News of what appears to be a distributed, spontaneous action against the new video game “Spore” because of the DRM included with the game has been spreading around the web since yesterday (when I first heard about it from Fred Benson of Free Culture) , and the action seems to be growing.
Here is the background: Spore is a wildly anticipated video game from the makers of the Sims. They decided to include some nasty DRM called SecuROM. Besides preventing someone from installing the game on more than 3 computers it also disables some of your computer’s features or attached devices and sends information back to the game makers, and you don’t know what is included in that information, and can’t stop it. The DRM was cracked within a day and pirates copies are now available on the internet.
What is interesting here, though, is the use of the rating and review system on Amazon to spread the word about the DRM. Hundreds, if not thousands of Amazon users at this point, have given a 1 star rating to the game because of the DRM, and some have written detailed reviews about it. Hundreds more have added the tags “drm”, “drm infected”, “defectivebydesign”, and “malware” as well as “cusomer abuse” and variations on the above. More of the tags are negative than positive.
This action echoes similar ones we helped to organize against the iPod, the Zune and other devices and products crippled with DRM a year ago as part of the DefectiveByDesign.org campaign of the Free Software Foundation.
The interesting thing here is that there doesn’t seem to be any organization behind the maligning of Spore for its DRM, it appears to be driven completely by the Groundswell. Businesses cannot continue to abuse their customers when their customers can communicate with each other and other potential customers easily, immediately and right in the “store isles.”