TWO NEW class-action lawsuits were filed against PC game marketeer Electronic Arts in October, Gamepolitics has reported.
Lodged in federal court for the Northern District of California, both complaints whinge about EA's inclusion of SecuROM digital restrictions management (DRM) software with its games. One of the lawsuits cites a component of Spore and the other names a Sims 2 title.
Richard Eldridge of Pennsylvania alleges that Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition secretly installed SecuROM on his PC without his knowledge or consent, an action that he calls "deceptive and unlawful." His complaint says:
"The inclusion of undisclosed, secretly installed DRM protection measures with a program that was freely distributed constitutes a major violation of computer owners' absolute right to control what does and what does not get loaded onto their computers, and how their computers shall be used....
"[SecuROM] cannot be completely uninstalled. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio....
"EA's EULA for Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition makes utterly no mention of any Technical Protection Measures, DRM technology, or SecuROM whatsoever...."
Diana Cortez of Missouri presses similar claims about EA's use of SecuROM with The Sims 2: Bon Voyage. Ms Cortez complains that EA's DRM software caused problems with her PC:
"After installing Bon Voyage, Ms. Cortez began having problems with her computer. She had previously made backup Sims 2 game content on CDs, but her computer's disc drive would no longer recognize that content, reporting the CDs as empty. She could not access files that were saved on her USB flash drive or iPod, either...."
She claims that she finally had to reformat her PC in order to get rid of SecuROM's baleful effects. Her lawsuit accuses EA of "unfair business practices " that are "immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous...."
Such accusations are stock in trade for consumer protection lawyers, but these plaintiffs may have some points if EA did not in fact notify them about its DRM software SecuROM.
These two latest lawsuits follow an earlier complaint against EA filed about Spore by one Melissa Thomas in September. Ms Thomas and Mr Eldridge have hired the same lawyers. µ
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