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Piracy fines could be prevented with proper videogame IP protection?

by Steven Williamson on 27 August 2008, 10:39

Tags: PC

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Following the news that UK resident Isabella Barwinska, an unemployed housewife of two children, received fines totaling £16,000 for illegally downloading a copy of Topware Interactive's £9.99 game Dream Pinball, a software security expert has spoken out on his frustration at the current lack of IP protection for videogames.

  Mike Dager from Arxan Technologies, a company who coincidentally help to protect Intellectual Property from software piracy,believes that although Topware Interactive are doing the right thing to combat piracy, games shouldn't be released without the proper protection.

It is good that game makers like Topware Interactive are following the lead of the business software and music groups in taking a strong stance to protect the intellectual property that they have worked so hard to create. It is rather sad however that software, games and music are not being effectively protected by developers. Banks don’t send their vans full of cash out into the world unprotected, and neither should valuable content like games go out online without protection to stop people from easily ripping it off, " he said.

Historically most anti-piracy and copy protection applications defend the content but not themselves. Modern technologies guard the content of software and also work to guard themselves through defending, detecting and reacting against all types of attacks, even healing themselves, calling for help or just shutting the program down.”

Investing in protection like this offers a far more cost and time effective solution that going to court after the damage is done,” concluded Dager.

Topware Interactive is just one of five UK  publishers, which include Codemasters, Atari, Reality Pump and Techland, who have applied to the courts asking for ISP's to give them access to names and addresses of people in the UK who are known to be downloading games illegally.

So far 500 letters have been sent out to the accused, with each demanding £300 in compensation. The five publishers plan to send out a further 24,500 letters.

Is there any form of IP protection that can stop illegal downloads? Or is Dager living in dream land? Let us know your thoughts in the HEXUS.community forums.

Read more on the story here.

Source : ITB Gaming

HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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Dager is an idiot. IP protection technology? THERE IS NO SUCH THING. It's a fantasy land, and serves no other purpose than to stop casual piracy and piss off ligitimate customers.
Dager is an idiot. IP protection technology? THERE IS NO SUCH THING. It's a fantasy land, and serves no other purpose than to stop casual piracy and piss off ligitimate customers.

I'm sure that in the orwellian nightmare that is trusted computing, software could be better protected.
Nothing is uncrackable, but if everything was encrypted and computers would only open what they are allowed to, cracking things would be a whole lot harder.
That said, I will never buy anything protected in that way. Vista's closer to that than I ever wanted to get.
At this point Mike Dager needs to put his money where his mouth is. If Arxan believes in the strength of their solution, they should be able to reference a “popular game” title (not some other obsure title) that uses their protection and show that the scene has not cracked for X amount of months, etc.

From a review of thier press and their marketing materials they have primarily use with business software and not popular consumer based stuff. There is a big difference in protecting from cracks on CAD software versus a popular game title (grand tehft, quake, halo, etc). The desire to be the first to crack a new game title is a huge motivator and has been the key reason nothing can prevent cracking in this space.
Fully agree with points in above post. I have looked at Topwares list of games and while I think I recognise a few, I think the majority are pants (although I'm sure they made thief). Probably can't sell any games so are using these underhand tactics to source income.

Personally I wouldn't download pinball anyways, so 1980's:rolleyes: