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Starforce Linking to Illegal Torrents?

As most of us here at Neowin are aware, Stardock published their highly anticipated, turn-based strategy game "Galactic Civilizations 2" last week to rave reviews from most of the major gaming sites. Stardock decided not to include any copy protection scheme with the release, much to the surprise of the gaming community at large. No Starforce, SafeDisc or SecuROM to hinder any sort of unauthorized distribution.

We get a report today that the folks over at the Starforce camp have taken notice of the game and its apparent retail success without employing a copy protection scheme. In a thread over on the Starforce forums, a member posted a link entitled "Game published without copy protection isn't commercial disaster", clearly trying to evoke some sort of reply from the copy protection powers that be. A member of the Starforce admin staff immediately posted a link to a well known torrent site hosting illegal copies of GalCiv II, in an effort to show how many sales are being lost by not using copy protection. We caught up with Brad Wardell of Stardock this weekend for some reaction to this rather humorous turn of events:

"I don't claim to be incredibly informed on warez. I don't pirate stuff so I am not familiar with sites that people go to in order to find, amongst other things, warez. I was not familiar with the site they linked to. I suspect I'm not alone. We cannot understand why they felt the need to provide an actual URL rather than state the obvious -- that like all software, ours is being pirated at some level.

We obviously don't want people to pirate our software. Every time someone pirates it who might have possibly bought it we feel the pinch. We're a small company so every sale counts. We simply think there are other ways to go about it than to inconvenience customers with CD-based copy protection."

Our question is fairly simple: Why would a company that invests so heavily in preventing software theft from occurring, choose to point people directly at a site which promotes the exact opposite? Stay tuned as this story develops...

View: Starforce Thread Posting

View: GalCiv2.com News item.

Update #2: Starforce removes links, Click 'here' for more details...

Starforce Writes:

"In the end, on behalf of the whole StarForce I would like to
tender our apologies to all people, who have been working on creation
of the game Galactic Civilizations II. We have to officially claim that
what has happened is just a mistake of our employee that was boosted
into "our planned PR action" by the people, who hate StarForce. Using
this link, he just wanted to show that every non-protected game can be
cracked (in case of some own simple protection) or just put onto the
internet resource for public use, sooner or later. I think he guessed
that finding the first link to a recent non-protected game would be the
best proof. We have to accept that he chose the wrong way for that, but
he is just a human and mistakes are human's nature.

employee has been responsible for the branch "General questions" during
this week, that's why nobody else had seen this topic and couldn't
remove the links till we heard negative references from different

We have to claim that this has been the first and the
last time we allowed posting a link to a resource with illegal content
on our forum by our staff. And we will strengthen the administration of
the forum to keep it clear from similar links posted by forum members
and others.

In further we will necessarily improve our Forum, especially its rules and policy.

Please, once again accept our deepest apologies for inconveniences caused by this issue."

Thanks to


for the heads up...

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