legal

[image:6655 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0]The 'net has been all abuzz of late about the so-called "release" of Half-Life 2 in parts of the former Soviet Union; it has been spotted for sale in Ukraine and Siberia. Most of these reports have drawn attention because Half-Life 2 is hotly anticipated, and because this game is not yet near an official release, and the source of these copies for sale is a leaked beta.

However, the average gamer may or may not be aware that piracy of computer software, music and movies isn't limited to Internet-based peer-to-peer schemes and shady chat rooms in CIS countries; it's right out there on apparently legitimate store shelves for everyone to see.

Case in point: Halo for the PC. Shortly after the release of PC Halo in the US (and long before we got our copies here at Rampancy, which arrived in a package with Mac Halo and First Strike) there were CDs on store shelves in former Soviet countries that purported to be Halo for the PC-- version 1.5, no less. (Perhaps that's where the rumors came from.) This applies not just to games, but operating systems, application suites like Microsoft Office, even enterprise level software like Oracle 8i.

The jewel case art itself is an interesting study; while the cover art appears to be based on screenshots from the shipping game, the back of the box features screens as old as E3 2000 and older.

Of course, trends are in place to reverse this state of affairs. Microsoft has opened representative offices in some (not all) former Soviet countries, and has been lobbying their governments to enact (and enforce) protection for intellectual property rights, as well as urging local computer resellers to cease practices like selling cracked copies of Microsoft operating systems and applications with new computers, or selling OEM copies over the counter that are clearly marked "for sale only with a new PC".

However, the real "gotcha" for anyone who plonked down hard currency (or its nearest equivalent) for "Halo 1.5" in any of the CIS countries-- and the going price is about two U.S. dollars-- is the system requirements. The only words in English on the back of the CD case are for the system requirements, and they read:

Pentium-2 233 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 4 MB 3D Card

If anyone actually tried to play Halo on that system, that's almost punishment enough for warezing the game... almost.

In summary, piracy is something that affects not only Half-Life 2, or even just Halo-- but just about every piece of software you can imagine. And before anybody asks, no, I am not going to tell you exactly where you can get this. Buy Halo.

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Just a follow-up to the earlier story on the EEL debacle, prompted b PrplPplEater's post in our forum. Disclosure: he's an admin at Mariusnet.)

After the modified EEL file, which contained Marius.net's new IP address so that the Mariusnet plugin would work again with Myth 1.4-- which was produced by a third party, Blades apparently sent a cease and desist email threatening action under the DCMA.

Marius posted in the forum that it was against an agreement between Magma/Marius and PlayMyth/Mythdev to post any information about the EEL file, and although it came from a third-party, Mariusnet and Project Magma had to remove the EEL file and all information about it from their servers.

Other sites, however, have taken up the slack, posting the information as well as copies of the modified EEL file; including Myth Forums.

The long and short of this is, although Blades now says that EEL files are no longer "necessary", at this moment you still need one to use the Marius.net server. While Doobie has posted that they're trying to get a new one, at the moment the only one that exists and will work on the Marius.net server right now is the one hosted at Myth Forums.

Having said that, we hope that the messiness of this whole situation doesn't persuade people that one of these servers is inherently better than the other. For myself, I've recently rediscovered Myth in its OS X native 1.4 form, and used the PlayMyth site and metaserver without problem or incident.

As for the lawsuit-- it's really interesting. Violation of a separate agreement or NDA, as far as I know, might be actionable, but not under the DMCA. Besides that, the entity that would need to bring suit under the DMCA would be the owners of the copyright-- in this case, Take Two, and not MythDev, as far as we know.

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I have a freind(not really) who likes school better than halo, and thinks that eternal darkness can be compared to halo, he likes max payne more than halo, hates the xbox, likes hitman 2 better than halo, didn't care to much about the in-game footage of halo 2 that I showed him, thinks that a game called Killer 7 wich wont be out for another year is better than halo and halo 2 and any game alive, he's a gamecube junkie that thinks max payne sold 1 million copies in 4 days, he hates all first person shooters, except timesplitter 2, and theres more gayness about him that i can't think of at t

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Just to let everyone know, I-- like I suspect many have in the Halo community-- been receiving email that loudly proclaims that it "is not spam" from a site called GiftStakes.com, and announcing that you've won an Xbox, and all you need to do is claim it from their website.

If you follow the link, you'll be asked for a code from the email, and taken to a page to enter your name and address.. and then they'll ask you to pay for the shipping and handling of your prize. Debit card is the only payment method accepted.

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I noticed on Macgamer.com, a story about the Thai Government imposing a cerfew for online games read it here.

What do you guys think?

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News.com is running a story today that a group of security researchers have discovered a way to make Xboxes run Linux without a modchip, and are apparently threatening Microsoft that unless the company releases an official Linux boot loader, they will publicize the technique.

They claim that an official boot loader from Microsoft could

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News.com is carrying a story today that says that Microsoft is looking to hire an engineer for collecting, evaluating and conducting analysis of modification chips used on the Xbox game console, suce as the X-ecuter.

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Ferrex on RHL pointed out an MSNBC story that says that Greece has made all electronic games illegal, including those on mobile phones, which could place lots of unwary tourists at risk for fines or even prison terms.

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Lophan pointed out a Bloomberg story over in the HBO forum in which a company called Immersion is claiming that Microsoft and Sony are both infringing on patents it owns on force feedback technology.

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Have you wondered about Microsoft's stance on the Xbox Gateway and GameSpy Arcade Tunnel software that enables online play for the Xbox? Surprisingly, they are for it. Taken from the Xbox FAQ:

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