CD copyright protection sparks gaming furore

The use of physical copyright protection technology on compact discs has again created controversy – this time creating headaches for retailers and customers of a PC game distributed in Australia by Atari.

Atari (formerly Infogrammes/Ozisoft) recently released an extension disc to the popular PC game, Neverwinter Nights, called Shadows of Undrentide. Being an extension to what is already a very popular title, the extension sold well among retailers with 9000 units distributed in Australia.

Unfortunately for retailers of the extension, many customers took the title home only to find that it either froze their computer or did not work in CD/DVD-ROM drives.

Rob Beaumont, from Adelaide retailer Berlin Wall Software Supermarket, was inundated with complaints from customers after ordering in and selling around 100 copies of the extension. Testing the software on their own PCs, the retailer’s staff found that many if not most drives would not accept the extension.

Atari has attempted to dismiss the problem as a compatibility issue, not a fault, and has therefore issued no product recall. Mark Gilbert, group marketing manager for Atari said retailers made the company aware of the issue one day after release to the market.

“The game uses Securom copy protection which has some compatibility problems with a small number of CD-Rom drives and CD-Rom Writers,” he told ARN.

Gilbert said there was no need to warn consumers or retail partners about the copyright protection technology on the discs or the games’ packaging, as copyright protection on computer game software has become “standard practice”. Nor was there any need for a product recall he said, as the issue “has only affected a very small number of people that have incompatible CD or DVD drives.”

Atari has advised retailers to tell any customer with a complaint to contact Atari’s customer service department directly to obtain a fix, but has refused to send replacement discs to the retailers themselves. The vendor claims this was necessary in order to enable the company to establish the size and nature of the problem faster. “We now have a fix to this which we believe will help 99 per cent of affected consumers,” Gilbert said. “We believe all these steps have ensured minimal disruption to our retail partners’ businesses.”

Gilbert said Atari is in “constant review” of copyright protection technology but would not be drawn to comment on future use of the Securom technology that caused this particular problem.

The pros and cons of copyright protection aside, Atari’s attitude on the matter has ruffled the feathers of several retailers and gamers, who have voiced their complaints on a message board at a message forum at the website for the game’s publisher, Bioware. (http://nwn.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=231072&forum=49&sp=45#1941481).

Atari began emailing affected parties with a step-by-step fix for the problem during the investigation of this story.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?