VMProtect Accuses Denuvo Of Using Unlicensed Software In Its Antipiracy DRM
from the irony-thy-name-is-denuvo dept
To date, the most remarkable aspect of the Denuvo story was the very brief stint it had as a successful DRM. Brief is the operative word, of course, as the past six months or so have seen Denuvo’s vaunted status devolve into one more typical of DRM stories, with defeats for the security software coming at rates measured in days and weeks of a game’s release.
But now things have taken a turn towards the ironic. A security software firm called VMProtect, which makes software to protect against reverse engineering and developing cracks of applications, is accusing Denuvo of having used its software without properly licensing it. This is the kind of thing that folks who support DRM tend to call piracy. And, thus, Denuvo may have “pirated” another company’s software to make its anti-piracy DRM.
According to a post on Russian forum RSDN, Denuvo is accused of engaging in a little piracy of its own. The information comes from a user called drVan?, who is a developer at VMProtect Software, a company whose tools protect against reverse engineering and cracking.
“I want to tell you a story about one very clever and greedy Austrian company called Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH,” drVano begins. “A while ago, this company released a protection system of the same name but the most remarkable thing is that they absolutely illegally used our VMProtect software in doing so.”
drVano goes on to detail the story to a degree that seems legitimate. Denuvo had met with VMProtect about using the latter’s software, but had wanted to do so under the common and cheap $500 license offered publicly as a “personal license.” Rolling that software into a distributed DRM obviously fell outside of that sort of personal use license, leading VMProtect to ask for much more in the way of money if Denuvo wanted to move forward. Denvuo declined, but then apparently went ahead an bought a personal license anyway and began rolling out the software in Denuvo DRM. VMProtect revoked the license due to Denuvo’s breach of the license conditions, but Denuvo kept up its distribution anyway.
Which lead VMProtect to go on offense.
VMProtect then took what appears to be a rather unorthodox measure against Denuvo. After cooperation with Sophos, the anti-virus vendor agreed to flag up the offending versions of Denuvo as potential malware. VMProtect says it has also been speaking with Valve about not featuring the work of “scammers” on its platform.
“Through our long-standing partners from Intellect-C, we are starting to prepare an official claim against Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH with the prospect of going to court. This might be a very good lesson for ‘greedy’ developers who do not care about the intellectual property rights of their colleagues in the same trade,” drVano concludes.
The irony here is delicious. The precipitous fall of DRM, once claimed to be the end of software piracy entirely, culminates in what may be piracy on the part of that same company. All while the effectiveness of that DRM has dropped to essentially zero.
If the gaming industry were ever going to learn that DRM is a failed concept, Denuvo ought to be the teacher of that lesson.