How it works
FiringSquad: Why is it necessary to include StarForce on game demos, such as "D-Day"?
For a very simple reason; if a demo goes out with unprotected code, when the time comes for a pirate to try to crack a released game, he or she can refer to that demo to find clues which can be used to crack the game, if the demo .exe closely resembles the final product.
Uninstalling games that use StarForce, such as TOCA Race Driver 2, Broken Sword 3 and Silent Storm apparently doesn't remove StarForce. Was this simply an oversight by game publishers/developers, or a necessary part of the copy protection process?
The fact that they remain was something that no one predicted would be such a contentious issue. Going forward, we are encouraging all publishers to include the SFdriver cleaner utility into their un-install scripts. There are a tremendous amount of residual files that get loaded onto on a system without our knowledge when we load a program, be it a game, a movie or music player, video or sound card drivers etc. Far more than the average person realizes. Now that we hear the dissatisfaction about it, we have taken steps to fix it, the publishers are too. We also have the tools posted on our website for anyone to download. http://www.star-force.com/index.phtml?category=200&type=5
BTW, we are not the only CP provider who loads drivers; it is a common part of several protections.
Has the StarForce removal utility posted by Codemasters complicated matters, from your perspective? Perhaps by giving pirates another weapon?
The tool has not complicated things at all, in fact it has helped! I don’t think the pirates can use it to their advantage, because without those drivers, the protected application will not run. Removing the drivers does no harm except the copy protected game will not run until the drivers are re-installed.
There's an uproar among segments of the game community that StarForce is installed without user approval. Is this a potential legal concern for your company?
There is no legal concern because before a user loads a game, he or she has agreed to accept the conditions of the end-user licensing agreement, typically known as a EULA. These are also known as click and go, or click and accept agreements. When you accept, you are saying I will load this game or application at my own risk, and have read and understood the terms. Or there will be a disclaimer that protects the publisher from damages of any kind due to their products’ use. Our product is licensed to our customers, and becomes part of their product, so the user by accepting the terms, is giving approval.