EA Sued Over Spore DRM

In fact, Electronic Arts is now faced with a lawsuit as specified in detail over at Courthouse News Service. Apparently, a class action suit filed with the Federal Court claims that the PC game Spore secretly installs an undisclosed program that disrupts the stability of the operating system. The suit also claims that the program will even disrupt hardware operations.

The suspected program is, of course, SecuROM, and Electronic Arts has taken huge amounts of heat for its tight DRM restrictions since the game hit store shelves. But what is troubling is that not only is SecuROM not labeled on the game’s package, there’s no clue that the security software even embeds itself into the operating system during the game’s installation. To make matters worse, SecuROM is uninstallable, and requires a full format of the hard drive in order to remove it.

"Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if the uninstall Spore," the complaint states. "The secret SecuROM program is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations."

Represented by Alan Himmelfarb with KamberEdelson of Vernon, Calif., and New York, the plaintiffs seek retribution for "disgorgement of unjust profits and damages for trespass, interference, unfair competition and consumer law violations."

So far, Electronic Arts has not released an official comment. Recently the company announced that it would allow five activations per copy, rather than the three allowed at time of shipment. However, Electronic Arts stands firmly behind SecuROM, reporting that the DRM policy "is essential to the economic structure used to fund the games." The company currently uses the security software in other titles such as BioShock and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

But according to Electronic Arts, Spore is actually a huge hit across the PC, Mac and Nintendo DS platforms despite the DRM woes. "Spore is a hit," exclaims Frank Gibeau, president of the EA Games Label. "Will Wright’s latest deliver an incredibly diverse game that appeal to casual gamers and the core alike. We’re off to a great start moving into the holiday season and believe Spore will deliver a platform of creativity for gamers of all stripes for years to come."

To read the actual lawsuit filed in the Federal Court, download the PDF here. This week Tom’s Games posted a review of Spore that can also be accessed here.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • noobe1981
    Good I'm glad their getting sued. Specially when its something worth being sued over. I just hope they don't settle easy and the people really take EA to the bank.
  • Vikingex
    Personally I don't think it is as bad as most gamers think (e.g. Crysis Warhead allows 5 computer/motherboard changes, and unlimited reinstalls). Don't see the problem there, do you? They have to try to stop piracy somehow (though I know it's still easily cracked).
  • roachrage
    I am done with EA. They obviously can't be trusted. "They have to try to stop piracy..." It doesn't even slow it down. Spore has already been cracked and distributed. The only thing it hurts is the purchasing public.
  • "The secrethttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret SecuROM program is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations."

    Once upon a time this was called hacking wasn't it
  • starhoof
    This program itself seems like a virus... they should be sued for sure...
  • noobe1981
    @ Viking.. DRM in no way.. I repeat no way even makes a dent in piracy. It only hurts legit people. Spore was cracked damn near as soon as it came out. Just like all other games. They can say its all about piracy but bottom line is DRM's are directed at resellers.
  • jkflipflop98
    Spore wasnt cracked as soon as it came out, it was available for download a week before it hit the shelves. DRM does NOTHING to stop piracy. It only pisses off the folks like me that actually buy games to help support a company.

    I'll be up at midnight november 3rd waiting for my copy of L4D to unlock. There's no way in hell I'm playing Spore unless I pirate it. And even then it's not worth the payoff.
  • badboy4dee
    EASUKS!=buttholes !;) I'm sooooo glad and happy about EA being dragged into court. I really hope they get sued to... they really earned this time. V1per I agree and that should be the main focus of the lawsuit. Installing a Root/hack into the OS WITHOUT notifying the user is hack! Sony got sued over doing this with their DVD's if I recall correctly. Now it's EA's turn to get their Pee Pee smacked but I think a MUCH stronger message needs to be sent to businesses. Don't rent the game five times for $60...just pathetic and stupid. I got somethin EA can't root!

    The Silent Majority
  • adamk890
    Good its about time EA got taken down off its high horse and have to come good about all of this stuff. Honestly i decided to buy a copy of bioshock for my 360 (witch recently died) instead of my computer so i wouldn't get securom but like an idiot (or the casual gamer) i installed spore without checking for DRM.
  • wavebossa
    As already stated, DRM is no end all solution to piracy, but to be honest this is getting silly.

    Half a million downloads of spore before it came out? Piracy is sickness, and needs to be solved. If not, YOU CAN GUARANTEE that great games will never come to the computer.

    So this is for all of you out there who are getting mad at EA. Take one second to actually THINK! EA is reacting (or trying to react) to piracy, not the other way around. Get mad at the people who feel that they are entitled to every game just because they have a freakin internet connection. Pirates make me sick, and they are ruining it for us all.

    No Madden next year, no Live, no NHL, No force unleashed. It has already begun, damn pirates. BUY A GAME.