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StarForce threatens to sue for criticizing its products

post #1 of 31
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Quote:
StarForce threatens to sue me for criticizing its products
A company that was criticized on Boing Boing has threatened to sue me, and claims to have sworn out a complaint against me with the FBI.

Yesterday, I posted about StarForce, a harmful technology used by game companies to restrict their customers' freedom. StarForce attempts to stop game customers from copying their property, but it has the side-effects of destabilizing and crashing the computers on which it is installed.

Someone identifying himself as "Dennis Zhidkov, PR-manager, StarForce Inc." contacted me this morning and threatened to sue me, and told me that he had contacted the FBI to complain about my "harassment."

If you're looking for reasons to boycott StarForce-crippled games (besides the obvious ones), you might add their use of bullying legal threats to your list.
From: "Dennis Zhidkov" <denis.zhidkov@star-force.com>
Date: January 31, 2006 9:55:40 AM BST
To: "doctorow@craphound.com" <doctorow@craphound.com>
Subject: StarForce Response to Cory Doctorow StarForce Inc. response to Mr. Cory Doctorow
Dear Sir, calling StarForce "Anti-copying malware" is a good enough cause to press charges and that is what our corporate lawyer is busy doing right now. I urge you to remove your post from http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/30..._malware_.html because it is full of insults, lies, false accusations and rumors. Your article violates approximately 11 international laws. Our USlawyer will contact you shortly. I have also contacted the FBI , because what you are doing is harassment.
Sincerely,
Dennis Zhidkov
PR-manager
StarForce Inc.
www.star-force.com
Here's my reply: "Thank you for your response. I have appended it to my original post and have forwarded it to the Chilling Effects project to be part of the permanent record of abusive attempts by companies to silence their critics." Link

Update: Looks like this isn't the first time Mr Zhidkov has sent legal threats to critics of this company -- check out this email he sent CNet, which opens "Dear Sir, calling StarForce 'nefarious Rootkit/Virus' is a good enough cause to press charges. How do you like that for a start?" (Thanks, Alexander!)

Update 2:
Fiona sez, "I just contacted a friend who works in the testing department of the UK branch of the worlds largest games publisher, and they hadn't heard of it! I now think they have the (very healthy, by all accounts) fear of god about what this thing could do to peoples systems. They're testing a third-party game that uses it, and have found the drivers on their test box. They're not happy about having it on an open test system,"

Update 3:
Avi sez, "Their business seems to depend on people not knowing how much they suck. For example, I was on a private beta list for a new game I won't mention by name due to NDA -- but the game authors agreed to drop StarForce after an outcry from the community. You don't often hear the stories about game developers dropping StarForce in favor of their customer."
Source: BoingBoing

I posted the link to the article in another related thread several hours ago, right after the article was first published. I don't think its quite "news" material so I'll post it here in the video games section.
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post #2 of 31
My my...interesting stuff. What are these guys thinking?
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post #3 of 31
Quote:
Your article violates approximately 11 international laws
I'd like to know exactly which "laws" the artical is breaching....

The article is pretty much spot on. It describes that drivers are installed without a users consent that can result in system instability and make it more prone to malicious software infection.

Having said that, I have a couple of games that use StarForce myself and have not yet come across any issues but I have noticed I get those stupid WinFixer popups on a more regular basis.
post #4 of 31
Yeah I would like to know what laws they are breaking. Last I knew, you have freedom of speech.
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post #5 of 31
Stupid protections.... I saw a way to get rid of it once AND had it on my pc... I'll look up a link just in case some of us have it on our pc's.


Here's the best thing I could find. The removal tool is towards the mid. of the page: http://www.onlinesecurity-on.com/protect.phtml?c=55
Also here's how to see if you have it
Open device manager, click on view and then show hidden files. It should say sumthing along the lines of StarForce Protection blah blah blah...
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post #6 of 31
mr torch has the link to that remover...but i havent heard from him in a while, hopefully hes alright.

But yeah, starforce is bull, nobodys breaking any laws, its not slander because of the fact that its actually TRUE, so they can just shove off.
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post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeRoToXeN
Stupid protections.... I saw a way to get rid of it once AND had it on my pc... I'll look up a link just in case some of us have it on our pc's.


Here's the best thing I could find. The removal tool is towards the mid. of the page: http://www.onlinesecurity-on.com/protect.phtml?c=55
Also here's how to see if you have it
Open device manager, click on view and then show hidden files. It should say sumthing along the lines of StarForce Protection blah blah blah...
ooer, I've got it 4 times. Time to get the shotgun...
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman8904
Yeah I would like to know what laws they are breaking. Last I knew, you have freedom of speech.
You could class it as slander if he simply said that StarForce is crap or dissed it without any reason. However the author has stated nothing but facts in his article.

I know there are various international laws regarding business competition legislation but I can't see anyway that any of them are being broken from the contents of that article.
post #9 of 31
There actually could be some language in the EULA forbidding any negative public comments about the product. If you installed it, then you agreed to the sneakwrap provisions and you could theoretically be bound by it. Microsoft used to try and get away similar stuff, disallowing any public reviews of SQL Server because they did not want any negative comparisons to competing products to be revealed. I have not heard of any practices like this for several years though, I assumed this practice been squashed in a court case or two. I could be wrong, more likely the StarForce lawyer is full of crap though. It's amazing how often a scary letter from a lawyer is enough to effect the change the company wants, whether or not the letter has any merit.
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post #10 of 31
Even if it was in the EULA that he could not say it, wouldn't the EULA be void as soon as he removed the software?
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