Ubisoft Having A Crack?

By John Walker on July 18th, 2008 at 12:26 pm.

'Now arrest ourselves for terrorism.'

Piracy, as we are so frequently told, is wrong. Apparently it funds child abuse and terrorism (by means they’re not quite ready to explain just yet). It’s a serious business folks. Which makes it a bit odd when Ubisoft get spotted apparently doing it.

People who bought Rainbow Six Vegas 2 via Direct2Drive were having a bit of a problem with the 1.02 version of the game, with it refusing to install. So Ubisoft or Direct2Drive released a v1.03 patch to fix it. Unfortunately for them, canny people took a closer look at the solution in place.

So what happened? Well, to ensure that players no longer needed the CD to play, the iniative was taken to use a No-CD crack. For those unfamiliar with the seedy underworld of piratic evil, a No-CD crack is an illegal patch that when installed means a game will run without the CD in the drive. This means you can then do such horrifically despicable things, like lend the game to your friend. (Or worse, play a game you’ve bought without having to find the disc every time). But, see, the problem here is Ubisoft didn’t botch their own No-CD fix, but rather, er, one was borrowed from cracking group, Reloaded.

Oops.

So, in short, Ubisoft or Direct2Drive took a bit of a silly shortcut, and nicked an illegal crack and put it in their code. Which raises the question: is this an official endorsement of No-CD cracking? Or is it their belief that since the game is theirs, and these people illegally created code to manipulate it, they believed it morally theirs to take? Or is this piracy of piracy? While it’s a little unlikely that Reloaded will be suing Ubisoft for the theft of their intellectual property, it’s slightly amusing that this is essentially what has happened.

'And there does seem to be an awful lot of people trafficking going on.'

The discussion thread on the Ubi forums has now been locked, with a closing comment from UK Community Manager, Ubi.Vigil:

I’d say this discussion has run its course, as such it is now locked.

The file was removed from the site over a week ago now and the matter is being thoroughly investigated by senior tech support managers here at Ubisoft.

Needless to say we do not support or condone copy protection circumvention methods like this and this particular incident is in direct conflict with Ubisoft’s policies.

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76 Comments »

  1. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I didn’t dismiss him. I’m sure what he says is entirely correct, it’s just meaningless. Crime is funded by the proceeds of legal and illegal acts, just like everything else is.

  2. Novotny says:

    Would it be alright with everyone if I just giggled for about 15 mins? Haven’t anything intelligent to add but I’m tickled pink

  3. GeorgeR says:

    That’s just horribly funny to me. I’m a bad person.

  4. SuperNashwan says:

    “…the law doesn’t actually concern itself with plagiarism.”
    Why does everyone on the internet think they’re a lawyer? Moral rights

  5. Test says:

    Interesting. Oddly enough, through a quirk in the copyright law, Ubisoft is probably in the clear. If a court were to classify Reloaded’s No-CD crack as a unauthorized derivative work, Reloaded could have no copyright in it and Ubisoft, as the copyright holder, would be able to stop others from using it.

    This is best illustrated by a case involving Rocky IV. The released movie closely resembled an unsolicited version that was sent to the studio (and for which the author received no credit). But because the characters were copyrighted and were used without permission by the script author, the script was an unauthorized derivative work, and its author had no copyright in it, and even if the studio had used the script, it would have no liability for copyright infringement.

  6. Forceflow says:

    I use No-Cd cracks to keep the discs themselves nice and shiny. Constantly swapping them and getting them in/out the sometimes crappy box can damage them quite a lot.

  7. Devan says:

    It might be worth it to clarify that circumvention is only illegal in some places. Not that the big industries aren’t trying their hardest to change that..

  8. geraint says:

    SecuROM do this. Football Manager 2008 – the first game in the series to use their protection, caused problems for a minority of users (I think because their DVD drives were incompatible with SecuROM) and SEGA/Sports Interactive pointed these customers in the direction of securom’s tech support email. they got back to people with a modified .exe that removed the games cd check every time it was opened. the major problem here is that Sports Interactive had included ‘deliberate bugs’ for want of a better term, triggered by modified .exes to stop the flood of noCDs that clog up torrent sites from the day of release. So this incredible lack of communication between SecuROM and the developers (i presume it would have been SEGAs preference to go with them, rather than SI?) meant some legal customers couldn’t play the World Cup, Euro 2xxx or African Nations Cup properly ever! (it would ignore qualifying results and enter San Marino, Liechtenstein, Antigua, Burkina Faso etc instead)

  9. Jeremy says:

    All games should have an option to play without the DVD in the drive. People want to be able to play without having to carry a disc around with their notebook, or without having to go hunting for discs – and since the technology clearly permits it, why shouldn’t they? It’s a thoroughly unsuccessful copy-protection method, anyway – pirates circumvent it in days.

    More importantly for the game publishers, do they really want to be sending their legitimate customers to warez sites to get nocd cracks? If the person who has bought your game has to get a pirate file to make the damn thing work as they expect, then aren’t they just likely to pirate the whole thing next time?

    You’re turning legitimate customers into pirates.

  10. Champagne O'Leary says:

    To Rev. Stuart Campbell

    You’re correct in what you say, and it is a technicality, but it was just to prove the point that it’s not complete lies when they said it. The proceeds of the videos went directly, not indirectly, to them, as they did from a number of other sources – but if you bought any pirate video there was a high chance you were putting money straight into their pocket.

    So silly as it may seem, they still have a point – and just because it isn’t true in this country anymore, it still could be true elsewhere. It’s not unfair for them to state that, is all.

  11. Champagne O'Leary says:

    The message I take when I read between the lines of piracy warnings is not, “stop downloading games”, it’s “Buy games, buy games, buy games”, essentially making me feel guilty for not having my PC up to spec.

  12. sinister agent says:

    The message I read between the lines is “Give us money, you stupid, revolting scum”, but hey ho.

  13. HunterAmacker says:

    You would think it wouldn’t be to hard for Ubi to make there own, seeing how they obviously have access to there own source code.
    It also makes it look like the crackers might be MORE skilled than the actual developers, as they created a no-cd crack without any type of source code to base it off of.

  14. Nick Halme says:

    Who knows who piracy funds; certainly not the people who made the game :)

  15. Al3xand3r says:

    But as said before, on the PC where most complaints are done for, it usually funds nobody as you don’t pay to download the copies, like console users and/or movie watchers pay for illegal copies, sometimes without their knowledge (though I’m sure most of them are well aware of it).

  16. GothikX says:

    LMAO @ “These terrorists are mysteriously funded sir”

  17. Kavika says:

    “Why does everyone on the internet think they’re a lawyer”

    Law is such a racket. Many lawyers are such opportunists, such blithering idiots (or are determined to act that way), it seems that there isn’t that high a bar to meet. Think Thompson. Think Hot Coffee. Think most class action lawsuits.

    Now, somehow, I cannot understand law unless I have been to law school for XX years – unless I am a lawyer. Does that say something about our legal system if we cannot understand and distribute information on the system we are supposed to be living under?

  18. Sage says:

    Wow thanks for actually explaining that. I’ve read 3 other articles and I still couldn’t figure out what was going on.

    That is pretty funny.

  19. Ryan says:

    Or, you could avoid all this and play games on console, but then I haven’t played PC games since I stopped using Windows, and it’s just my opinion but you don’t have to deal with all this b.s. when you game on console. Not that consoles don’t have problems (Xbox Live allowing DLC on only 1 Xbox, etc.) but much less hassle for me.

  20. Charlie says:

    “Now, somehow, I cannot understand law unless I have been to law school for XX years – unless I am a lawyer. Does that say something about our legal system if we cannot understand and distribute information on the system we are supposed to be living under?”

    That’s a very good point!

    @Ryan- No. Just no. I do have a 360 but you really can’t compare the experience. You don’t get anywhere near the level of immersion from a 360 game. I really feel gamepad controls make the game worse, not looking for an argument just my opinion.

    As for the bs, that is the worst and best thing about PCs! You can change the games and make them better, mods etc. And although it can get frustrating at times I enjoy fiddling with my PC, I suppose in the same way people enjoy tinkering with cars and what not. My PC is mine and no one else has one like it, the 360 is Microsofts and they constantly limit what I can do with it and censor what I try to say in my bio!

  21. Benjamin says:

    Next time Ubisoft complain about people pirating their software they wont have a leg to stand on!

  22. Nick says:

    This is instantly and infinitely my favorite thing to happen in the video game industry ever.

  23. CrazedLeper says:

    propanol says:

    “We’re not stealing it – we’re taking it back!”

    Think that’s going to work for O.J.?

  24. ross says:

    I didn’t know CD cracks were illegal. In order to use them, you first must have a copy of the game. If you got THAT by downloading it via torrent etc, it’s illegal. But you can by all means play a game you already own without having to dig out a different CD- which is a mission for some hardcore gamers with dozens of different games installed.

  25. Frye says:

    Why doesnt UBI do what they threatened for years: Stop making PC games. It will increase the quality of the average pc game anyhow, they won’t be missed. There will always be a market for crappy fps games with slightly better graphics than last year’s and my guess is that console players are exactly the market they should be aiming for. Britney Spears sells well, but it’s not quality music. That’s perfectly fine but i won’t miss her if she were to vanish. I didn’t buy a single game since they removed my (together with 100′s more) post from their forum about Vegas not working. I feel so strongly about not buying UBI games, that i didint even buy Anno 1404 which i’d probably love.

  26. xtinctionevent says:

    I didn’t buy a single game since they removed my (together with 100’s more) post from their forum about Vegas not working. I feel so strongly about not buying UBI games, that i didint even buy Anno 1404 which i’d probably love.

    Man, I bet they’re really sorry now.

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