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Capcom Releases DRM For Street Fighter 5, Promptly Rolls It Back When It Screws Legitimate Customers ((Mis)Uses of Technology)

by Timothy Geigner

from the sigh dept on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 @ 4:15PM

It should be quite clear by now that DRM is a fantastic way for video game makers to keep people from playing their games. Not pirates, though. No, those folks can play games with DRM just fine, because DRM doesn't actually keep piracy from being a thing. No, I'm talking about legitimate buyers of games, who in example after example after example suddenly find that the games they bought are unplayable thanks to DRM tools that work about as well as the American political system. And yet DRM still exists for some reason, as game makers look for some kind of holy grail piece of software that will turn every past pirate into a future dollar sign.

This search for the perfect DRM continues, as we have just the latest story of DRM gone wrong. This story of the Street Fighter V DRM, though, is a special kind of stupid because it was put in place via a software update release, meaning that a game that worked perfectly one day was bricked the next.

The doodad was announced on Thursday shortly before the update rolled out. Capcom called it “an updated anti-crack solution (note: not DRM) that prevents certain users from hacking the executable.”

They continued, “The solution also prevents memory address hack that are commonly used for cheating and illicitly obtaining in-game currency and other entitlements that haven’t been purchased yet.”

This DRM that Capcom insisted wasn't DRM apparently set off anti-virus software for a ton of legitimate customers, triggered warnings from Windows security software, caused PC crashes for others, and even killed one person's new puppy. Okay, that last one didn't actually happen, but the rest did, and it's the exact sort of thing that DRM shouldn't do: screw those who actually bought the game. On top of that, it seems the update gave the game a rather deep level of access into any PC it was installed on, leading some to warn others off from buying it entirely.

As a result of the backlash, Capcom rolled back the DRM via another update pretty quickly, but one has to wonder just how many potential customers were lost in the meantime and how that number compares with the number of potential pirates that were turned into paying customers during that same time period. It would take more imagination than I have to dream up a version of reality in which the latter outnumbered the former, making this attempt at DRM a complete bust.

But, then again, they're all busts, really. So why are we wasting our time with DRM still?

9 Comments

Immigration Board Says You Can Be Deported For Copyright Infringement (Copyright)

by Mike Masnick

from the moral-turpitude dept on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 @ 2:37PM
While we still wait to see if Kim Dotcom can be taken against his will from another country into the US for "copyright infringement" claims, apparently the DOJ has also decided that it can work the other way. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals has said that people can be deported for copyright infringement. Apparently the law (the Immigration and Nationality Act) says that non-citizens can be deported if they commit crimes "involving moral turpitude" but had never weighed in on whether or not copyright infringement counted. But now they have:
On Friday, leaning heavily on precedent that previously declared criminal trademark infringement a CMT, the board said criminal copyright violations “must also be a crime involving moral turpitude.”

“Like the use of a spurious trademark ... respondent’s copyright infringement also involves significant societal harm,” BIA member Hugh Mullane wrote in Friday’s ruling. “Congress has made clear that copyright infringement enforcement is an important priority and that the risks and costs associated with intellectual property crime are significant.”
To be fair, this was a case of criminal copyright infringement, and not civil copyright infringement -- and the board noted that because criminal copyright infringement requires the showing of "willfulness," it suffices for the "moral turpitude" question. The person in question, Raul Zaragoza-Vaquero, had been arrested for selling 800 copied CDs to an RIAA investigator. He received 33 months in prison and had to pay $36,000... and was then told he had to leave the country.

The fact that it's only for criminal copyright infringement is certainly better than it being for any copyright infringement, but we've seen some bizarre attempts to turn what clearly should be civil copyright infringement cases into criminal ones (the Kim Dotcom case being but one example).
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Techdirt Podcast Episode 92: Passwords Suck; What's Next? (Predictions)

by Leigh Beadon

from the correct-horse-battery-staple dept on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 @ 1:00PM

Data breaches that expose passwords are pretty much a fact of life at this point -- and the effects are multiplied by the fact that many, many people reuse passwords no matter how much they know they shouldn't. As such, there's a big push to move to password managers, two-factor authentication, and even biometrics -- because the simple fact is that the password sucks. This week, we're discussing what if anything will succeed in replacing it.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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We QA Tested Vote2016() Against Last Night's Debate; No Code Changes Required (Politics)

by Leigh Beadon

from the sigh dept on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 @ 12:20PM

Last chance to get Vote2016() T-shirts, hoodies & stickers! »

Did you come out of last night's debate feeling thrilled about your choices for president? No? What a surprise. Though there are fans on both sides declaring victory, most of the thinking/awake public saw what we expected: an intolerable buffoon babbling on one side, and the resultant lack of scrutiny for the hard-to-like career politician making worrying statements on the other. Perhaps nowhere was this clearer than on an issue of importance here at Techdirt: would you prefer Trump's directionless ramblings about "the cyber", or Clinton's coherent but terrifying overtures of war with Russia? Take your pick, America. And when you do, we've got a shirt for you.

There's less than a week left to order your Vote2016() gear. The campaign ends on Oct. 3rd so you can get it just in time for election day — and then it's gone for good!

And don't forget to check out our new Math Is Not A Crime shirt, and other designs available for the last time this year in our super-early holiday gear sale.

7 Comments

Nigerian Government Officials Abusing Cybercrime Law To Silence Critical Journalists (Free Speech)

by Tim Cushing

from the won't-someone-think-of-the-lawmaking-children?! dept on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 @ 11:44AM

There's just something about adding the word "cyber" to "crime" that brings out the worst in legislators. A host a badly-written laws have been crafted to address everything from cyberbullying to hacking. These tend to be abused first by those in positions of power.

Nigeria's government recently enacted a cybercrime law which is, of course, being wielded by thin-skinned government officials to silence critics. The cyberstalking provision is the preferred attack vector, placing those targeted by unhappy government leaders at risk of being hit with a $22,000 fine and three years in prison.

Last month, the law was cited in the August 20 arrest of Musa Babale Azare who was detained in the capital, Abuja, by police from Bauchi state. He was accused of allegedly criticising the state governor, Muhammad Abdullah Abubakar, on social media, according to news reports. Azare, who uses Facebook and Twitter as platforms to criticize the actions and policies of Abubakar and his administration, said he was denied access to his lawyer, and that police did not have authority to arrest him outside Bauchi state jurisdiction.

Azare wasn't the only one hauled away by police for daring to publicly criticize officials -- although his trip (280 miles) was arguably the longest. (Azare was taken from Abuja back to Bauchi to be questioned.) Politicians could barely wait for the ink on the signatures to dry before deploying it against citizens who had raised their ire.

CPJ found that at least three other bloggers were prosecuted under the cybercrime act in the space of four months last year after they reported or commented on critical reports.

One "suspect" was refused release until he could come up with a 3 million naira ($9500) bail. Another writer -- a member of a national blogger's guild -- was denied bail three times and held for two weeks before charges were dropped. The third was denied bail and jailed for six months, with four of those spent in maximum security. All three of the cases CJP uncovered occurred within five months of the cybercrime law's passage, which seems to suggest it was crafted with the intent of curbing critical speech, rather than criminal activity.

The irony of this is that the freedom of expression and freedom of the press are both enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Laws can't be made that directly abridge those freedoms, but government officials seem to have crafted themselves a handy loophole that handily allows them to bypass citizens' constitutional protections.

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