Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 17:31 UK

Copyright row dogs Spore release

Spore screenshot
One reviewer described the DRM system as "draconian"

Hundreds of people have complained about the copyright protecting system on the long-awaited game Spore.

Scathing criticism of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system have been posted by reviewers on

The DRM system used by Electronic Arts (EA) restricts the number of times the game can be installed.

One of the most eagerly awaited games in recent years, it was released in the UK on 5 September and the US on 7 September.

In what reviewers described as "a draconian DRM system", the game can only be installed three times.

DRM is used to combat piracy and protect copyright, but players of Spore complained that this meant the game was "for rent, not sale".

"The DRM on this thing is less friendly than my recent colonoscopy - you get three installs. That's it. No install returned for uninstallation, or anything else," wrote one reviewer.

'Severely restricted'

"I have no interest in paying full price for a game that I will be severely restricted from being able to play at a later point," a commenter said.

Hundreds of complaints have also been posted on Spore fan sites and gaming websites, including on EA's official discussion forum.

Spore screenshot
Complaints have also been posted on Spore fan sites

Developed by Will Wright, Spore involves players using tools to help their creations evolve from cells to civilised beings.

It was a much-awaited release after the success of The Sims, another creation of Mr Wright.

But many reviewers reacted with anger at the SecuROM DRM system used by EA. Some wrote that it would stop them from purchasing the product; others cancelled pre-orders.

"It's such a shame that the distributor of the game treats its own customers as criminals and attempts to do their best to prevent you from actually playing the game," one gamer wrote on

"Our system works just like online music services that limit the number of machines on which you can you can play a song," an EA spokesman told the BBC. "This system is an effort to control piracy.

"You can install the game on three computers - perhaps at your office, at home or for your family. What you can't do is make and distribute a thousand copies online.

"If you feel like your situation presents special circumstances, contact our customer service and we'll talk through it with you."

Previous games like 2K's Bioshock and EA's Mass Effect have also been criticised for employing stringent DRM techniques, allowing only a limited number of installs.

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