The whole Half-Life/CS licensing ruckus caused by Adspace which resulted in the closing down of dozens of cyber cafes last year, based on the supposed violation of copyright laws, is now finally being turned on its head. A talk with a prominent cybercafe player who stood his ground on not submitting to these ‘terrorists’ of the Malaysian CC circuit revealed that cafes can actually use legal copies of Day of Defeat (distributed by New Era Interactive and not SM, as DoD is published by Activision and not Vivendi Universal) instead of Half-Life, to run CS. This allows cafe owners to only pay a one-time original copy fee and not the ridiculous monthly licence charges set by SM – a regulation which does not exist in any other country but Malaysia, and one that has caused the demise of many cafes. When asked how they managed to discover this loophole, my friend said “It just landed on our lap!” Rumour has it that SM is now trying to buy NEI over so that they can again cannibalise on the business and ironically put their very customers out of business. I really hope Microsoft (since Sega is out of the running) or some other conglomerate buys Vivendi (and hence BLizzard/Sierra) out so the cafes here have a chance to breathe. Sure, the software per copy would cost more but the monthly “protection fees” would stop. This extortion has to stop.

THe irony is that these guys are being hailed as the intellectual property protectors. Let’s see what happens when the axe falls. For all we know, it could Uncle Ho himself!