Max Embarassment: Max Payne 2 Steam

By Kieron Gillen on May 12th, 2010 at 4:49 pm.

Say what you like about Max Payne. 7 years old, and the screenshots still look exciting. Go Max! Cause Payne!
Remember a couple of years back when it seemed Ubisoft were using a No-CD crack to make their Direct 2 Drive versions of Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 work? Well, news reaches us via LewieP and Torrentfreak that apparently the Steam-version of Rockstar’s Max Payne 2 incorporates the No-CD crack of the now-defunct Myth group. Or, at least, that’s the only feasible explanation of why the group’s ASCII logo appears when nosing at the executable in a hex editor. Torrentfreak cover the story in more detail. In short: oh dear. In less short: oh deary, deary me.

, , .

173 Comments »

  1. Wulf says:

    Haaaa!

    Ohnoes, the evil viruses within are now going to rape and ravage the computers of those using it! And they’ll get a subpar experience, worse than what the game would normally provide.

    Hahahahaha, yay.

    • Wulf says:

      Sarcasm and irony, if anyone missed it.

      I mean, there’s no way anyone can doubt cracks if the bloody publishers are supplying them with their own games! Hahahaha. I love it.

    • Oak says:

      It’s a rapier, Wulf, not a battering ram.

    • Wulf says:

      It just how I felt like using it. In circumstances like this, I believe a battering ram is completely necessary!

  2. Mikhail Popov says:

    That’s actually pretty awesome.

    • Wulf says:

      Revelry and jubilation! I got a kick out of this. I’ll stop laughing eventually, maybe.

  3. DK says:

    Isn’t that technically stealing the pirates work? Pirating the Pirates so to speak.

    Pirates need to release hacks that require the user to be always connected to the pirate-server to stop evil pirates like Ubisoft from pirating the pirates.

    • Jimmy says:

      I always thought that warez should be released under a creative commons license.

    • Ed from Brazil says:

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      I think technically there’s probably some clause in the EULA that says “you can’t make derivative works or modify our program, but if you DO modify our program, your changes belong to us” or somesuch.

      Or if there isn’t, there soon will be …

    • 1nightstand says:

      That’s an interesting angle, Ed.

  4. Taverius says:

    Wow, Ubisoft.

    Hats off, like.

  5. Zyrxil says:

    Little known fact: The version of Arcanum on Good Old Games uses the cracked .exe from Fairlight, with the group’s info removed from the header. I suspect this happens a lot because humans are really gdamn lazy.

  6. Seniath says:

    Crap, I’m already running low on popcorn as it is.

  7. HarbourMaster says:

    Perhaps publishers will start respecting one (just one) of the reasons that pirates claim to crack protection – to preserve games for future generations, and not let them die in a self-induced puddle of DRM ooze.

    Ha, ha, ha. Look unicorns!

  8. MWoody says:

    Y’know, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Modifying an old executable to remove CD checks takes time and money, and there’s even the chance that the people doing the port don’t have easy access to the original source code. When there’s a freely available version out there, put out by people who are themselves IP thieves and therefore in no position to bring suit, why spend the time and money to duplicate that work?

    • Veret says:

      Because some companies like to spend a lot of time and money painting the entire pirate community as outlaws and anarchists–remember that it was the anti-”counterfeiting” groups that started using the word “piracy” in the first place, for that exact reason. Incorporating the pirates’ work into their own public releases means admitting that cracks are not unreliable, are not made from the tears of orphans, and won’t give your computer herpes.

    • Wulf says:

      Exactly, Veret. You’re right on the money. That’s why this is all of great amusement, to me.

    • MWoody says:

      It really only admits this ONE crack is reliable. I’d still stay the hell away from random shit you download from the Pirate Bay. Remember, kiddies: antivirus software only catches the poorly written or extremely widespread viruses.

    • jalf says:

      The term “piracy” has been used in this context for literally hundreds of years. It did not originate with today’s media corporations.

  9. robrob says:

    Just a note that this is Rockstar screwing up this time, not Ubisoft.

    • Unaco says:

      I was just about to post this. The article, as it stands, makes no mention of Rockstar, but does mention Ubisoft (in re: The Vegas Six-2 Rainbow or whatever)… so I can understand peoples confusion.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Unaco: Yeah, I didn’t say it, but you’re right it’s worth tweaking to make it clearer. Fixed.

      KG

    • RedFred says:

      This may be true but when DRM is mentioned Ubisoft get the first prize every time.

  10. DMcCool says:

    This is fantastic.

  11. Simon Dufour says:

    I agree with you. The original .exe was their property. Isn’t the illegally modified .exe their property as well?

  12. terry says:

    I was about to laugh my ass off at this but then I realise I have MP2 on Steam at home and so am BREAKING THE LAW LEGALLY and then I got very confused.

  13. subedii says:

    I believe we should sue Rockstar for willingly breaking the DRM on their own title, in blatant contravention of the DMCA.

    • DMcCool says:

      If Rockstar were still DMA that would’ve been a truely wonderous sentence.

    • Ed says:

      Rockstar was never DMA – Rockstar North was, but complaining to them about one of their sister companies would hardly make any sense!

  14. Mistabashi says:

    I don’t think there’s any issue with copyright here anyway, since the crack is a derivative work of Rockstar’s code, so still falls under Rockstar’s EULA much like a mod does.

    • Tei says:

      Most EULA has ben tested on tribunals, and probablly all are void.
      And you don’t have to agree the EULA to write a nocde patch.
      Hell.. you don’t even have to use the original .exe. You can make a patch that write nop,nop,nop,nop at offset 0×4455. I don’t know here, but is really possible to create patchs that are not derivative work.

      Also what about using the logo? If we use the logo of ubisoft on our games, Ubisoft will probably sue us. Why Ubisoft can use the logo of that group? This maybe is ok (since the logo is not registered) but is again dishonest.

    • jsdn says:

      These teams need to start copywriting their cracks, so they can make the same claims as the publishers when stuff like this happens.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      The EULA is just an extension to the copyright laws on this case. It’s completely irrelevant. Copyright laws have provisions for derivative works. The EULA just exposes them and it would hold on court.

      What usually doesn’t hold on court, when it comes to EULAs, is other limitations companies like include there and that are not covered by copyright laws.

      Finally copyrighting a crack is, of course, impossible.

    • Esc7 says:

      Actually Mario any creative work is copyrightable, even a series of computer instructions. Also a copyright is automagically applied to the creator of the work when he or she creates it, no official process needed (at least in the US).

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      It’s a good argument Esc7. And It is true for most purposes. But I mention somewhere else on this thread, that copyright violations cannot themselves be protected under copyright because they constitute an effective criminal offense.

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      @Tei:

      It’s possible to legally create a program that writes some bits at a certain place and cracks an executable. But the resulting executable, now modified, is still a derivative work of the original unmodified executable.

      Chances are, they’re distributing these modified executables (or DLLs), not distributing their original game and a patcher program. So if (if!) the law says they own derivative works, then they own the modified executable.

  15. Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

    As Max himself might say; “There’s no true morality anymore. In this town, the heroes are villains and the villains are heroes. The stench of DRM fills my nostrils.”

    P.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Wait, is that actually a line from Max Payne? It sounds so familiar…

  16. bookwormat says:

    I don’t understand why this should be an embarrassment for Rockstar. Did they claim earlier that the no-cd cracks used to pirate their games were not working, or are of bad quality?

    It makes sense to me that they use an existing crack instead of making one themselves. And since the nocd cracks are illegal to use for anyone but them, it makes even more sense to just save money and use what is already there.

    • Wulf says:

      You fail to understand, I’ll explain.

      In some countries, having a method of circumventing DRM is completely illegal. It involves reverse-engineering and all that good stuff, that means that everyone who buys and downloads Max Payne is a criminal. Rockstar aren’t for providing, but the buyers are for owning, that’s just the way the law is laid out.

      Hence why this is hilarious and a bit of an embarrassment. It also makes me really happy because it further proves what I’ve said about the reliability of cracks all along.

    • Ricc says:

      It’s not a legal problem, it’s an image problem and makes them look like massive hypocrites.

    • bookwormat says:

      I do understand (and loathe) the DMCA, but it does not apply to the actual owner of the property. Rockstar using a crack from the myth group does not legitimate the creation of the crack.

    • Wulf says:

      “Rockstar using a crack from the myth group does not legitimate the creation of the crack.”

      That’s exactly what I’m saying, yep. A crack is a crack. If Rockstar hasn’t written up something clever in their license then it’s still a crack. A crack is a piece of code which circumvents DRM. A crack is illegal, it doesn’t matter whether it came from the copyright holder or not.

      I totally agree!

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I applaud your virtuous attack on those good-for-nothing bad-seeds at Rockstar, but you’re making little to no logical sense.

    • bookwormat says:

      A crack is illegal, it doesn’t matter whether it came from the copyright holder or not.

      Give me another try to explain my point: This is how I understand the DCMA:
      A crack itself is not illegal under DCMA. Making one is, as is using it to circumvent someone else copy protection.
      But you are free to remove your own copy protection at any time of course:

      to `circumvent a technological protection’ means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological protection measure, without the authority of the copyright owner

      So Rockstar using a software someone made (illegally) to circumvent their own protection is perfectly legal. And since the crack already exists, why should they make their own?

    • Clovis says:

      No, it is not illegal to use a crack under the DMCA. It is illegal to distribute a method of circumventing an effective encryption method. It is not illegal to use one.

    • Clovis says:

      @bookwormat: Heh, beat me to it. Well, kinda’. I don’t think making a crack is illegal either. It’s all about distribution.

    • Thants says:

      Rockstar using a crack from the myth group does legitimate the creation of the crack, not legally but morally. It’s hard for them to argue that these cracks don’t serve a legitimate purpose if they’re shipping one themselves.

    • bookwormat says:

      It’s hard for them to argue that these cracks don’t serve a legitimate purpose if they’re shipping one themselves.

      I guess I dare to disagree with this also. I think Rockstar does not argue that the cracks cannot serve a legitimate purpose, but that they do serve a illegitimate purpose. Did Rockstar ever state that a crack cannot be in any way useful, not even for themselves?

    • Gunrun says:

      Wait a second are there seriously people in here that think Rockstar are breaking the law by removing the DRM from their own game?
      Seriously?
      No, but really??
      You people make me sad.

    • Wulf says:

      @Gunrun

      I didn’t say that, I don’t think it’s illegal for Rockstar to do whatever they like with their game, it is theirs after all, this is a point I’ve never argued with. The only thing I doubt is that if a crack is supplied by Rockstar and it isn’t changed in any way so it is still a crack (a crack being illegal and illegitimate originally), how does this suddenly become legal for the user to own? The user now has software that countermands the DRM, created by people who reverse-engineered that DRM.

      My consideration was that according to the game’s own EULA and certain parts of law the crack provided is actually contraband, since on one hand Rockstar are providing an unaltered crack, but on the other hand they’re telling you that it’s illegal to use cracks. This leaves the user in a very nebulous legal area. Is it or is it not illegal to use this crack? What I’d like to see is a statement from Rockstar making this crack (and only this crack) legitimate and legal.

  17. fuggles says:

    But..but why would you open maxpayne2.exe in notepad?

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      notepad is a text editor not a hex editor.

    • fuggles says:

      Yes, but the steam thread shows it’s opened in notepad and is a text file rather than a hex file.

    • Azhrarn says:

      That’s not notepad, it’s Notepad++, which is a multi-purpose editor quite often used by IT folks.

      It can handle XML, Binary and hex without issues along with offering syntax checking for C++, C# and a number of other programming languages.

    • kikito says:

      To see how they implemented the NOCD thingie. Presumably after checking that the “legal” binary file looks similar to the cracked “ilegal” file.

    • Wulf says:

      I use Notepad++ myself, handy little program. The hex-editor plugin it has is better than the vast majority of hex editing programs in my experience.

  18. mbp says:

    I am not a lawyer and all that but I don’t quite see the problem. Rockstar own the code so surely they are allowed modify it as they see fit. Surely you are not suggesting that the pirates are entitled to claim copyright on code that was specifically written to violate copyright.

    • Wulf says:

      See my reply to bookwormat above.

      To sum up (for the lazy): Owning code that reverse engineers and circumvents DRM is illegal, the source of the crack is irrelevant, it’s still a crack and therefore illegal for the buyers to have in their possession. They’re smuggling digital contraband in with their game! It’s not illegal for them, but it is for the buyer.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You really need to calm down wulf. The joke is on the cracker group.

      The code is now inside a licensed product. It’s legal. If it was copyrighted code then there would be a problem. But it wasn’t. No one buying Max Payne 2 on Steam is going to be downloading an illegal product.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m fine, Fig. You’re the one who usually gets worked up, these days. In fact, I’m loving this and getting a good laugh out of it, but you might get a bit steamed at what I have to say.

      “The code is now inside a licensed product. It’s legal.”

      This is only true if they actually included a permission with their product to use the crack that’s present, otherwise it’s still an illegal crack, the source doesn’t matter. In the eyes of the law it’s code that circumvents DRM, that it comes from the copyright holder is irrelevant. It exists, and whomever owns it is in a very dubious legal position.

      “If it was copyrighted code then there would be a problem. But it wasn’t.”

      No one’s saying it was. Was that a straw-man?

      “No one buying Max Payne 2 on Steam is going to be downloading an illegal product.”

      If there’s a crack bundled in, then it’s illegal, it’s a pretty simple concept. Again, if they don’t actually give complete permission in their license to use the crack, then it’s still an illegal crack. This is not a hard concept to understand, now is it, eh?

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Your assumption that they have to ask permission to a cracker group to include their code in the game is just too funny.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh Fig, Fig, Fig… read.

      Did I say that they needed the permission of the cracking group, even once? Of course I didn’t. You’re making a fool of yourself, and that’s funny. Please read. Please? Thank you.

      What I said is that they need to give the consumer permission to use the crack, not that they need to get permission from the cracker, that’s idiotic. Read.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I read very well :)

      You see, what other type of permission could you possibly be talking about? Are you really trying to say here that they have to give people permission to use a part of their code? Because that myth code is now an official and legal part of the product, distributed by the company that holds the copyright over that product.

      I could only assume you meant other type of permission. Because at least the idea that you would have to ask permission to the cracker group, as ludicrous as it is, made more sense.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh this is getting embarrassing…

      “I read very well :)”

      And yet you don’t. :P

      “You see, what other type of permission could you possibly be talking about?”

      Permission to use the illegal crack present with the game, to stop it from being, you know, illegal. It’s still a crack, so they have to give their say in legalese that it’s okay to use this crack. This shouldn’t be such a hard concept to grasp, but apparently it is.

      “Are you really trying to say here that they have to give people permission to use a part of their code?”

      It’s a crack. It’s code that circumvents the DRM that wasn’t created by them. So in the eyes of the law it’s still a crack, which is illegal. You don’t seem to be following the law, here, and you fail to understand that law isn’t always logical.

      “Because that myth code is now an official and legal part of the product, distributed by the company that holds the copyright over that product.”

      No, it’s a crack bundled with the game. They didn’t create the modification and the header of the cracking group is still there, so it’s still a crack, and cracks are illegal by the terms of the law.

      “I could only assume you meant other type of permission. Because at least the idea that you would have to ask permission to the cracker group, as ludicrous as it is, made more sense.”

      Yeah, but you jumped to conclusions and made yourself look silly regardless, just because you wanted to one-up me, which backfired badly. :p

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “Because that myth code is now an official and legal part of the product, distributed by the company that holds the copyright over that product.”
      If the cracked version incorporates Myth’s code and not just their logo (e.g if a former Myth member was working for Rockstar on the Steam release, they might have inserted the logo as an easter egg, without), then no, Myth’s code is not a legal part of the product, unless Rockstar have obtained a licence from the Myth member(s) who created it (vanishingly unlikely), or unless it is determined that the crack is neither an independent work or a derivative work (quite possible, but by no means certain in general).

      Wulf’s argument about it violating the DMCA is clever, though fallacious, as “to ‘circumvent a technological measure’ means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner”, and the copyright owner of the protected work (the *uncracked* Max Payne) is implicitly authorising this circumvention by providing it to the public, via Steam.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Yes, it’s funny alright.

      Yes, cracks are illegal under copyright law. But yes, the right holder can grab a crack and make it legal. Because they are… the right holders.

      You just don’t get that last part, stuck in that idea, you find more comforting, that the mean and evil publisher is forcing people to break the law. It’s just doesn’t happen because you say so. And since you failed to mention you are a layer or a right-holder (I am the latter) with enough knowledge of copyright laws, I suggest you stop misleading people and producing that kind of FUD.

    • Wulf says:

      A crack is a crack, lying about it doesn’t change the nature of the crack or legitimate the creation of the crack (as pointed out by another, here). They specifically need to make the crack legitimate, otherwise it’s still an illegal element within their game. If someone is found with a cracked game, that could easily be considered a pirated game, since it contains a crack and circumvention code which wasn’t created by the publisher. Therefore, under the law, that’s still an offence.

      You’re both assuming that there’s some magical pixie dust that makes the crack legitimate because Rockstar supplied it, and I don’t really need to say anything beyond that.

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Wulf, you’re wrong here. Using the crack to bypass the protection on a work when authorised to do so by the copyright holder of that work (Rockstar) does not contravene to the DMCA. Please stop saying that it does. Rockstar have authorised the use of this crack by their customers when they supplied it as part of the game.

    • Wulf says:

      Well, I’m off to play Champions Online. You can argue about your magical pixie dust which makes cracks completely legitimate and legal all you like, but it seems some people will persist on trying to apply logic to the law. You can wave your magic wands and try to claim that a copyright holder could supply as many cracks as you like, and that all those cracks would magically become legitimate and correct within the eyes of the law, and not illegal at all. But under the terms of the law, this is nonsense.

      I can say it until I’m blue in the face, but you’re going to believe in your pixie dust regardless. And I will persist that a crack is a crack, and the supplier doesn’t make a crack legitimate if it was illegal in the first place. If a food supplier modified their food with marijuana provided by someone else, that would be plenty illegal, and this is no different. I’m frankly amazed by the idiocy of some people in regards to this.

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Wulf, you’re talking out your arse. I’m not arguing magical pixie dust, I looked up the relevant sections of USC 17, so I’m arguing the law.

      You on the other hand are confusing the protection of copyright and the use of protection circumvention measures and coming to false conclusions, as well as drawing flawed analogies to marijuana usage which operates under a completely independent and completely different part of the law.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Whether or not it’s legal isn’t really relevant, Rockstar isn’t going to sue anyone for their own software. However, them using the crack is the funny part. Meaning they’re obviously okay with this crack, so why not others?

    • Lilliput King says:

      “However, them using the crack is the funny part. Meaning they’re obviously okay with this crack, so why not others?”

      The idea being they’re okay with using the crack as long as some other DRM scheme replaces it (in this case Steam). Which doesn’t really get us anywhere as an argument.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Personally, I think this was unintentional. I subscribe to the thesis that someone did this without the leadership consent. Probably some coder tasked with removing the DRM and, being late, deciding to just slap the crack in there. I cannot imagine this in any other way. With the leadership consent to apply a crack, this process would almost certainly be monitored and the Myth logo would be removed. None would be any wiser.

      In any case, whether that is what happened or not, this constitute is one big embarrassing moment. That much I agree. The PR department must be wondering what did they do to deserve this.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      Why does Wulf have to make a dick out of himself at every single opportunity?

      If you really want to argue about a point at least get a series of informed points to put across, rather than slowing building up into one terrifying ball of sulk after you have had your unsubstantiated ideas trampled.

    • Wulf says:

      Why am I attacked by people whose names I’ve never seen on RPS before? That’s really kind of sad. :p It’s like someone is bugging their friends to come along and provide backup.

      As far as I see it, I’m not making a dick out of myself, I just don’t see why the law and the EULA can say that cracks are illegal and yet this one is okay to own, it’s my opinion that if something was illegal originally then it remains illegal, no matter which hands it passes through.

      I’d back down if these were well known RPS names all having a go at me, but it’s just one or two and a slew of people who barely post or that I’ve never heard of, so yeah.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “it’s my opinion that if something was illegal originally then it remains illegal, no matter which hands it passes through.”

      But what does your opinion have to do with anything, given that the legality of the situation seems (as far as I’ve been shown by the references posted here [which have all been US law, incidentally, but let's go with that for now]) to be contrary to it?

  19. Premium User Badge phuzz says:

    If you think this is funny, go check out the comments in the linked TorrentFreak article.
    Apparently Rockstar are infringing on the copyright of MYTH by reproducing their logo without permission.
    Err, quite.

  20. Redd says:

    Paying to pirate. Steam is the new Usenet.

  21. Gorgeras says:

    No one says they’re breaking the law, it’s the principle of it. No publisher uses DRM with the intention of it not working and they use DRM on the premise that they have a moral right to control their work: no publisher argues that they want to maximise profits by making customers pay the price of inconvenience even if that is what they might think.

    Their moral standing point is undermined when they themselves use other peoples work without credit, especially as they lose the moral high-ground in opposing the purpose of that work(deep breath), for using it for the very same purpose which they opposed.

    • Mr. ThreEye says:

      Actually, they do give myth credit :)

    • Wulf says:

      They’re not breaking the law, no, but they’re unwittingly having all their customers do that, aren’t they?

      I love this, and I do hope it continues. Who will be next? EA? I’m betting on EA.

    • FluffyPanda says:

      @Wulf:

      They aren’t distributing a crack, they’re distributing a pre-modified executable. So their customers aren’t in violation of the DMCA / EUCD as they are not themselves bypassing copy protection. Rockstar would have been in violation, except that they own the rights and can therefore provide themselves with authorisation.

      Even if they were providing an unmodified executable and a patch which removed the cd check they would still be ok as the legislation expressly permits them to authorise others to remove their protection.

      So it really isn’t a story about legality, but about hypocrisy.

  22. Tei says:

    This is intelectual disonesty on his finest.

    A write code, B guy copy A code and distribute it => Illegal
    B write code, A guy copy B code and distribute it => Illegal

    I can visit your home, and steal your TV. This don’t enable you to visit my house and steal my TV. Law don’t work like that.

    The other question is: Why? maybe the source code of the game is lost, maybe this is done to make the release cheaper,…

    • Wulf says:

      I want to put it down to bumbling incompetence and laziness at its finest, the least the coder who’d been paid to do this could have done is removed the header. >.> Haha, oh well. It’ll be interesting to see what Rockstar have to say about this.

    • stevehatesyou says:

      It’s more like you stole my TV and dropped your wallet in the process. Fuck you, I’m keeping the wallet.

      Anyway, just because Myth altered Rockstar’s code, it doesn’t mean that code is no longer owned by Rockstar.

    • Wulf says:

      Well, speaking for myself, I never said otherwise.

      But it is illegal for a person to own code which circumvents DRM. That’s easy enough to understand, or it should be. Whom supplied the crack is irrelevant, because a crack is a crack. So Rockstar are smuggling something that’s illegal for the buyer in with their game.

    • Tei says:

      “Anyway, just because Myth altered Rockstar’s code, it doesn’t mean that code is no longer owned by Rockstar.”

      Not just altered, but added some new code. This new code is copyrighted by Myth. So the copyright of the resulting exe is Rockstart and Myth.

      Suppose this:
      Myth create a file image.jpg
      Myth modiffy this file, adding maxpayinefull.rar to the file, resulting in image.jpg (that weights 200 MB).
      Is image.jpg copyright of Myth, or is the file copyright of Myth and Rockstar?
      With your idea, image.jpg (200MB) is derivative work, and is owned by Myth.

  23. stevehatesyou says:

    The crack was applied by the owners of the copyright. They’re perfectly within their rights to remove their own DRM. There’s no legal issue here.

    • stevehatesyou says:

      ^ That was a reply to Wulf.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t get why you don’t understand this.

      Owning a crack is illegal, yes? Does it matter whether the source of the crack was the copyright owner in the eyes of the law? Not really. Does this mean that owning a crack is breaking laws in regards to circumventing DRM? Very likely.

    • Wulf says:

      It seems pretty cut, dry, and simple to me. Really.

    • stevehatesyou says:

      I don’t get why you don’t understand this.

      Rockstar owns the code, yes? Rockstar is allowed to sell different versions of their own code, yes? If you buy a version of the code from Rockstar that does not contain DRM, does this mean that you are somehow circumventing their DRM? No. You simply purchased a DRM-less version of the code from the copyright owner.

      The “crack” is just a hex-edited version of the game’s original binary. It’s the original code, with DRM taken out. If you take DRM out yourself, it’s illegal. If the copyright owner takes it out, it’s legal.

      It seems pretty cut, dry, and simple to me. Really.

    • Wulf says:

      You’re operating on logic. The law is not logical.

      What makes a crack downloaded from GameCopyWorld different to one bundled with a game on Steam?

      “I don’t get why you don’t understand this.”

      Monkey see, monkey do.

      “Rockstar owns the code, yes?”

      Yep.

      “Rockstar is allowed to sell different versions of their own code, yes?”

      Yep.

      “If you buy a version of the code from Rockstar that does not contain DRM, does this mean that you are somehow circumventing their DRM?”

      Nope.

      “No. You simply purchased a DRM-less version of the code from the copyright owner.”

      If Rockstar did the modification, sure, but they didn’t. Myth did. Therefore Myth are responsible for illegally circumventing the DRM, and that makes the crack illegal by proxy.

      “The “crack” is just a hex-edited version of the game’s original binary.”

      If you want to oversimplify things, yeah.

      “It’s the original code, with DRM taken out.”

      It’s the original code modified in an illegal way by a third party.

      “If you take DRM out yourself, it’s illegal. If the copyright owner takes it out, it’s legal.”

      If they take it out themselves, yeah, but they didn’t. Hence ‘crack’.

      “It seems pretty cut, dry, and simple to me. Really.”

      Monkey see, monkey do… again.

    • stevehatesyou says:

      “Monkey see, monkey do.”

      I was trying to point out what an obnoxious prick you’re being by using your own condescending language. You still insist on being a prick, so I’m done arguing with you.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Unless they modified their EULA to be okay with this.

      I’m fairly sure the new laws they’ve been pushing don’t attack companies at all. After all, Canada is a part of this and it will suddenly be open to DMCA style takedown notices ala Youtube as soon as this goes through. They didn’t have ANYTHING like that before.

      You can wield law as a sledgehammer even if you’re wrong since most people do not have the money to challenge you, especially in a civil case.

    • bill says:

      Cracking someone else’s security is illegal.
      Cracking your own isn’t.

      There are many companies who employ people to try to crack their systems. This isn’t illegal. If those same people then tried to crack their systems without permission it would be illegal. Same people. Same action. Different legality.
      If you lock yourself out of your car and use something to break into it, that’s not illegal. If someone else does it without your permission, it is.

      Or, for another example: You’re a landlord and you find out your tennant has been illegally subletting his room and made copies of his keys.
      You confiscate his keys, kick him out, and then use those keys yourself. He made them, but it’s illegal for him to use them. You didn’t make them, but it’s legal for you to use them.

      Publishers are dumb because they pay for DRM that locks them out of their own software, and they don’t keep unencrypted copies (or even seem to hang onto the source code). But them using cracks to unlock their own games doesn’t seem to be a legal issue.

  24. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I’m with Rockstar. Good on you boys! Show them pirates you can pirate their stuff too.

    They do all the work, and a few years later when you go DD, you slap their crack on your game and redistribute it at cost 0. Because it’s now under your license, you aren’t even distributing piracy. It’s your code now.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, and we all have illegal cracks in our bought games.

      Hahaha. Yep, go Rockstar!

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      No, you don’t. And all your explanations why they would are wrong. You just don’t seem to get it that Rockstar holds the rights to the product. They can do well as they please as long as they themselves don’t violate others copyrights. They took a violation of their copyright and worked it out in their benefit. It’s now licensed code.

      And that laughter sounds more like anger.

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “They can do well as they please as long as they themselves don’t violate others copyrights.”

      Exactly, and it’s arguable that Rockstar is here infringing the copyrights of the creators of the crack, and certainly is infringing the copyrights of the creator of the logo.

      Note that copyright is very complicated, finicky, and often doesn’t conform to common sense.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      The crack was an illegal product up until that point. It cannot be protected by copyright laws.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      In other words, you cannot protect with a copyright, violations of a copyright.

    • Wulf says:

      *rolls his eyes.*

      A crack is a crack. The source of the crack is irrelevant unless they’ve given explicit permission to use the crack, which they have not.

    • Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

      Mario: But is a crack a violation of the work’s copyright, though? That is a very thorny question with a potentially huge impact on many, many legitimate software products. The crack as distributed by Myth is undoubtedly violating the DMCA (although if it’s more than five years old then Myth can’t be criminally prosecuted for it, but could still be sued by Rockstar for it), but that does not mean it is not subject to copyright itself. But you keep asserting that it isn’t, with no basis.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      *rolls his eyes too*

      No. A crack is just a crack. The moment it is adopted by the right-holder the crack becomes their domain under copyright law. It’s not the crack that violates the law. It’s the people who developed the crack and those, with the exception of the right-holder, who use it without the rights-holder permission.

      As soon as the rights-holder adopts the crack as a part of their code, under their product license, the crack becomes a part of the product, protected under copyright law and ceases to be illegal. And the act of selling that product, under the rights-holder license and approval, immediately gives the buyer all the necessary permissions.

      I had enough of this discussion.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      That was a reply to wulf.

      @ velvet

      Here, crack is being talked in the context of a piece of code that violates the DMCA and any copyright laws. Myth crack was a violation of those laws.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well you can’t copyright something that is illegal.
      Hence why Max Payne includes real graffiti from New York and why there are so many people making money from selling books of Banksy work.

      At most they just need to remove the MYTH logo.

      Personally I just see it as Rockstar saving a couple dozen hours of work.
      Honestly I fail to see the fail.

    • Mil says:

      @Mario Figueiredo:
      The crack was an illegal product up until that point. It cannot be protected by copyright laws.

      Do you have any sources to back up this interesting legal theory? Because it quite sounds as if you’re just making stuff up.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @Mil,

      And you, of course, made no effort to prove me wrong. You just prefer to air the idea “I’m making stuff up”, instead of making an actual effort to prove me wrong. It’s more convenient this way, isn’t it? This way you force me to hunt down through the legalese (which is essentially one big bore). And if I don’t… well, I must have been lying. Right?

      Well, I’m not really. The section in question is 103, under line a). And you can read it for yourself here. I hope that clear it for you.

      There’s also already been at least 2 court cases in USA courts where companies trying to copyright their material were found guilty of copyright infringement and, of course, removed of any copyright protection by a court ruling. No way, I’m going to try and find those now.

    • Mil says:

      You’re the one making claims about copyright law, so of course the burden of supporting those claims should be with you. This is what that section of US code says:

      (a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.

      While I see how this could be seen as meaning the Myth crack is not copyrightable, I doubt the case is at all clear. For example, the crack could probably be seen as an aggregation of software routines, some of which are likely to be generic and independent from the game being cracked. Those routines would be copyrightable; does that copyright on those routines disappear because they have been used in a crack? What if they’re owned by someone other than the one who put the crack together?

  25. Wednesday says:

    I actually got that copy. My legs aren’t going to fall off or something, right?

  26. Radiant says:

    So by buying the steam version of Max Payne I’m funding terrorism?
    I’m so confused.

    DAMN YOU VALVE

  27. Vague-rant says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate(TBH I think this is awesome more than anything else), whilst there is a degree of hypocrisy, its not too big a deal. The crack was distributed freely and I suspected Myth encouraged distribution given they recieved credit. Frankly I think they’ve got that credit now.

    “I can visit your home, and steal your TV. This don’t enable you to visit my house and steal my TV. Law don’t work like that.” True, but I can at least understand the mindset, when this is the 5th TV you’ve stolen and the law doesn’t seem to care.

    Wulf said that its illegal to own DRM circumventing software? Then those legitimate steam owners should be treated like all the other people who have pirated Max Payne… Nothing should happen to them.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep. I’m not saying that anyone should be punished for using a crack, but that’s my point. My point about all this is that it’s hard to have a particularly high horse if you all ready have a cracked version of Max Payne 2 in your Steam folder. If it’s there then you’re using the same sorts of cracks as pirates, exactly the same sort. I just wanted to open the eyes of closed-minded people a bit. But Gods, that’s a hard thing to do.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s what grinds my gears with this, really, to add to it. There seem to be people thinking that just because a publisher does something, that’s an automatic free pass to do something illegal, because the publisher did it, the publisher being the same person who wanted it to be illegal in the first place. That reeks of all sorts of hypocrisy.

      And it reminds me of that quote below about Nixon, where if a certain party does something, it stops being illegal. That’s the sort of attitude I don’t like. If something is illegal then it should actually be illegal, not perhaps illegal or maybe not based upon who’s committing the crime.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wulf, what are you on?

      If I got in your car and drove it away, you wouldn’t be best pleased. If you got in your car and drove it away, this would not be an issue.

      Surely the legality of an action is dependent, at least to some extent, upon who you are in relation to the issues concerned by that action. Property is a relatively simple concept, I would’ve thought?

    • Pirate0r says:

      @wulf

      let me relate this to you with a car analogy.

      So i drive a car, a shitty ’91 Buick park ave that resembles a boat more than anything else. The car belongs to me outright, no payments etc… and I am in possession of the keys used to operate my car. Reasonable? Alright.

      Now say some guy from down the street called ‘myth’ designs a special key like device that will open the doors and start the ignition of MY ’91 Buick park ave. He makes a few of these key devices and gives them away to his friends, so they can all take turns at driving my boat sized car along the freeway.

      Now if he uses this device to open my car and drive it away without my explicit permission he has broken the law.
      If he gives the special keys to his friends so they can drive my car, he has broken the law.
      In fact if he does anything involving those keys and my car without my explicit permission he’s breaking the law. On the flip-side, if i tell him he can joyride it around town using his special key that’s my right.

      So a couple years later after ‘myth’ has been thrown in prison for manufacturing keys, I accidentally drop my keys down a storm drain/sofa/pants etc… Luckily I know about this ‘myth’ guy who made a key that was designed to open MY car. I get a copy of this special key he made and use it to drive my car.

      Because the car belongs entirely to me, I can do what ever the hell I like with it. I can put a new stereo in, install a turbo, get some beefy looking low profile tires, I can even rip out the ignition completely and install a button so i can start the car with my arse.

      Likewise the DMCA is designed to prevent people circumventing DRM without explicit permission from the copyright holder. The copyright holder can do whatever he/she likes in regards to DRM, they chose to put it in, and they can take it out. If they are too stupid/lazy/rushed to take it out correctly, they are still within their rights to hack their own DRM and distribute the hack along with the software. Why? Because they OWN the copyright.

  28. Dreamhacker says:

    Means the crackers did a good job, doesn’t it? :)

    • Wulf says:

      Yep. Can’t say that cracks are bad if the publishers are using them!

  29. jameskond says:

    No but pirating is bad -.- /s

  30. Hippo says:

    I don’t really have a problem with this. It’s ironic, yeah, but there’s nothing wrong with them using it. After all, it’s their game. GOG has done similar things to make their games DRM-free, when the original source has been lost or is unavailable. As long as the end result is good for me, I don’t mind, and the pirates certainly don’t have any rights to complain (now _that_ would have been ironic).

    • IdleHands says:

      I’m with you Hippo I don’t quite understand the joke or embarassment. Yes I see they are just being lazy and using someone elses code, but it’s not that funny is it? I mean I would understand this if it was Ubisoft or Rockstar had made a big stink about pirates and used draconian DRM (unless I’ve missed that then it makes sense).

    • Wulf says:

      It’s funny because it’s an act perpetrated by the very people who say it should be illegal. It’s as funny as an Internet porn cop having the same sort of porn on his computer, hoping he won’t be found out because of where he works.

  31. dingo says:

    Myth doesn’t show up searching for who cracked Max Payne originally (Deviance did) and the patch (Deviance as well).
    Myth also mainly did rips not full games but the cracker might have been member in both groups. Back then the big groups had sub-groups handling other releases (like rips).
    Still owned R*

    • Stu says:

      That confused me at first, too. If you look a little further down from the logo it states “MYTH/DEViANCE” so yeah, I assume Myth was a subgroup of Deviance dedicated to releasing rips/addons/etc.

  32. Poltergeist says:

    Speaking of which, am I the only one who can’t purchase Max Payne 1 or 2 living in Germany? It doesn’t show up when I search for it…

  33. Anonymous says:

    @Mario Figueiredo

    The part you are getting confuse on is the part where you continue to define the code in the .exe as a “crack” after the owner of the copyright applied and distributed it themselves. Now, if the EULA of the new game containing the “crack” contains references to the DRM that used to be in it, then you may be right, though I’m sure no one could be taken to court over it.

    To muddy up my point here’s a quote from Nixon: ‘If the President Does It, That Means It’s Not Illegal’’

    • Wulf says:

      That was my point, too, not that it was well understood. But what can you do? C’est la vie.

      Fools will laugh anything up until they realise how unstable the ground they’re standing on is, really.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @Anonymous,

      That’s just a slip of the tongue. I’m not a lawyer and am not in a mission :)
      So I think I’m allowed a little Freudian slip.

      A “crack” is not per se an illegal thing. A crack can exist that has the full agreement of the right-holder. A crack can be just another word for patch. Or can even be the result of a conscious decision to alter or completely remove any DRM of the program. As loong as the right-holder agrees and authorizes for this action, the crack is legal.

      And the legality is implied by the copyright nature of the work. There is no need to provide any special permission, once the product is shipped with the… “crack”… by an authorized reseller. Otherwise, every patch or every new executable of a product would require special permission.

  34. Unaco says:

    Go Go Internet Lawyers!

  35. rocketman71 says:

    Hypocrisy and incompetence in a neat little package. Nothing surprising coming from Rockstar.

    Also, the fact that these companies are releasing scene cracks with their games gives me so much confidence when they say if we ever take off our servers, we’ll release an executable without the DRM. Right now I’ll I can think of is “yeah, sure, that’s if someone ever released the crack”.

  36. torn says:

    The original story is mildly amusing but this Wulf fellow who keeps insisting that Rockstar is distributing illegal material and inducing their customers into breaking the law is laugh out loud funny.

    • Wulf says:

      Most things are funny to people until it comes back and bites them in the arse.

      Also, welcome to RPS. I’ve not seen you around here before. Iiiinteresting.

    • torn says:

      I’m new here. I just found this website a couple weeks ago. It’s quite good. Though my forays into the comments section usually only extend so far as doing a ctrl-f to see if Tei has posted anything.

    • Stu says:

      To be fair, Wulf, it’s not THAT funny. Honestly, you should watch Airplane! sometime, you’ll EXPLODE.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Torn

      Tei get off your Alt account. :b

  37. Tei says:

    I have made a hex editor online.

    http://zerror.com/bin/wex/?url=http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/10/may/maxpayne2.jpg
    This image has ben made with Gimp. Neato.

    I tried to google for a version of MaxPayne2.exe (1.486.848 bytes) to use with this hex viewer, and heres the result:


    ß Ü Ü
    Ü Û ß²ß Ü
    ß Ü²Ü ²ÜÜ ÜÜÜ Û Ü ÜÜÛÜ ß ß²ß
    Ü ÜÜÜÜÜÛÜ ß ÜÜܲßßß²ßßßßßßß²ÛÛÛÛÜÜÛ²ßßßßß²ßßßßßßßß²ÜÜÛÜ
    ÜÛ²ßßßß²ÜܲßßÜÜÜ ß ßßÛÛÛÛß ÜÜÜÜÜßßÜÛÛÛ²ß ß²ÛÛÛÛÛ²ÜÜÞ² Ü
    °ÛßßÜÜÛÛÛÛÜßßÜÛÛß²ÛÛÛÜ ±ÛÛÝ °ÛÛÛ ÜÜÛÛÛÛÛÛ²ß ²ÛÛÛß ßßßß²ÜÜÛÜÜ Ü
    °Û °ÛÛÛÛÛß ±ÛÛÛ° ²ÛÛÛÛ ±ÛÛÛ ÞÛÛÝ °ÛÛÛÛß ÛÛÛßÜÜܲÛÛÛÛÜÜß²Ü
    ÜÜÛÝ°²ÛÛÛÛ² ÛÛÛÝ ÛÛÛÛÛÞÛÛÛÝ ÛÛÛÝ°ÛÛÛÛÝ ÜÜÛÛÛÛÛÛßßß²ÛÛÛÛÛÛ ÛÛ²ÜÜÜ
    ßß²ÛÛÛ °ÛÛÛÛÛÝ ÞÛÛÝ ÞÛ²ÛÛÝÛ²²Û²ÜÜÛÛÛÛ ²ÛÛ²ÛÝ ß ÛÛÛÛÝ ÞÛÛÛÛÛÝÞÛÛÛ²ßß ß
    ßÛ² °ÛÛÛÛ² Û²Û Þ²²ÛÛ ±²ÛÛÛÛß±²ÛÛ °Û²²Û± Üܲ Û²ÛÛÝ °ÛÛÛÛÛ°ÛÛß
    Ü ol°Û²²ÛÝ ²²ÛÜ ßßß±²Ü °²²Û ßß²ÛÛÛ²ß Ü²²²ÛÛ ÞÛ²ÛÛ°Olli^cRo
    ß²ß °Û²²²Ü ßß ßÛÛÜÜÜÛÛÛ² ßßßÛÜ ²²²Û° ܲÜ
    ÜÜÛÛßß ßßßßßß ß²Û° ß
    ß°°ß ß° ß

    Poor, poor logo… almost unreadable :-(

    • Risingson says:

      Maybe it uses a different charset?

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      The character set is typically IBM codepage 437. Since most English systems these days run in either ISO-8859-1, UTF-8, or UTF-16 (UCS-2), it can be hard to read them, hence the need (on Windows at least) for special “NFO viewers”.

      As a Linux user, I view NFO files with “iconv -f cp437 file.nfo” which converts it from codepage 437 to my standard character set (UTF-8).

  38. Zeus says:

    1. Release a crack that disables copy protection AND works as a trojan.
    2. Wait for the company to re-release their game on Steam, distributing your crack to millions of unwitting users.
    3. Profit!

    • Gunrun says:

      Yeah I’m sure they didn’t vet the hell out of the crack (and of course they have no idea how the code was supposed to look like in the first place either, nor understand what the crack changes)

    • Klaus says:

      Well, they apparently don’t know how to remove silly logos to avoid silly little messes like this.

  39. GT3000 says:

    Well this particular article has enough intellectual masturbation to make the bathrooms at a strip club look pristine.

    I’d be tickled pink if I was a part of Myth and heard this.

    • RedFred says:

      Well I suppose Myth can’t be upset that they get no credit as it was illegal in the first place.

  40. Vadermath says:

    Bwahahaa, I never even imagined something like this must be going on.

  41. Aninhumer says:

    What about trademark law?
    I’d imagine most likely Myth haven’t registered their logo as a trademark, of course…
    …but what if they had?

    Could they sue Rockstar for putting their trademark into a product (however obscured)?

    • John Peat says:

      Trademarks don’t work Copyright – you can register a name/logo as your Trademark but even if you don’t, you can take someone to court if they copy your logo/name in the same field so long as you can prove you were there first.

      This isn’t about copying a trademark tho – putting some hackers logo into your program is no different to having the word “ROCKSTAR” in this thread – it’s not a violation of trademark – we’re not “passing off” something as if it’s a ROCKSTAR product or whatever.

  42. Navagon says:

    I wouldn’t actually care if it wasn’t for the fact that this is the same company that thought the clusterf*ck of DRM on GTA 4 was all fair and good. Not to mention the fact that Take Two is also responsible for Bioshock (which was correctly identified as a virus by my AV) and other DRM nightmares. Take Two pretty much set the ball rolling for extremist DRM with that game.

  43. PHeMoX says:

    “Or, at least, that’s the only feasible explanation of why the group’s ASCII logo appears when nosing at the executable in a hex editor.”

    I say it’s an inside job or otherwise it’s perhaps proof of publishers trying to scam us with no-dvd cracks made by them and excuse us of using them or some odds ish. ;)

  44. jeremypeel says:

    This is all hilarious.

    Big-name publishers better be careful that they don’t actually create a successful, uncircumventable DRM in case they need to tip-toe around it themselves five years down the line.

  45. LewieP says:

    Steam just updated Max Payne 2.

    I wonder what new feature(s) they added.

    • Starky says:

      10:1 odds on that they are still using the Myth no-cd crack, they just removed the Myth Ascii art. After all which is easier, coding/compiling a new no-cd exe or just altering an existing one to remove evidence?

      So funny.

    • Stu says:

      Ooh, Steam Achievements!

      …ah, wait, apparently they’ve just rolled it back to a slightly older version; presumably it’s the newest cracked version they could find that didn’t have any cracker’s messages embedded in the exe.

  46. Lukasz says:

    First thing: crackers have no right to their programming as writting cracks breaks the law.
    Second thing: It is okay to use cracks if you own the game. (writting them is not)

    so that makes ubisoft, rockstar, gog usage of cracks perfectly fine. These people have right to do with the code of the game in whatever way they please.

    The whole outcry about legit companies using illegally created programs is just brain tumor causing agent.

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      I’ve never seen any legal evidence that it’s legal to use cracks if you own the game. Yes, it makes perfect sense from a moral standpoint, but laws are frequently nonsensical.

      It all comes down to whether EULAs are legally enforceable or not, which is also an issue that tends to get debated.

      I point you to http://www.rockstargames.com/eula — Rockstar has conveniently put their EULA up on the net. There are a few relevant passages in particular:

      [You agree not to ...] Copy the Software onto a hard drive or other storage device in order to bypass the requirement to run the Software from the included CD-ROM or DVD-ROM

      So no-CD cracks are illegal. And remember, this EULA is addressed to the legal purchaser of the game.

      Reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, prepare derivative works based on or otherwise modify the Software, in whole or in part;

      And that rules out other kinds of cracks, too.

      I do like this part, though:

      If you disable or otherwise tamper with the technical protection measures, the Software will not function properly.

      I suppose it’s meant to be advice and not actually part of the license, but it’s rather cute that they would make such a bold statement, given it’s been proven false so many times already. :)

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      Actually, I suppose that first clause is telling you not to use CD images (e.g. Daemon Tools), whereas it’s the second clause that covers cracks (including no-CD cracks). But my point stands in any case.

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      … And now I realise you probably meant “it’s okay to do it if you own the entire game“, not “if you’ve purchased a copy of the game”.

      I’ve actually seen a lot of people say that it’s okay to download and use cracks (or entire games) so long as you legally purchased the game beforehand. Or that it’s legal to use downloaded software so long as you either delete it (or buy it) within 24 hours. Or that it’s legal to download games, and only illegal to upload them. Etc etc.

      Sorry about that — I was responding to what I thought was another instance of strange pseudo-legal advice.

    • Gunrun says:

      Just because a EULA makes a claim it doesn’t make it law. Or to put it another way illegal things can be put in the EULA. In the UK we have a right to make a usable backup copy of any software we own, for instance.

    • Wulf says:

      @Gunrun

      I believe that the law says that we can make identical copies, and that if a copy has been tampered with (such as to remove DRM) then the copy is no longer identical and is illegal. I remember this came up in a case a bit back involving pirated copies of games, but I’m not sure how that ended.

  47. drewski says:

    The comments on the torrentfreak story made my head asplode.

    Given that the group which created the crack no longer exists and, in any case, suffered absolutely no financial harm as a result of Rockstar incorporating their code into a given Max Payne 2 release, this entire argument is stupid and moronic and I can’t believe anyone cares.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is this: publishers and the groups they’re a part of which protect them have long campaigned against cracks because of piracy, they’ve also spread FUD about how cracks create an inferior version of the game, destabilising it, and likely creating malware. What we have here is the same kind of publisher using one of these selfsame cracks. It pretty much invalidates everything a publisher has ever said about cracks if a publisher is using cracks.

  48. bill says:

    I think this shows another flaw with DRM… it seems like half the publishers have lost the original DRM-free version, and all they have is the DRM encrypted one. Which means they’re being limited by the DRM now, just like we were.

    I actually have no issue with the publishers using a crack on their own property, that seems to me to be entirely within their rights (and more understandable for a 3rd party like GOG who are doing their best with what they’re given).

    But it’s a pretty sad state of affairs that they HAVE TO do such a thing. It’s almost as sad as lucasarts LOSING the source code to Jedi Knight so they can’t properly fix it for modern systems. Publishers are muppets sometimes.

  49. Ravenger says:

    It’s not unusual for developers or publishers to lose source code or original assets to old games, especially when the backup mediums used 10 or so years ago may be out of date and unreadable now. Also development tools and OS’s become obsolete making it difficult to get the correct tools together to re-build a game even if you have the source code and assets.

    For example, a game I worked on had a great intro movie, but at the time the video compression codecs weren’t up to the job of doing it justice. So a few years later when MPEG2 compression became affordable and easy I looked into re-encoding it onto a DVD. The problem is that the edited movie had been stored on an animation recorder, and that machine had been superseded by a new one. When I managed to locate the old machine I found it had been wiped. Literally years of work had gone. No-one thought to keep the files on another hard drive because at the time hard drive space was incredibly expensive. The backup tapes were not big enough to store the raw frames, only the original render files had been stored. Even if we had hardware to read the old tapes it was impractical to re-render the entire movie because we’d have had to re-edit it from scratch.

    Nowadays hard drive space is cheap so it’s easy to just make a backup of an entire development drive to keep the development environment intact. I was told of one development company that literally archives entire PCs with all the code and assets to build a game and places them into storage once the game is complete so they can always go back and re-build it if necessary. Sounds like a great solution to me.

  50. MOOncalF says:

    I do get the impression there’s someone at Ubisoft who desperately wants to do things like a normal human being, i.e. straightforward if at all possible. A shame that even if it was the case it makes the rest of them look like even bigger asshats.