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back to article Ubisoft undone by anti-DRM DDoS storm

Ubisoft has confirmed its rights management servers were hit by a fierce DDoS attack over the weekend that left some customers unable to play its games for much of Sunday. The attack is an apparent protest at controversial new DRM controls by the video game publisher which mean customers have to be online in order to play its …

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Yeah I was one of the "small group of players" who were affected by this!

I was seriously hacked off spending most of yesterday afternoon not being able to play the game!

Not impressed at all and would happily accept a patch from UBIsoft to remove the irritation!

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear,

Perhaps taking up a hobyy that doesn't involved sitting behind a computer for the whole of Sunday might be worth trying?

Like girls?

Be still my bleeding heart...

WRT DRM - why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL?

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Anonymous Coward

Theree is a patch available

You can find it on pirate bay called ***Full Version Cracked*** you have to Un-install the faulty version first though. Then you will be able to play without having to be connected to the interent.

Honestly, I don't know where the fuck the publishers think they are going with this shit. Taking the PC games industry to hell in a handcart, with consoles close in tow.

Viva la Indie games!!!!!

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Erm

"why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL?"

I find my ADSL dies when I take the laptop in the car, on the train, in the middle-of-f'in-knowhere.

What about if the phone line dies? Or power goes out?

Laptop still has a good 4-5 hours on it, but no, I can't play the game.

Understandy?

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FAIL

You've obviously..

Never tried working out the cost of five nines uptime on things. You don't get that on residential broadband, so you can be quite happy playing your game, all oblivous, until boom, you're dropped out for no apparent reason.

This is all very acceptable for online games (which have built in methods for handling 'linkdeath'), but are a really, really stupid idea for a single player game, especially one that apparently doesn't cache a save.

Whatever the arguments to and fro about DRM, piracy, ethics and what not, there are two simple facts at the moment:

1) If you purchased this game with the DRM in it, you can't it play right now.

2) If you obtained the pirated version of the game with no DRM, you can currently play it just fine.

All the niceties stripped away, that's what you have. Guess what message that sends to paying customers?

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Re: Oh dear

" WRT DRM - why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL? "

You're not a mobile worker, are you? Some of us find that the odd game installed on the company laptop is a good way to while away a couple of hours in a soulless hotel on the edge of a business park. Two days of always-on hotel internet is the same as a month of always-on home internet.

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Remain Anonymous..

since being such an idiot should be a warning to anybody familiar with your name. After working all week and looking after my newly born son I am quite happy to sit and play some games whilst my wife takes care of the sprog.

In regards to your other comment; Not everybody has ADSL?

Just because they have a games console, does not mean that they always want to hook it up to the net?

The fact that any progress made regardless of time is lost when the internet connection is lost before saving?

Relying on remote servers such as the ones being used by Ubisoft are prone to this kind of malicious interference which affects legitimate players?

Go back to just reading the articles, commenting is not your forte.

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Megaphone

Pirate?

Are you advocating ripping the game off here?

The hard working developers may query your spirit of "viva la indie games". They weren't even aware they were in some commie brotherhood where their hard work was regarded as free content.

They may empathise more strongly with:

"Steal games, destroy the PC gaming industry!" (which is already on its knees begging not to be submerged in console fan goo).

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Pirate

@PirateSlayer

Just in case you missed it, I'm going to copy paste something posted by Juillen 1

1) If you purchased this game with the DRM in it, you can't it play right now.

2) If you obtained the pirated version of the game with no DRM, you can currently play it just fine.

The fact is that Ubisoft have a choice to make. Give their customers an enjoyable and hassle free product or lose sales, whether it is down to apathy or pirates it makes no difference.

I have no sympathy for Ubisoft, or their "hard working developers".

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even worse than detailed in the article

it's not that you "can't save your progress if you lose internet connection" - you can't play the game at ALL if you lose connection. If it dies while you are playing, you will either get punted back to your last checkpoint, or the game will pause, until your connection is restored. So it's not like you can keep going while your train passes through a dodgy connection area and then save afterwards, for example

by default, it saves games "to the cloud", but even if you turn that off an always-on internet connection is required.

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Grenade

About time, El Reg

I was wondering when you were going to get round to mentioning this insane DRM system.

Anyway, it looks like their servers are taking another DDoS hammering at the moment.

Tying a single-player game to a company's servers and requiring a permanent online connection to play? What could POSSIBLY go wrong? Ubisoft need a thorough shoeing about this and some wider press coverage would be a good start.

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Flame

"What could possibly go wrong"

If engineered right this can be done.

Now, paraphrasing your question: "If engineered wrong, what could possibly go RIGHT?"

There are plenty of ways to make this work even in the face of a relentless and overwhelming DOS assault. It is quite clear however that UbiSoft has chosen not to do so.

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This is it!

I'm officially boycotting Ubisoft and all their DRM-infested shite. Even if they publish the BEST game in the world, I'm not touching it until they remove the DRM.

What, do they think we are stupid or something?

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criscros @ 15:49

"I'm officially boycotting Ubisoft and all their DRM-infested shite. Even if they publish the BEST game in the world, I'm not touching it until they remove the DRM.

What, do they think we are stupid or something?"

No, they do not think you are stupid. Theiving shits maybe, but not stupid.

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Stop

That kind of mentality...

...is not going to get you very far in life.

If it was the BEST game in the world I think I would pick it up and play it, possibly on my console instead of PC; depending on how shitty my net connection was.

I don't agree with the DRM but that kind of boycotting isn't going to help. It will just cause you misery.

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FAIL

Paul Smith, Reading comprehension FAIL

What part of "not touching" does your tiny brain not understand?

Even though I would NOT personally pirate a game over the internet, I have no problem with others doing it. Copyright infringement is not theft, it's copyright infringement: Ubisoft loses nothing from it happening, especially if the pirates never intended to buy the game in the first place. Piracy gives people the opportunity to try before they buy, and I respect that.

Stupid DRM like this just makes our lives harder, and the pirates always have a cracked copy within hours. Ubisoft should realise that what they are doing is pissing their customers off, and they'll have to stop when enough people decide that enough is enough.

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Strange that...

...because I always thought if you don't have the balls to stand up for what you believe they'll just take advantage of you.

For example, they might sell you subpar, crippled products at £50. Say nothing, and in a couple of years they might try to sell you even less for £50. In my book, that is a downward spiral, which is what real misery is like.

If we don't speak with out wallets, then what do you propose? A DDoS attack perhaps?

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FAIL

Usual Bad Argument

I loved PC gaming and I've built a fairly hefty PC gaming rig. Then EA Games decided I would get the worst of both licensing and ownership for Red Alert 3. I decided not to buy any PC EA Games titles while they implemented that version of Securom and I'll now do the same for Ubisoft PC titles.

I still buy games but because I don't want my machine infected I buy PS3 games. Because second hand PS3 games are so insanely cheap I tend to buy old PS3 games.The sad thing is I own a PC good enough to run Crysis well, but it's been sat unused for so long I'm considering replacing it with a Dual Core Intel Atom.

But your right rather than come to the conclusion that people like myself are fed up with their invasive DRM, they will probably just decry that the PC market is dying and filled with pirates.

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Anonymous Coward

Er.... yes...

...they DO think we're stupid. And judging from their sales, they're right quite distressingly often.

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@ Where is Ben

That kind of boycotting is really the ONLY thing that will help. How many times have you heard "If you don't like it, vote with your wallet"?

If sales plummet every single time a company tries to pull this shit (and conversely, sales recover at least a little whenever they give in and remove it) that's going to send a pretty clear message: "We don't like what you're doing, and doing it is going to hurt your bottom line."

We definitely DON'T like what Ubisoft is doing here - how else would you suggest we tell them that? I've already decided Ubisoft are not going to see another cent of my money, on any platform, while they keep treating their customers like thieves. That doesn't mean I'm going to pirate it, I can live without any of their games and instead give my money to other publishers who treat their customers better.

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Eh?

"Skid Row has releasing a crack for the game based on this work, Zdnet reports."

Does this mean a crack has been released and confirmed as existing? Or that someone has said they have cracked it but there is no evidence yet?

I feel a bit shafted here by hackers and anti DRM people...what a waste of time.

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@pirateslayer

"Steal games, destroy the PC gaming industry!" (which is already on its knees begging not to be submerged in console fan goo).

So why participate in suicide by using DRM?

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Screw this for a lark

Membership, tuition and liability insurance at BMFA-approved model flying club: ~£40-£120 per annum.

Weston UK Magnum racing airframe and .50-ish engine w/tuned exhaust: £280

2.4ghz Spektrum DX7 radio gear: £262 with 4 high-speed servos

Fuel: Roughly £20/gallon @ 15% nitromethane, enough to last all week.

200MPH so low you're cutting daisies with the prop: Priceless.

There's some hobbies where you don't get actively screwed over. For everything else, there's DRM.

..plus the long-term costs are cheaper than keeping up with PC game specs.

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Alternatively, try one of these...

http://www.su27.de/seite83.htm

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Anonymous Coward

And if you can't afford a hobby...

... take the dog for a walk. Read a book. Get a life. Etc, etc.

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Re: http://www.su27.de/seite83.htm

Dammit, I wish I had £3k per engine to blow. Dat is sum sweet big boy's toy.

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Buy a legit copy, then crack it

That's what I do every time some arsehole comes up with ludicrous DRM like this. I bought the game - so bugger off!

Though I do remember proudly patting my - at the time spanking new - AMD64 box when it turned out that Stardock only worked in 32 bit environments. Bwhahaha.

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FAIL

wow

and I was thinking about buying silent hunter 5....

Thanks for warning me it's DRM'd up the demon hole. I might have to investigate pirate bay as a serious alternative - at least the cracked version will work all the time!

Congratulations ubisoft on forcing people to download pirate versions of your game to actually IMPROVE the experience.

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Re: wow

Not forgetting the lovely bugs that make firing a torpedo more miss than hit, since the TDC seems to not work very well...

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Megaphone

Another...

...stinking pirate.

Why not take the moral highground like the guy above and buy a game and THEN steal it. That way your incredulousness at Ubisoft will be justified and you can't be accused of being a thieving pirate.

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Re: Another

I'm assuming your comment was not directed at me, since I DID buy my copy of SH5. £27.99 from Tesco.

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Anonymous Coward

@wannabe PirateSlayer

When UBI promotes piracy of their own games; forcing their loyal customers seek alternative to UBI's bronken games.

Therefore "vive le pirates"! That bring some common sense and balance to UBI broken anti-piracy strategy.

Also UBI still have an option of avoiding to see more of their customers searching for pirate copies of their games... till then all options are valid.

Of course unless you are one of those fanboys that prefer to give away your money and not be able to play the game you purchased. In that case, tastes, flavours and masochism aren't for discussion!

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yes actually, and proud of it.

I frequently download 'evaluation copies' of games.

It save me wasting £20-40 on a bug ridden, non functional piece of plop.

But yes, if anyone is wondering, I do buy those games that I feel are worthy. I even (sometimes) pre-order a game praying it'll work properly, but only if it comes from a company I know and trust like the total war series.

For everything I'm not sure of, there's piratebay. THEN the shop if it passes the bar.

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Why the hell...

..can't they just copy Valve/Steam and create a Ubisoft equivalent of Steam so that games can be activated once and the client itself would run the game, but not require to be online post the initial activation? Being forced to login online, every time you wanted to play a game in single player mode is just stupid. What about people who want to play on a laptop while on the move etc?

What a bloody awful DRM idea. Makes EA seem like nice bunnies in comparison!

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Steam?

Steam is just a piece of the same DRM crap.

As far as I am concerned anyone who demands any internet "activation" or "verification" for a product that has been supposedly *sold* over the counter is a fraudster and a thief.

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FAIL

fail

No, it isn't, dumbass. I know this as my ADSL fell over recently, and my steam games worked just fine.

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Grenade

Stream = more useless shit

FFS, stream is more useless shit, I bought a game last year, "requires online registration to activate". Fair enough I thought, I've no problem with that.

What the bastards don't tell you (and no it wasn't mentioned on the URL on the back of the box either) is that stream is going to install a 60MB runtime that is going to be active ALL THE TIME and is going to be CONSTANTLY COMMUNICATING with the stream servers, even if you are not playing the game. And it took four attempts to install the game because the game couldn't access the stream servers.

I played the game once (Dawn of War II) and removed it.

So despite buying DOW 1 and all the expansion packs I will not be touching any more games with this sort of shit DRM (GW please note the loss of sales as well).

So there games producers, do you seriously think I am going to put up with these abuses of my PC and (capped) broadband connection? So shove your game and its crap DRM up your arses, the only losers are your stockholders.

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Fail yourself

Just because you don't know what DRM is, Steam does not stop being a DRM crap.

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FAIL

I wonder

if you are running the same version of Steam that I am

You verify your game (and maybe get a patch or 3) after install, then when you next start it up if it cannot find an internet connection, it will start in something called "offline mode"

Ok you may not be able to hack your way through hoards of left 4 dead zombies with some on-line friends, but I can still give a few headcrabs a damn good wacking.

Easiest way to get steam into off-line mode I've found is to use zonealarm firewall and use the internet lock function, then start steam.

As for the 'always on' DRM of ubisoft......... guess which games company aint getting my business in the coming year.........

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@ FMVK

In Steam, click Settings. Right there on the very first page is the option to start Steam automatically when Windows boots. Untick that box, done.

Or are you so blinded by your rage that you can't untick a simple box?

At least Steam has Offline mode once the game is validated!

In fact, the Pros of Steam COMPLETELY outweight any minor Cons. I only buy games from Steam, period.

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Some one doesn't know how things work on ta interweb

Congrats on not having a clue. :)

Steam does not have to run in the background all the time... Only when you want to play a game. Don't like it running at startup.. simply stop it from running at startup.

Want to play a steam game, run steam, play the game.. close steam. It's really that simple.

Steam doesn't 'FORCE' you to be online all the time, it has an off-line mode too. Sure you activate the game online, heck.. you download the game from their servers... you get free updates and patches when required... and you don't have to wait for a game to be delivered or trapse around the shops to buy it.

Is it a perfect system... no. Is it an adequate system... kinda.

The only things that bug me about steam are the prices and no resale.

They're scared to compromise retail outlets by offering games cheaper and/or are ited to specific prices by the developers/distributors. This means games that have been reduced in the shops are still more expensive from Steam. So I never buy a new game from them, I stick to the slightly older and cheaper games that are usually less than £15.

The fact you can't resell games on that you own is a pain in the arse too... but as I only ever buy budget games from them, it makes no difference... I can't sell the large pile of games I paid full price for either, even when asking for a couple of quid each.

What Ubisoft are doing is just wrong... it's nothing to do with anti piracy... it's about moving their customers to a subscription based game model for everything. Forcing them to be online just to play an offline single player game is just pathetic, and whoever though up that idea should be fired... All that money will be wasted developing this system... I'm already boycotting Ubisoft games, and I've boycotte4d other companies for similar systems in the past (Ubisoft and Codemasters over starforce for example)... It makes no difference to my life if I buy a certain game or not. For the same reasons I won't buy another GTA game from Rockstar, whilst you can play offline... you cannot play the same game you've been playing for hours/days/weeks when you logged into your online account... and they also force their Rockstar social game client on you, as well as games for windows... All that for a badly coded bug ridden game that is virtually unplayable on high end hardware... and the reason for it is Rockstar made a game to run on hardware that didn't exist at the time... bullshit excuse to avoid addmiting the fucked it up... Crysis was another one that did a lousy coding job too.

I vote with my wallet... I can live without Silent Hunter 5... I still play III & IV and the mod community is alive and kicking for those.

Got DRM, Not getting my money.

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FAIL

Err..no

I understand you're angry but not even knowing the actual name of the service you are decrying doesn't gain you any sympathy and makes us all wonder if you know how to handle your hardware or software.

Steam, not "Stream", has never required an "always on" connection for single player games. At worst you will need to have Steam running in order to play but guess what, Steam has an easily selectable Offline Mode. Once running in Offline Mode, restarting Steam gives you the option to stay in offline mode. A quick web search tells me that DoW2 has an added step of telling Games for Windows Live to go offline too.

Steam also has the option, per game, to not automatically download updates. This is useful if you accidentally do connect.

So, other than the first connection to Steam to register the game and download the initial patch, you would never need to connect again. If you then want to avoid having to redownload the initial patch for all eternity, copy the game's install folder from the Steam directory (after the patch) and save it or burn it to disc.

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Wiggles

I think you have missed the point in that steam is a choice to use some people like it as i do, the ubisoft thing isn't a choice and requires constant connection which is the retarded part.

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I shouldn't respond to someone who types a five letter word with 6 letters...

...but I will.

a) dawn of war 2 is close to 2 orders of magniture bigger than 60 megs, I think you can spare the HDD space

b) you have a choice about running Steam* on startup or on game launch, y'know... I run it on startup because I have many games and that way they can download updates when I turn the computer on rather than when I go to launch the game, if you feel differently then fine

c) all "require online activation" systems conceptually work like Steam* (install a gatekeeper program which validates on install and helps run the actual game program), the difference is they don't have a user-space UI and a nice friendly entry in your add/remove program list

d) Unlike other schemes, a Steam*-registered game can be redownloaded at any time i.e you don't even need your disk any more.

Personally, I find point d makes it worthwhile even for single-player games. The integrated updating / friends system makes it a must-have for multiplayer

*Note spelling

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Hail to all Steam-lovers

Makes me think all Steam lovers are suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. You know, "it's OK to be raped by this guy because he uses a lot of vaseline and lets me smoke afterwards" type of thing...

Steam changes your status as a consumer - you no longer have control over your copy of the game, you can not sell it to somebody else (prohibited by EULA and enforced by the software now).

You not only now have to buy your copy of the game but also "subscribe" to Steam, from where it follows that if the "subscription" is terminated your games are no longer yours. In fact it means that the games you "purchased" you have actually rented and you are entirely dependent on the continuing good will and kindness of the providers (this is the key indication of the "rape" bit if you have not yet noticed).

Steam requires online activation - so your legitimately bought game is worthless unless you get a separate permission from Steam. Which may be withheld.

Steam can disable your account or any individual game licence at any time without having to provide any reason. You paid for your game? That's just tough.

Steam can introduce charges for any "service" or for playing any game (for which you have already paid for) at any time if they feel like it.

Steam requires automatic updates of itself, which you cannot block (and don't have any rights to) and it can install and delete any software from your computer which it does not like.

Steam does not let you roll-back software updates in case an update proves incompatible with your system.

Steam let's you redownload your games but I am not sure if it is possible if you have not properly logged out from your account first. So it your PC crashes suddenly and unrecoverably (e.g. HW failure) and you have to replace it - "your" games are gone.

Yes there are many useful features that might have made Steam a good service but by mixing it with DRMs they have totally destroyed its value. Unless of course you enjoy being screwed.

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Grenade

@Vladimir dumbarse

Several replies below have covered how and why you're wrong but I wanted to add my 2p.

I actually find Steam really useful. It rather helpfully keeps a record of all the CD-Keys for all the games I've bought for me long after I've lost the manual, disks, case whatever.

If I decided I'd like to revisit a game or need one specific for a LAN party all I have to do is log onto steam and direct to drive it. No disks, no keys and no mucking about.

It's also very handy for managing DLC & updates for said games.

DRM? Not that I've noticed, I know that's part of it's function but it's not intrusive.

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@Stone Fox schmuck

So you have not noticed the DRM? Good for you. Not intrusive? If you play with a hand grenade it's not intrusive either. Until it explodes and blows your ass off.

Go and get yourself something else unintrusive - an ID card or something... or read my post properly before replying.

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Grenade

Strong thread of fascism here isn't there...

I don't want software with DRM so I won't buy it is perfectly fair and reasonable, and doubtless the market will demonstrate whether its better business to have x% paying of a presumably larger number of users rather than 100% of a lower number of users and copy protection of some kind.

But can anyone make a morally acceptable case for DDOS, hacking or whatever? Surely all its doing is attempting to remove other folks freedom to decide for themselves whether the downsides of copy protexcted software exceed the upsides? As such its just a variation on the terrorrism theme isn't it? And also, of course, liable to bring down legislation. I wonder how long net anonymity will last with so much of this sort of thing going on...

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Ethics..

Well, ethically, DDOSing anything isn't good. What they aren't doing is taking anybody's choice about DRM away; that's a completely different argument.

What they're doing is DDOSing a set of machines. The fact that the DRM reacts that badly to it is a seperate issue. Effectively what they're doing is showing people the choice they've made; it's quite easy for a company to keep this quiet amongst the masses in normal cases (put it in, and nobody notices until it's too late, then you get individual complaints here and there, and you can palm individuals off by saying it's all the fault of the broadband provider). However, with this massive flaw now making the news, and affecting so many people all at once, the forums are full of masses of irate people who all of a sudden realise that they're not the only one. It's not their broadband provider. It's actually the way the software company designed it to act.

So, ethically bad to DDOS. Morally grey (causing a service failure, but showing people that this service failure is a highly possible event, not just some abstract conjecture, or something they don't even know about).

Rather than remove people's choices to decide, I actually think it increases them (you can't decide about something you're either not aware of, or don't understand; now, I think people both understand, and are aware of the issues, so they can make valid informed choices).

No variation on terrorism. Terrorism is all about "do something we want, or we do something that terrifies you". There is no threat here, just action. I think it's more akin to vandalism. Definitely not terrorism (who'd be terrified of not being able to play a game? And I've never heard of annoyorism, so that's out).

This kind of thing has been going on for ages. It's already illegal, so legislation is already in place. That really helped, didn't it?

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WTF?

fascism? terrorism??

Sorry but I'm not terrified by the thought of a server on the internet being unavailable. Terrorism is where people might get physically harmed. DDOS is protest, not terrorism. Like picketing a store front. Nothing like a suicide bombing.

FFS, it's bad enough with idiots screaming "THEIF! THEIF!" when the subject of *COPYRIGHT* *INFRINGEMENT* comes up. Especially idiotic when the rights holder tries to eliminate the rights of the purchaser, like backup copies, or even more ridiculous like in this case trying to monitor all use of the work that's already been paid for. Take your "fascism" and "terrorism" extremist nuttery and go away please.

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