DRM-Plus, Or How Eidos Is Treating Anyone With A Jail-Broken iPad Like A Criminal

from the everyone's-a-pirate dept

You know the DRM story already. Game publisher creates game, has everything needed to release it, then slaps on some annoying digital rights mechanism. Often times the DRM is pointless, getting cracked quickly, all while either annoying customers or creating major headaches. When it works perfectly, anyone who pirated the game will either be unable to play it at all (pending a crack), or they'll be subject to more creative annoyances, my favorite still being Ubisoft's vuvuzelas. All in all, DRM is futility in motion. But at least it's usually an honest attempt to punish software pirates.

That's why we may have to come up with a new term, like DRM-Plus, for what Eidos has done with their latest Deus Ex game. Released for iOS, the game works exactly as described...unless you've jail-broken your iPad or iPhone, in which case you can't fire the guns within the game.

Encountered by Redditor KipEnyan and verified by several user reviews in the app store, jailbroken players starting up the first mobile installment of the Deus Ex series are treated to a few cutscenes and a movement tutorial before running into the message above. It comes up during the game's shooting tutorial, and while one would assume players could still stealth through the game, I'm not sure they can progress beyond that point without tranquilizing those guards.

Mind you, this isn't pirates running into this issue. While I am sure there are some shady players attempting to get The Fall to run on their jailbroken iPads and iPhones, there are plenty of honest folks who dropped $6.99 on the game, only to have it treat them like pirates.
Worse yet, customers (customers!) have been indicating that there is absolutely zero warning that the game won't function within the listing in the app store. In other words, people plunked down their money for the game, intending to play it on their iDevice, which is perfectly legally jail-broken, only to find out that Eidos has capriciously decided that their devices indicate they're pirates.

Very, very few publishers do this. Why? Because it is probably the best indication that a company has attained peak levels of dick-ish-ness this side of owning a Hummer H2. Sorry, Eidos, but not only is jail-breaking an iPad legal, it's a growing trend. To go out of your way to piss these people off is an incredibly efficient way to mount enough ill will to torpedo what sounds like an otherwise amazing game.



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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:32am

    Amusingly there's a very easy solution for this issue: piracy. Thus we arrived at that "lol" moment where a tool designed to stop piracy actually promotes it among the paying customers. Hilarious ;)

     

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  2.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Re:

    Yeah, I understand there's already a patch for the pirated version.

     

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    Guardian, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:24am

    i have an android

    naaaaa naa naa na na

     

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  4.  
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    pegr, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    And another you may not know

    Time Warner's IOS app for video playback for cable subscribers will not work on a jailbroken iPad either. In fact, that's been true for quite some time.

    But in the tit-for-tat game of DRM vs. hackers, the hackers always seem to be at least one step ahead.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    so why not try one or both of these choices? dont buy it (getting money back if already bought because as far as a user is concerned, the game is broken, not functioning correctly) and/or suing Eidos for taking money under false pretences, or suing for deformation of character, something similar that will bring what is happening out to the general public, making Eidos look exactly as they are, complete twats!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    This reminds me of the time all my PC games stopped working because I logged on with an administrators account. I mean, why would any none-pirate, none-lying dirty scumbag thief ever need unrelated administrative powers for one of their own devices?

     

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  7.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    Problem is that the DRM also appears for cracked versions of the game and not just unlocked iPads.

    No form of DRM like this is good.

     

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  8.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    Oh yeah...I remember Rogue Squadron 3D doing that!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    Did Apple have a hand in this, starting a trend to reduce the value of jail broken devices?

     

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  10.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    It could be worse...

    Admittedly it could be much much worse. One of the many reasons the Apple Lisa was a commercial failure is that once you inserted a floppy disk into the drive...that disk was tied to that specific computer...even for backups.

    Timothy Geiger, I know of one other game that had DRM similar to this one from Eiods....Knights of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords DRM prevented the game from loading old games from the main menu if the Disc was under spun by the DVD-ROM Drive.

     

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  11.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    ...until the cracked version is patched and then yet again the pirates have a better version of the game than any legal purchaser.

    "No form of DRM like this is good."

    I agree, although the words "like this" are redundant.

     

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  12.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    Well yes and no. Jail broken iPads are still supported by Apple. Funny thing is, the DRM seems to also pick on unlocked devices and wifi onlu devices as well....I checked with mine and my wife's iPads.

     

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  13.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    "Very, very few publishers do this. Why?"

    Because most companies aren't stupid enough to cripple a legitimately purchased product? I don't agree with developers intentionally crippling a game when it detects that it's been pirated, but I can see the reasoning.

    Crippling a game that's legally purchased just because you don't like the platform the user has decided to run it on? Utter insanity. Not only do you piss customers off, you give them a choice - stop jailbreaking your device (which may affect a huge number of other legitimate apps and uses) or pirate the game. Guess how many people will think twice about pirating a copy of a game they've already paid for just so they can use it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    This is shocking news.

    Eidos is still alive!?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: i have an android

    It's not out for Android. Which I suppose is the ultimate DRM.

     

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  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: i have an android

    Not out for my system? I'll go without, thank you.

     

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  17.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:12am

    Hey

    If you are gonna be treated like a pirate, you may as well act like one ;-)

     

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  18.  
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    Zac Morris, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    H2

    Really? "has attained peak levels of dick-ish-ness this side of owning an H2 Hummer"

    So you know the life of every H2 Hummer owner?

    I'm a staunch supporter of EFF, ACLU, etc. Like Techdirt, I believe that DRM does nothing but harm paying customers while giving Company Execs a false sense of security.

    I own an H2 Hummer, that I use primarily for towing and transporting a group of people when we travel. I have added several efficiency mods, including a solar array, electronics "chip", etc. It is 10yrs old and still in excellent working condition. It is actually one of the few modern vehicles that is easy to repair because there is enough engine space to get at components without having to remove the entire engine! When the engine declines in repairability then I plan to convert it to a diesel engine, and look into various biodiesel solutions. I plan to own this vehicle, easily, another 10-20 years!

    Add to all of this that I work from home (no commute), have no children, and use a 60mpg motorcycle for "local travel". So even with said H2 my carbon footprint is still less than the average American.

    You do nothing but show you own ignorances and reduce the effectiveness of what you're trying to communicate, when you add such blatant "comparisons" to what you believe are "universal" bad guys.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Re: It could be worse...

    "once you inserted a floppy disk into the drive...that disk was tied to that specific computer...even for backups."

    Are you sure? I know the Lisa (depending on the model) used unusual proprietary floppy media, but Ive never heard of disks actually being locked to a specific computer.

     

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  20.  
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    Transmitte (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Jailbreak away..preferably far away from me

    My question? Why bother with a device that you have to do this to in the first place? I know it's somewhat off topic, however, I've never understood why people want to own something they have to go to all this trouble to use how they want when there are so many other choices that are just as good if not better than apple and it's "i" devices.

    Yes it sucks that the developers are pulling this and should take a bowling ball to the face for it's arrogance, but, I'll stay with android simply because I can do what i want with it and not have some company telling me what I can and cannot do with something I own(or for that matter, dealing with some shit heel of a company pulling garbage like eidos has).

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re: H2

    It's pretty dickish to get so worked up about an offhand remark based on a common joke/stereotype.

     

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  22.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: H2

    Heh, that was about to be my comment. Hey, own what you want but that reaction to a jokey aside was dickish and fitting with that stereotype, even if it's for different reasons than normal.

     

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  23.  
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    Rich, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: H2

    Wow, aren't we a delicate snowflake.

     

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  24.  
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    Eo Nomine, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    While I appreciate that this site will reflexively get outraged at anything intended to, this comment is simply incorrect:

    "In other words, people plunked down their money for the game, intending to play it on their iDevice, which is perfectly legally jail-broken, only to find out that Eidos has capriciously decided that their devices indicate they're pirates."

    Sorry, but the current exception for "jailbreaking" under the DMCA only applies to hand-sets and not to tablets, so jailbreaking a tablet actually is not necessarily legal (unless another exception applies). I would have hoped that a site that constantly rages against the DMCA might actually understand the basics of how it works...

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: H2

    In all fairness, he's probably got a bit of "straw that broke the camel's back" going on. Likely put up with similar humor too often before and as a result is a little sensitive.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: i have an android

    It's the only DRM that actually works. Also sets paying customers to zero but you have to be willing to loose some paying customers or the pirates win.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    a tablet is just a large phone without a sim. it shouldn't matter.
    Besides even if you want to stupidly split hairs, it's a game for iOS, not just iPads but iPhones as well, so jailbreakers of iPhones are still in the right

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:48am

    Re:

    It might be semi-legal in your strange country (poor assholes don't even own what you buy anymore huh?), it's 100% legal in mine (and most of the rest of the world). This DRM is being inflicted globally not just on US customers.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    DRM Digital RENTAL Media!

    You will NEVER own what you pay for DRM laden software.

     

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  30.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: H2

    "Really? "has attained peak levels of dick-ish-ness this side of owning an H2 Hummer"

    So you know the life of every H2 Hummer owner?"

    Take it easy there, champ. It was just a joke...

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    Where have you been? Eidos was purchased by SquareEnix and have been making games for them ever since.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    When the Library of Congress creates an explicit exception it means it's a priori legal. The reverse, however, is not true. So what it really means when the Library of Congress says 'well tablets are a broad category' is that if someone were ever to be taken to court over jailbreaking an iPad they wouldn't be able to use the exception as a defense but they could avail themselves of any number of other defenses (not the least of which is arguing that the material difference between an iPad and an iPhone from a DMCA standpoint is nill).

     

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  33.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    The fact that jailbreaking the same OS on different devices has varying legality depending on the device it's installed on only illustrates how broken the system is.

     

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  34.  
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    Guy From V, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Slater? Screech? Jesse?

    I saw the post by "Zac Morris" and the following post say something about "Lisa" and I thought there had to be some Bayside High shenanigans going on here.

     

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  35.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    Re: H2

    Thanks for proving his point.

     

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  36.  
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    Miff (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: i have an android

    Eh I've seen apps refuse to run on Android if it's rooted, which is a problem for custom firmwares that can't ever not be rooted.

    Heck, even certain vendors' software (at least Samsung and T-Mobile did this) will do anything between refuse to run and intentionally brick the device if it even detects rooting.

     

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  37.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: H2

    I dream of a land where people will laugh of jokes even if they directly affect themselves.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: i have an android

    Well if you have no customers due to excessive DRM you will go out of business, and their will be no more problems of piracy.

     

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  39.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: i have an android

    See DRM works! Zero piracy.

     

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  40.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    TOS are "No Refunds" and arbitration for any disputes. Both of which you agree to by buying the game.

     

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  41.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    EA would like a word with you...

     

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  42.  
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    cpt kangarooski, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: It could be worse...

    No, he's right. In addition to using a bizarre and lousy floppy disk design -- the Twiggy -- it also had an anti piracy measure. All the Lisas had a unique hardware serial number which it would write to install disks to prevent software from being installed on multiple machines.

    Luckily even though the Twiggy was originally going to be used on the Mac as well (there are photos of a prototype equipped with one floating around somewhere), they eventually went with the far superior Sony 3.5 400kB disks instead and seem to have lost this 'feature' along the way.

    Apple has an ancient document describing this: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA31513

    There is a way to remove the serial after it's been written to disk as I recall, but not having ever used a Lisa, I don't recall the particular way to do it. Later models of Lisa moved to Sony 3.5" disks; I don't remember if this was maintained. My guess is probably yes if you used the Lisa OS, probably no if you used the Mac OS (which was ported to the Lisa eventually).

     

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  43.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    IANAL, but I wonder if you be able to make the case that since you never got the goods (a functioning game), the TOS are irrelevant as the contractual deal was never completed, so you can sue in small claims court.

     

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  44.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    a tablet is just a large phone without a sim. it shouldn't matter.


    But he's right. Legally, it does matter. That it doesn't make sense just points out how completely insane the anticircumvention clause is.

     

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  45.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    You do once you strip out the DRM.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: It could be worse...

    Ok, I get it now, it applied to software installation disks, but not ALL disks. Never knew that... Lisa was made almost 10 years before I was born though, so that's probably why...

    What a d*ck move by apple...

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re:

    You jailbroke iOS? Ok no big deal. Wait, you jailbroke and THE SCREEN HAD MORE THAN A 5" DIAGONAL! TERRIBLE DAMAGES! SUE! SUE! SUE!

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    I'm pretty sure this opens up Eidos Interactive to wire-fraud charges, though I'm not 100%. I mean, paying for an item that you cannot use for its function without an in-person access is probably the definition of wire fraud.

     

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  49.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    iPads

    Will it run on a wifi-only iPad? Mine has no jail to broken out of because it doesn't have cellular internet acccess.

     

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  50.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    You do realise that in the other countries of which the USA is not part of this action by Eidos and Apple themselves under numerous Trade laws and/or Consumer Acts is actually unlawful, illegal or in some cases both!

    Selling something to someone that you know does not work as advertised is classified as milsleading at best fraud at worst.

    Oh and Most of those places jail breaking ANY Apple product is highly LEGAL!

    I know for a fact that Apple are about to find themselves in a deep and hugely expensive (the fines because astronomical) legal problems due to this (and Eidos as well) within Australia. Where our laws are actually about protecting the consumer against shysters and fraudsters like Eidos and Apple are showing themselves to be in this matter.

    The EU, and New Zealand, etc wont be far behind

     

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  51.  
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    Amber, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Re: H2

    Hey, I resemble, er, resent that comment!

     

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  52.  
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    s7, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: It could be worse...

     

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  53.  
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    cpt kangarooski, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It could be worse...

    Yep, that's the one. And I swear one of those was in the original Mac 128k manual, albiet at such an oblique angle that it's almost impossible to tell. A true rarity, it belongs in a museum!

     

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  54.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Re: i have an android

    If your metric on how much your game is being pirated is how far below predicted profits the game is, then the pirates win no matter what you do.

     

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  55.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 1:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    This. You can't just create a contractual obligation by shining a flashlight beam on someone. A t-shirt that says "by reading the front of my shirt you agree to be bound by the contract on the back." has no legal force to it.

     

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  56.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 1:15am

    Re:

    If you've bought a license to install and use one copy of the software on one device, but the DRM stops it from actually running, is it a license violation to install a hacked copy of the software as your one copy on one device?

     

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  57.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 1:26am

    Re: iPads

    You're confusing jailbreaking and unlocking. Unlocking is where you remove the carrier restriction, so that naturally only affects phones & 3G devices. Jailbreaking is where you remove Apple's restriction to only install pre-approved apps downloaded through their app store. You can still jailbreak your iPad, but if you haven't done so you should be safe - from the above description at least.

     

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  58.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It could be worse...

    The Twiggy was on the prototype Mac. They opted for Sony's 3.5" Diskette drive in stead.

    Here's more on the Lisa's quirks.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/2026544/the-little-known-apple-lisa-five-quirks-and-oddit ies.html

     

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  59.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re: iPads

    I have an unlocked wifi only iPad...the DRM still affects my legitimate copy if the game.

     

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  60.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: Re: H2

    Welcome to Canada. Home of the Newfie.

     

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  61.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: H2

    And the Red Green Show...you cannot forget Steve Smith :-)

     

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  62.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: i have an android

    Trust me....the DRM isn't worth it.

     

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  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re:

    It wouldn't be a contract violation, but it would be piracy (assuming you downloaded the hacked version. I think you'd be OK if you hacked it yourself.)

     

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  64.  
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    Lurker Keith, Jul 14th, 2013 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re:

    There is something either in the law or otherwise understood & enforced by the Legal System called an Implied Warranty, in this case, specifically a Warranty of Merchantability (translated out of Legalese: "it is fit to be sold"/ the maker promises it works).

    Basically, for this case, if you buy something new, it is supposed to work in a certain way. For shooting games, you should be able to shoot. This game does not work as it should on certain devices.

    Some States or Local Governments make it non-enforceable, if not illegal, to disclaim the understanding that it will work as it is supposed to. This is why most, if not all, disclaimers/ warranties that try to limit your rights state that you may have more rights or that some of the restrictions may not apply depending on where you live.

    By this reasoning, all DRM that renders software to not behave as it is expected to is illegal in those places that make disclaiming the implied warranty non-enforceable. Especially since DRM is an intention crippling of the product.

     

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  65.  
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    Lurker Keith, Jul 14th, 2013 @ 4:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Grrr...

    intentional crippling*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, it wouldn't necessarily be piracy, depending on whether or not the EULA specifically states where the copy must be from for the license to apply. If it does not say that, then the license applies to pirated copies as well, meaning that you can torrent the licensed software after paying for it without it being infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    i'm so sick of all this drm. f you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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