"How do you measure the failure of the copy protections that software companies place on their media products? In the case of Electronic Arts' highly-anticipated game "Spore," just count the pirates.
As of Thursday afternoon, "Spore" had been illegally downloaded on file-sharing networks using BitTorrent peer-to-peer transfer 171,402 times since Sept. 1, according to Big Champagne, a peer-to-peer research firm. That's hardly a record: a popular game often hits those kinds of six-figure piracy numbers, says Big Champagne Chief Executive Eric Garland.
But not usually so quickly. In just the 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, illegal downloaders snagged more than 35,000 copies, and, as of Thursday evening, that rate of downloads was still accelerating. "The numbers are extraordinary," Garland says. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title.""