Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 12:12 UK

Spore copyright control relaxed

Spore screenshot
The game drew fire immediately for its 'draconian' copyright protection

Video game maker Electronic Arts has loosened copyright protection for the newest release of its game Spore.

Released earlier in the month, the game received a flurry of complaints about a restriction that meant the game could only be registered to three computers.

That restriction has now been raised to five computers, which the company says should account for all legitimate uses.

The company has also addressed the complaint that each copy of the game only allows one player to use it.

Thousands of Spore enthusiasts logged on to at the game's initial release to post one-star reviews - the lowest possible - to complain about the restriction.

Moreover, there was no mechanism to de-authorise a computer and free up another installation, as there is, for example, with iTunes. That meant the game could only ever be installed three times.

'Need to adapt'

"We've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognise and respect," said Frank Gibeau, EA Games' president. "I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers."

EA says it has found from user data that fewer than half of one per cent of users have tried to activate the game on more than three computers. As a result, it believes allowing five installations of the game will account for all legitimate users.

Mr Gibeau also said the company is working to quickly implement a means of de-authorising computers, so that a total of five installations could be active at any one time.

Another primary concern about the game was that each copy allowed for only one player using one screen name to use it.

Jjwalters3, a user of Sporum, the game's official online forum, summed up the situation: "What EA has effectively done is license the product to the individual person and not the machine.

"It's along the same lines as saying 'you need to purchase one game for each member of your household' even if you only use one computer."

EA's response is that it will now allow five screen names per copy of the game, though it has yet to release details of when the change will take effect.

Copyright row dogs Spore release
10 Sep 08 |  Technology
Spore - changing the game
05 Sep 08 |  Technology
The DRM maze for consumers
11 Dec 07 |  Technology
Q&A: What is DRM?
02 Apr 07 |  Technology

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