what will be the incentive to pay?

froger says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

this is just like back in the 80’s when eveyone used to borrow their friends music tapes and record them on their highspeed tape copiers

its just a fact of life and is nature of the beast.

software companies dont lose this money because they never had it to begin with.

and lets not forget the the success/popularity of some of these games can sometimes also be attributed to the piracy (where certain groups/warez sites etc) promote how good a game is make maps and characters and then people go out and buy the game to play it online as well

and finally, tinkering with a users system, and installing items that the user is unaware of is underhanded. when they remove starforce and their system crashes will the game company pay for the costs/time to recover any data lost and to reformat that persons computer?

if the answer is no then they should not be distibuting it as part of their “protection”

desmochikNZ says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

Thing is, in a lot of cases it’s money they never would have gotten in the first place. I know that as far as I, and most of my friends go, when we do download games, movies etc, for free, it’s not instead of buying them, or going to the movies, (never seen the point of buying a movie, seen it once, that’s enough!) Usually we just wait to watch it on telly, or if a friend rents the video/dvd.
While games, although I try a lot of different ones, it’s out of boredom on a rainy day, again I would never buy one, I would just find something else to do.
(& as far as going to the movies, haven’t been since I was a teenager, and then it wasn’t to watch the film!!! Nowadays I just fall asleep 1/2 way through, so I don’t bother going!)
So the way I see it I’m not taking anything from anyone, as I would not have bought a copy in the first place!
Having said that, it does piss me off when I can’t make copies of my cds, for the car, as they get ruined very quickly if played in the car cd changer (I live up a bumpy dirt road!!) hate to pay $30 ++ and have it f*** out in a couple of weeks!!!

Jonathan says:


I have just brought a new game and looking forward to playing it waited 20mins to install the game and reboot the PC, not I can’t get past the loading screen because it can’t verify my CD.

Game makers should at least make sure the software works, I think copy protection just skinks and hurts people who actually pay money for a game.

Time to look on the net for a cracked version, as it maybe the only way to get this game to play.

Either that or send it back to the game developer and ‘demand’ a refund.

Bill says:

Enigma Rising Tide

Countless bona – fide customers who bought this get a message telling then the 24 letter key they enter does not match !

To obtain a so called rescue key is a headache too !

Try calling starforce , russia .or see their refusal on webpage – to supply a key to those they contemptuosly refer to as ‘ end users’ .

They shirk their responsability and deny culpability is causing trouble to those who payed money .

The attitude of starforce is rude contempt , regarding paying customers as peasantry!

Never , never , buy from any company which has any links whatsoever with this totally unworthy bunch based in Volgograd!

David says:

Starforce Drivers

My PC’s Multiformat CD/DVD burner, a very early generation, use to be fast for its time.

Over time i noticed a noticeable decrease in speed. Burning times would increase and i had no idea why. But the problem always corrected itself on a NEW OS install.

I played Ubisofts Silent HUnter 3 Which had that aweful starforce on it and i am sure that is the reason why.

I came here looking for pacific fighters and it it had SF on it. Actually i am not going to bother with it even though it looks good and i bought it at a charity shop for 1 pound 50.

I have not bought any UBISOFT game since then, 2 years ago now, and i use to buy them all since apart from SF Ubisoft is a very good game publishing company.

Ubi use to get a few hundred pounds out of me per year. They dont get jack crap now cos of what they did to my system. They, SF

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