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HighScore ( German TV Show ) December 1988
Party Report


Submitted by Jeff Smart (Jeff Smart) on October 29 2006
Written by Jeff Smart in ILLEGAL #34

THE DISCUSSION
And there it goes then! On December 17th 1988 the WDR computer show called "HIGH SCORE" went for the third time on the air... The climax was a discussion meeting between

TP: The presentator ( Ute Welty )
VG: Lord von Grafenreuth - who is the lawyer representing the software companies on court against piracy!
TW: Theuth Weidemann - he used to be KOTZBROCKEN and a member of the old JEDI, but works nowadays for RAINBOW ARTS
MW: MWS of RADWAR - as "a guy who knows a lot about the crackers..."

Now imagine... The following was all LIVE on TV...

TP: In general, why do people crack a game?
MW: A game is cracked, mainly because of fun, hobby and let's say to get famous in the "scene".

TP: Sir von Grafenreuth, is cracking punishable or just the spreading of pirate software?
VG: Err, "the changing, destroying and surpressing" of datas is punishable!
[AUDIENCE: LAUGHING!]
VG: I can only repeat what the law says about it... So in general, yes, cracking is illegal when datas are attacked. If there are programmes protected by copyright laws, then it's also punishable after the copyright law, that can be a changing of any datas... For example, I can remember some cracker on my list "DR.MENGELE", Paraguay, you see they never caught him. (?? -ed)

TP: Based on the law, there exist some different possibilities to protect a computer game...?
VG: Yes, computer games have, like movies or records a copyright law.

TP: Theuth, you changed sides. Are you now tracing your ex-friends?
TW: No, of course not. We work together with those people. They're working for us and most of them went out of the scene.
TP: How do you handle those people?
TW: I persuade them to make money with programming, using their experience that they got through cracking... And they know what's going on.
TP: What do you think, when one of your games is cracked?
TW: The crackers are taking the copy protections from the games away and make the games this way available to people who would normally buy the games. So they're damaging our company, and we're not able to put more money into the games, so the quality of games is lower than it could be...

TP: Marcus, is that right? What do crackers want?
MW: Crackers want to improve their image in some way and spread cracked games to get known and the computer is mainly a means of communication, so that they can be in contact with others, worldwide. And I don't think that a cracker is cracking a game for money. That's mainly a software pirate, and that's not their preferred side... And additionally, I think the audience shares my opinion...
[AUDIENCE: BIG APPLAUSE!]

VG: Well, it's often difficult to clear things up if we get hold of a cracker or a software pirate... but we even caught crackers. It was us who caught GERMAN CRACKING SERVICE.
[AUDIENCE: BIG LAUGHING!]
VG: Yes, GCS... Snoopy etc, the group was caught (exactly 3 years ago -ed), but we got also a lot of people offering and selling software.
MW: Why did you, in one of your infamous interviews in the "ASM" (known German software magazine -ed) confuse the term "cracker" with "software pirate"? And you also said that there was a house search and you needed 2 cars and a lorry to take all the stuff and computers of that guy away?
TP: To make it more clear, the only point for people being punished is they sell software!?
MW: Exactly.
TW: The crackers are the ones who start to spread the games, but the spreaders, err... or how you like to call them, are the ones making a profit of the crackers. They're selling the games, but without the crackers they couldn't even exist.
MW: But, in the end, nowadays games are so expensive and this is up to the software retailers, that small kids who receive, let's say 30DM, pocket money every month and they find an advertisment saying "Newest games on C64 and Amiga for sale!". They're probably more interested in that than otherwise paying 59DM for a single game, but that is only due to the packing or any other things. And I think, a cracker is not interested in supplying those people with games. They're as we said "software pirates".

TP: Can we differentiate between that? If, let's say, I myself would crack a game?
[AUDIENCE: LAUGHING!]
MW: Okay, if you want...

TP: Okay, if I do that I would have my self-control about spreading the game or keeping it for myself.
MW: Mister Grafenreuth also said in his interview that it is already illegal to possess own cracked version for one's own at home.
VG: Yes, that's right.
MW: And you say that the interest of software companies are more worth than the interests of an individual person during legal preceedings...?
VG: Not the software retailer, but the owning of copyright as the German law stresses the proprietary right and material guarantees, that means copyrights, so that the programmer who created something has a copyright and it's surprising to see that nowadays a lot of people who left the cracking scene and started to work for companies, who became top programmers get angry about others cracking their games now.

MW: That is right, but if you say such a sentence like: "The companies are higher evaluated in front of the court than an individual", which occurs in your interview.
VG: Not the companies, but the copyrights.
MW: Okey, but that means, if someone only buys a game, he at one puts himself under the obedience of a software company, because if he, without knowing it, changes the datas of the program somehow with some other means, he commited a crime?

VG: Well, perhaps I give another example as we had a BKA (special German police dept. -ed) decision about a changing of a roof, when someone else put another roof on it and...
[AUDIENCE: VEEERY BIG AMUSEMENT & LAUGHING!]
TP: We're not talking about roofs.
[AUDIENCE: VEEERY BIG AMUSEMENT & LAUGHING!]
VG: That doesn't matter... There is also a copyright law!

MW: May I set an interrupt? You also have advertisements in some known magazines (not in ILLEGAL -ed) where your assistants pretend they're crackers and offer software.
VG: No, not crackers...
MW: But if someone writes in and likes to buy software, which is quite reasonable, then you catch him! Is that really legal?
VG: If someone only writes in and is fairly interested in getting the games, of course nothing happens. But if somebody sends a list of games and encloses disks with software, then it is possible that something can happen.

TP: It has proved up to now, that no protection is unbeatable...?
MW: What do you want to do against things like freeze-modules which can be bought in every shop?
TP: Yes such things are even offered by the industry and they help the crackers doing their job?
VG: It's not... It happened that one of the leading software producers in Germany claimed to take away all those things from the shops, and exactly this freeze-module will be taken away soon...

TP: But there is no doubt that something new has to be developed... Anyway, I'm sorry, but the time is up. Thank you a lot.
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