A company that was criticized on Boing Boing has threatened to sue me, and claims to have sworn out a complaint against me with the FBI.
Yesterday, I posted about StarForce, a harmful technology used by game companies to restrict their customers' freedom. StarForce attempts to stop game customers from copying their property, but it has the side-effects of destabilizing and crashing the computers on which it is installed.
Someone identifying himself as "Dennis Zhidkov, PR-manager, StarForce Inc." contacted me this morning and threatened to sue me, and told me that he had contacted the FBI to complain about my "harassment."
If you're looking for reasons to boycott StarForce-crippled games (besides the obvious ones), you might add their use of bullying legal threats to your list.
From: "Dennis Zhidkov" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: January 31, 2006 9:55:40 AM BST
To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: StarForce Response to Cory Doctorow
StarForce Inc. response to Mr. Cory Doctorow
Dear Sir, calling StarForce "Anti-copying malware" is a good enough cause to press charges and that is what our corporate lawyer is busy doing right now.
I urge you to remove your post from http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/30/anticopying_malware_.html because it is full of insults, lies, false accusations and rumors. Your article violates approximately 11 international laws. Our USlawyer will contact you shortly. I have also contacted the FBI , because what you are doing is harassment.
Here's my reply: "Thank you for your response. I have appended it to my original post and have forwarded it to the Chilling Effects project to be part of the permanent record of abusive attempts by companies to silence their critics."
Update: Looks like this isn't the first time Mr Zhidkov has sent legal threats to critics of this company -- check out this email he sent CNet, which opens "Dear Sir, calling StarForce 'nefarious Rootkit/Virus' is a good enough cause to press charges. How do you like that for a start?" (Thanks, Alexander!)
Update 2: Fiona sez, "I just contacted a friend who works in the testing department of the UK branch of the worlds largest games publisher, and they hadn't heard of it! I now think they have the (very healthy, by all accounts) fear of god about what this thing could do to peoples systems. They're testing a third-party game that uses it, and have found the drivers on their test box. They're not happy about having it on an open test system,"
Update 3: Avi sez, "Their business seems to depend on people not knowing how much they suck. For example, I was on a private beta list for a new game I won't mention by name due to NDA -- but the game authors agreed to drop StarForce after an outcry from the community. You don't often hear the stories about game developers dropping StarForce in favor of their customer."