Are cracks legal for personal use?

Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
0
76
I've lost a lot of disks or scratched a lot. I'm going to guess that downloading cracks would be illegal to get around the need for the disk I lost, but would somebody please clarify this? I know that making game disks is legal, so is downloading or making a crack legal? Thanks in advance.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Cracks can sometimes contain malware, handicap your ability to play games online or play the game when new patches are released. I would suggest making a personal backup .mds file of your games and mounting to a virtual drive in order to play them without a CD or DVD.

Note that this will only work if you have a valid license key to play the game.

To do this, use Alcohol 52%, the freeware version can make these images and mount them.

Of course the legality of this may possibly vary from EULA to EULA, so read over the games EULA to see if you are allowed to create a backup.

I know that making game disks is legal
Making the .mds file is not a physical backup (Alcohol 52% cant even burn them), it is all done in the software (as is the virtual drive mounting).
 

manowar821

Diamond Member
Mar 1, 2007
6,063
0
0
You purchased the software, so you can do whatever you want with it. As far as I know, the EULA slapped onto software has no legal binding, it's simply a document they write up to scare you. That's what I've been told by developer friends I know.

Crack to your heart's desires. How are they going to come after you, anyways?
 

Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
0
76
Originally posted by: Schadenfroh
Cracks can sometimes contain malware, handicap your ability to play games online or play the game when new patches are released. I would suggest making a personal backup .mds file of your games and mounting to a virtual drive in order to play them without a CD or DVD.

Note that this will only work if you have a valid license key to play the game.

To do this, use Alcohol 52%, the freeware version can make these images and mount them.

Of course the legality of this may possibly vary from EULA to EULA, so read over the games EULA to see if you are allowed to create a backup.

I know that making game disks is legal
Making the .mds file is not a physical backup (Alcohol 52% cant even burn them), it is all done in the software (as is the virtual drive mounting).
If I understand correctly, the .mds file is smaller than the .mdf file would be, correct? .mdf copies of games can consume a lot of HDD space so using a smaller format would be preferred. You also stated that Alcohol 52% can't burn .mds files, but would Alcohol 120% be able to do that?
 

thedogbert

Junior Member
Jul 9, 2007
2
0
0
The crack manipulates the original EXE file, therefore modifying the code, therefore you are breaking the law.
 

Acanthus

Lifer
Aug 28, 2001
19,915
2
76
ostif.org
Originally posted by: thedogbert
The crack manipulates the original EXE file, therefore modifying the code, therefore you are breaking the law.
Changing code for personal use is not a violation of the DMCA, circumventing copy protection measures is.
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
27,730
7
0
If you own the original media, using a no CD crack or the like is perfectly legal. However, it may hamper your ability to play online and its likely that you'll have to uncrack, patch, then recrack with a new patch every time a new patch is released. Keep in mind that old games don't receive patches very often, if ever, some will never see another patch again for various reasons.

Even using Alcohol 52% or Daemon Tools to make CD images doesn't always work, sometimes you still need a CD crack.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Originally posted by: Smartazz
Originally posted by: Schadenfroh
Cracks can sometimes contain malware, handicap your ability to play games online or play the game when new patches are released. I would suggest making a personal backup .mds file of your games and mounting to a virtual drive in order to play them without a CD or DVD.

Note that this will only work if you have a valid license key to play the game.

To do this, use Alcohol 52%, the freeware version can make these images and mount them.

Of course the legality of this may possibly vary from EULA to EULA, so read over the games EULA to see if you are allowed to create a backup.

I know that making game disks is legal
Making the .mds file is not a physical backup (Alcohol 52% cant even burn them), it is all done in the software (as is the virtual drive mounting).
If I understand correctly, the .mds file is smaller than the .mdf file would be, correct? .mdf copies of games can consume a lot of HDD space so using a smaller format would be preferred. You also stated that Alcohol 52% can't burn .mds files, but would Alcohol 120% be able to do that?
I believe that you need both the .mds and .mdf files to use an image. It does not load the entire image into the ram (so dont worry about system resources). If you have a decent size hard drive (Which most people do) the space will not be an issue. Alcohol 120% is the same as Alcohol 52%, only difference being is that it can burn the .mds and .mdf files and mount more than 6 virtual drives at once.
 

Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
0
76
Originally posted by: Bateluer
If you own the original media, using a no CD crack or the like is perfectly legal. However, it may hamper your ability to play online and its likely that you'll have to uncrack, patch, then recrack with a new patch every time a new patch is released. Keep in mind that old games don't receive patches very often, if ever, some will never see another patch again for various reasons.

Even using Alcohol 52% or Daemon Tools to make CD images doesn't always work, sometimes you still need a CD crack.
If I'm not mistaken, Starforce is impossible to get a work around for, correct?
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Originally posted by: Smartazz
Starforce is impossible to get a work around for, correct?
Starforce has been reverse engineered and cracked just like every other DRM scheme. The results of which had many startling revelations (at least from what I read over at wikipedia). But, do check the EULA to see if you are allowed to emulate the game to play without the CD. If it turns out that you violate it by emulating the CD / DVD, then just do not play the game or just put the CD / DVD in there.
 

Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
0
76
Originally posted by: Schadenfroh
Originally posted by: Smartazz
Starforce is impossible to get a work around for, correct?
Starforce has been reverse engineered and cracked just like every other DRM scheme.
Oh, I thought that was the only DRM scheme that was never reverse engineered, I suppose everything will be worked around eventually.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Originally posted by: Smartazz
Originally posted by: Schadenfroh
Originally posted by: Smartazz
Starforce is impossible to get a work around for, correct?
Starforce has been reverse engineered and cracked just like every other DRM scheme.
Oh, I thought that was the only DRM scheme that was never reverse engineered, I suppose everything will be worked around eventually.
Example of Starforce Reverse Engineering
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory's cracking involved the completely reverse-engineering of StarForce 3.0, and with the crack was released a vast array of documentation about how StarForce 3.0 works[12]. Alongside many technical details, it revealed how several resource-intensive procedures were implemented by StarForce, such as emulated virtual machine functions and opcodes, while its checks were being carried out
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
6
76
There is currently not a single software protection that has not been broken.
Everything from Flexlm to starforce all have been cracked.

I don't read/check with a software maker if its legal to use a crack for software I bought.
If the crack makes it where I can use the software without having to swap a cd every time, or jump through hoops to run it then I'm going to use a crack.

I tried going the cd imaging route but that was almost as annoying as using the cd.
Often times the software would refuse to run because I had a virtual drive on my pc.

So in the end I use cracks and I'm not worried about the software publishers coming after me anytime soon. They got there cash from me and I'm pretty sure thats all they want.

I wish game makers would go the way that adobe and national instruments have.
Activation of the software via phone or internet. Once its done you don't have to have the cd anymore and the software doesn't run with buggy protection software.
 

ArchAngel777

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
5,223
61
91
The question isn't whether it is legal in my opinion, but is it morally wrong? Of course not.

There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. The law was designed because people were pirating software. Therefore, the law itself was written to stop people from pirating through legal means, even though it was morally wrong.

It is unfortunately that the majority of society has to pay for the minoraty that cause problems, but isn't that just the world we live in?

I always crack my games, but before I do, I make a backup of the EXE and DLL that the crack replaces. I have the CD's, I purchased the game and there is absolutely nothing wrong with cracking it for personal reasons. People who argue Law = Morality can be quite blind and are fun to argue with because if you back in the law books, you can find a lot of laws that you probably break on the daily basis that were written some 50 or 100 years ago! Imagine that, most of us are criminals and we don't even know it! :p
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
32,667
123
106
www.neftastic.com
Another issue, if you use cracked EXE's on games using technology like PunkBuster and other similar software, odds are you're going to get booted mid-game for using a crack, you'll magically drop from the server, and/or your account or access for online play will be blacklisted permanently.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
6
76
Yeah I leave the games that I play online uncracked.
Most will block online play if you don't
 

Ruptga

Lifer
Aug 3, 2006
10,247
207
106
Originally posted by: Bateluer
If you own the original media, using a no CD crack or the like is perfectly legal. However, it may hamper your ability to play online and its likely that you'll have to uncrack, patch, then recrack with a new patch every time a new patch is released. Keep in mind that old games don't receive patches very often, if ever, some will never see another patch again for various reasons.

Even using Alcohol 52% or Daemon Tools to make CD images doesn't always work, sometimes you still need a CD crack.
or a SCSI drive hider.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by a crack, if it's actually modifying the game, I doubt it's legal and probably far more aggravation than it's worth. If you're talking about backing up your CD and running it out of a virtual drive, that's A-OK as far as I know.
 

LittleNemoNES

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
4,142
0
0
laws and morals are not one and the same.
Its yours -- you do what you want with it.
Once you start sharing, I have a problem with it when you put it online...

Giving your friend a copy of a game -- not a problem in my book.

Same goes for music.

I crack all my games -- even though I own them! I hate the extra wait time for the disk checks or having to swap out disks constantly. Luckily some people are aware of this stupidity (Bethesda).
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
32,667
123
106
www.neftastic.com
Originally posted by: gersson
laws and morals are not one and the same.
Its yours -- you do what you want with it.
Once you start sharing, I have a problem with it when you put it online...

Giving your friend a copy of a game -- not a problem in my book.

Same goes for music.

I crack all my games -- even though I own them! I hate the extra wait time for the disk checks or having to swap out disks constantly. Luckily some people are aware of this stupidity (Bethesda).
You're right, laws are morals are not the same. That's why your morals are breaking the law. (Please note, *I* don't have a problem with this, but the game manufacturers do...)

Unfortunately by opening, installing, and/or running a particular piece of software you're often times agreeing to a complicated legal contract known as the End User Licensing Agreement (which should be illegal btw). You are not physically putting pen to paper, but your actions of using the product constitute your virtual signature on the manufacturer's/publisher's/author's rules on when/what/how/who you use the software. Unfortunately contract law holds you by the balls here. You do not own the software, you simply purchased the right to use the software in the manner defined by the EULA.

Morally you're obligated to follow the law.

Again, I personally dissent against this, but unfortunately it's the law so I don't have a choice but to accept it...... unless nobody is watching......
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
49,954
637
126
Originally posted by: manowar821
You purchased the software, so you can do whatever you want with it. As far as I know, the EULA slapped onto software has no legal binding, it's simply a document they write up to scare you. That's what I've been told by developer friends I know.

Crack to your heart's desires. How are they going to come after you, anyways?
Some people gauge what they do on the moral aspects of an issue, not whether they are going to get caught or not.

That being said, I used to do like Schadenfroh recommended. Make a virtual drive with the cd image.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
82,076
15,900
126
Its already been held up in many courts across the country that clicking [OK] is NOT a legally binding contract.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
32,667
123
106
www.neftastic.com
Originally posted by: shortylickens
Its already been held up in many courts across the country that clicking [OK] is NOT a legally binding contract.
And in many courts it has indeed been ruled legally binding. So you have a 50/50 chance of being screwed then?

Odds are the publisher of the software in question won't care. They got your money in the first place after all. But you can be damned sure that they will implement measures to keep cracks from working... even though viral marketing is better than slinging wads of cash around.
 

Ackmed

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2003
8,430
461
126
Originally posted by: ArchAngel777
The question isn't whether it is legal in my opinion, but is it morally wrong? Of course not.

There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit of the law. The law was designed because people were pirating software. Therefore, the law itself was written to stop people from pirating through legal means, even though it was morally wrong.

It is unfortunately that the majority of society has to pay for the minoraty that cause problems, but isn't that just the world we live in?

I always crack my games, but before I do, I make a backup of the EXE and DLL that the crack replaces. I have the CD's, I purchased the game and there is absolutely nothing wrong with cracking it for personal reasons. People who argue Law = Morality can be quite blind and are fun to argue with because if you back in the law books, you can find a lot of laws that you probably break on the daily basis that were written some 50 or 100 years ago! Imagine that, most of us are criminals and we don't even know it! :p
I agree with most of this. I use cracks, and dont care who knows it. Its annoying to switch CD's/DVD's out all the time. I used to be so annoyed by it, I had a CD changer in my PC.

Its legally wrong, but so it copying movies. I do that as well, because we have a DVD player in each vehicle, one in the den, living room, our bedroom, kitchen and my daughters room. And a billion DVD's for the kids. I make copies, put just the movie on it (I hate waiting 5 mins to play a movie cause all of the stuff you cant skip) so the original keeps in good shape. As well as having multiple copies.

Same goes with music... we have 3 MP3 players, and 3 PC's. Why cant I have music I bought on all of it? I can, but they dont want me to.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
22,072
1,241
126
I legally purchase all of my games and I use no-CD cracks. Why should I be pestered for the original media when I own legit copies of the games?
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
82,076
15,900
126
Originally posted by: SunnyD
Originally posted by: shortylickens
Its already been held up in many courts across the country that clicking [OK] is NOT a legally binding contract.
And in many courts it has indeed been ruled legally binding. So you have a 50/50 chance of being screwed then?

Odds are the publisher of the software in question won't care. They got your money in the first place after all. But you can be damned sure that they will implement measures to keep cracks from working... even though viral marketing is better than slinging wads of cash around.
No, more like 90/10, your favor.
PROVIDED YOU FIGHT IT IN COURT!

Which is exactly what the RIAA, MPAA and video game companies dont want you to do. They know if you are willing to spend the cash on a half decent lawyer they probably wont win. They have been relying on fear tactics to get business done.
They ended up not suing the little girl because they didnt want to look like complete assholes, that would have cost them more in the long run.

Sorry, I'm in a bad mood.

/Soapbox.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY