ASR Leak Source Defiant In SEGA Legal Threat

ASR Leak Source Defiant In SEGA Legal Threat

The blog site that leaked sensitive information about Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing yesterday has now issued a defence of its editorial position, including a personal attack against SEGA Community Manager ArchAngelUK, after receiving a legal message from SEGA to remove its information.

“This [legal threat], from the Sega employee [AAUK] who, in his spare time, runs on his Sonic website a “Depository,” which is chock full of items just begging to be tagged as copyright infringement,” site editor Tristan Bresnen exclaimed on a front page bulletin.

Sonic Wrecks, among sites such as The Sonic Stadium, hosts media obtained through SEGA products, but it is agreed that such use is not damaging to the company’s intellectual property. SEGA may see the leak of confidential information on an unreleased game as a different circumstance.

Bresnen further defended his position, stating that the discovery was not by way of hack but through files that were “already available without restriction” on the official game website. XML files were discovered, at which point the blog used ‘decompilers’ to uncover the information. Bresnen suggested that “Sega let something loose,” which is a bit of an extreme argument given the blog had to actually go out and find it for itself.

TSSZ sparked controversy when it obtained flash code from the official game website and reverse-engineered it to reveal material that had yet to be announced. Such content included new playable characters in the Bonanza Bros. and Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone. It certainly was controversial when TSS picked up on it, for all of a sudden the subject became taboo.

SEGA is obviously not very pleased with the situation. ArchAngelUK’s letter to the TSSZ blog reads; “I’ve been asked to confirm upon you SEGA’s official request to take down the following posts made about information on SEGA title Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing with immediate effect. The posts below…contain information that puts TSSZ News in breach of SEGA copyright and I am told additional legal issues as well that facilitate this request.”

Bresnen concluded his announcement by suggesting SEGA is responsible for the blog’s actions in the first place. He implies that he had no choice but to sanction a subversive investigation into ASR’s official website, following an interview snub from SEGA with Sumo Digital’s Steve Lycett.

“Were those at Sega Europe better coders and better communicators–instead of those who seemingly can’t be arsed to return an E-Mail until it’s too late–it would have been possible for us to deliver you the information in question, and perhaps more, without subsequent fear and backlash erected from a situation that, again, rests on their shortcomings.”

Damn. This could get ugly, real fast. Remember No Drama ’09, and how it ‘completely failed’? Yeah, you’re looking at why we didn’t suggest a No Drama 10. Awkward.

Source: TSSZ

Published by

Dreadknux

Sexy founder of The Sonic Stadium, and creator and co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic fan convention. By day, I'm a super-fantastic games journalist, el professionale. By night, I'm the mother-loving Sonical Batman. I keep the site ticking, look after the TSS Network, and get all excited about Sonic games so that you can too. May contain nuts.

44 Comments

  1. What else do you expect a site dedicated to bringing the community Sonic news to do, though? I can’t really see anyone in the wrong here, but this is TSSZ we’re talkin about. There’s always drama.

  2. @tailsthehedgehog
    Decompiling a website is pretty much hacking. Doing that just to gain access to unannounced characters is going a bit too far don’t you think?

    @Ethan Kerr
    The Stupid S*** Zone is rather appropriate. I think it’s pretty stupid to go up against SEGA.

  3. @sonicyoda: Don’t get me wrong here, TSSZ can rub me the wrong way as much as the next person, but you can’t tell water not to be wet.

  4. No offence to you Tails as you’re obviously an intelligent person, but just fobbing TSSZ off as ‘that site that’s always stirring shit’ is a bit wrong. They can’t just act outside the law because of their reputation. I’m not saying we should do something as AAUK is clearly on the case but you shouldn’t be so dissmissive of something like this.

    TSSZ hacked the ASR site and ruined the character reveals for everyone. SEGA might have had trailers lined up to announce these characters to give the fans a big suprise and make it more special. All that marketing has now been successfully destroyed since TSSZ went digging around the ASR site.

  5. That’s another SEGA’s fail, don’t blame TSSZ. Everyone with minimal efforts could decompile SWF file, they just did it first (or revealed it’s contents first, to be more accurate).

    How many times SEGA uploaded “confidential documents” to their public FTP? You want to keep it secret – DO NOT upload it to your website if it can be accessed. Why it’s so hard for them to learn not to do such stupid things? 🙂

    Think about it.

  6. Whatever. I’m obviously not gonna change your opinion on this. Yeah you can do it, but you don’t tell everyone how you did it and then release your findings, ruining SEGA’s reveal strategy and potentially making them lose money in the process.

  7. Nah, I get what you’re saying, sonicyoda, you’ve definitely got a point to be exasperated about there 🙁 Sorry if I sounded ‘dismissive’, I suppose I am – you can only hear about this sort of thing so many times before it falls back into the ‘everybody roll your eyes together now’ box of felonies.

  8. I know what you’re on about as I for one am a bit sick of hearing ‘First at TSSZ: We act like a bunch of arses!’ every week. You’d think a fan-site would be a little more respectful to the company they essentially work off.

  9. OH WOW. Now you’re pitching TSSZ as the bad guys here? You guys really are retarded now, aren’t you?

    No, this proved how terrible SEGA is. LOCK YOUR CRAP UP IF YOU DON’T WANT THINGS LEAKING OUT. The very fact, they sent them a lawsuit proves how overprotective of their franchise they are. They’re just like Nintendo and that Hero Of Time movie.

  10. Again, you really don’t have a clue do you? The fact that you can’t access it on the site without HACKING it sounds pretty locked up to me!

    Plus, most leaks come from SEGA USA leaving things in their FTPs, not SEGA Europe (who’s in charge of ASR).

  11. Greg The Cat: We’ve not pitched TSSZ as the bad guys. There’s really no stance to take, in our position, as we are not involved. We are reporting both sides of the coin in an unbiased fashion. I believe that this is the ‘journalism’ that you badly seek on other websites, in fact.

    Thanks for jumping the gun though. Stay passionate!

  12. Guys, will you please calm yourselves down. You’re allowed to have opinions, but we’re not going to tollerate name-calling on here at all.

  13. The fact remains, tssz were very naughty, they should not have done what they did, to justify it as being Segas fault for poor security sounds like the cries of a desperate individual trying to shift blame from his own actions. Face up to the consequences, as the great don Corleone said “ACT LIKE A MAN” instead of trying to spin a most pathetic excuse. I for one have grown sick and tired of these bloggers wrecking stuff, putting jobs at risk just so they can get some add hits.

  14. Being a person who has dealt with a lot of real life drama, this is nothing. Everyone just take a step back and realize in the grand scheme of things this is just an issue between SEGA and TSSZ legally. I don’t blame TSSZ for decompiling the site and reporting their findings, but it is a bit trippy of them to use offense as their ultimate defense when it turns into a legal matter. SEGA I believe is very serious because their marketing campaign was very precise to generate hype and satisfactions. Admit it, the characters all revealed at once like this is not as cool or exciting as if some trailer were released and flashed them or something. However, SEGA also should have been the wiser to to make sure when they put the site up the remaints of the characters were not traceable.

    I have my sympathies to SUMO and SEGA on this one, I don’t think there was anything wrong with searching the site, hell I’ve done it in the past, but I do think it was a bit immature of him to deny them their rights to their privacy of property and then go around and point fingers at everyone else why it isn’t his fault. It isn’t, but pointing fingers isn’t going to help anything.

    It was a mistake a bit on each side, we can all either handle this maturely and move on or dwell on it and have a fuss of drama. Which sounds better to you, eh?

  15. @DreadKnux: Just to give you a heads up: I can see everyone’s IP addresses in the header of their replies. I don’t remember seeing that before…

    But anyway, I agree: this is a game about a fictitious character. But why is SEGA blowing all this smoke over this information? Any blantant person could have accessed the ASR site code and posted their findings. It’s that simple, yet SEGA is calling “hacker.” Oh, and now threatening legal action, even.

    I just don’t understand what SEGA will gain from their request. If TSSZ does remove the information, the resources they posted are sure to be tucked away in a few people’s hard drives. And it’s already posted throughout the vast expanse of the web. Oh, and all the people who viewed TSSZ aren’t going to have amnesia about the matter, either.

    So, what’s my take? I’m siding with TSSZNews. As paragraphs 2 and 3 of this article infers, this is yet another “pot calling the kettle black” situation. Catching TSSZ by the throat for posting publicly accessible information and then excusing sites such as Sonic Wrecks for hosting copyrighted material is, simply put, wrong. No “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts” about it. Wrong.

    But, SEGA is going to win this battle. They’ve got a legal powerhouse at their fingers. They can just press a button and “WHAM!”–they’ve got that guy down. My hope is SEGA will lose the war–this war of legal prejudice. I hope that someday both groups–those who post copyrighted material and those who have accessed open content–can be treated fairly.

  16. TSSZ still has the pages up that SEGA has asked to take down. Really guys? Is it worth it? Just take ’em down. Hell, Sega is the reason all these sites exist, so the least TSSZ could do is play nice with the company that essentially created them.

  17. To those saying that it’s ‘not hacking’ because it was ‘freely available’… think of it this way. Is it ‘not burglary’ if someone finds your key under your doormat and enters your house to take something? Sure, it’d be stupid to leave your key where it could be found… but the principle is still the same – wilfully exploiting a weakness/lapse of judgement to take what wasn’t meant to be taken.

    I do believe in free news – once something like that is out, I don’t blame people for sharing. Fandom lives for these moments. But I don’t believe in the principle of how the data was obtained in the first place.

  18. @Flyboy I’m sorry but that example doesn’t work if your a public site. It’s not breaking and entering if you leave the door open with a big “please come in” sign.

    Also, anyone claiming what they did is hacking, you’ve probably done it also. When you rip music from a CD you decompile the files then recompile them in an easier to read format. That’s all they did. Sega left code where it shouldn’t have been left and then invited people to look at it thinking nobody would look that closely.

    Personally, i think both sides are highly overreacting.

  19. @Tailsfox
    It’s still hacking.

    @Greg the cat
    Personalizing your responses and publicizing your problems on a blog, yeah that’s real cooth. And SEGA is trying to protect its product just like any other company would. So who’s surprised that something like revealing information they didn’t condone ready for release would get them into some trouble.

    Really, what digusts me most is how personal the post that TSSZ retaliated with. Absolutely unforgivable.

  20. The moral of this story is if you don’t want sensitive information to be found ahead of your meticulously planned marketing strategy, make sure it isn’t anywhere on that shiny new website you upload.

    I can understand why SEGA want the information removed but it doesn’t mean I sympathise with them. This isn’t the first time things like this have leaked early thanks to a lax understanding of security online. If it’s somewhere on your website even if you think it’s hidden don’t underestimate how far people will go to find it, especially if your marketing strategy is to starve fans of information.

    As for TSS reporting on the cause and effect, so what? Info is leaked, SEGA isn’t happy and TSSZ isn’t happy about being threatened. Dreadknux’s story was fair, had both sides of the story covered and had a small commentary at the end about there being no let up in the drama surrounding the community. End of.

  21. @echohawk

    Yes it is still hacking. What most people don’t realize is that hacking is not actually a bad thing. Hacking is decompiling something to find it’s source code. It’s when some finds source code that allows them to find account names, passwords, ect, that hacking becomes illegal. When it involves PRIVATE data. The ASR website is NOT PRIVATE DATA! If you’re going to condemn all hacking, then you can’t report on any game mods anymore, since you have to hack a games assests in order to modify them. Heck, even the debug mode in early Sonic games is a simple form of hacking, since some levels give you access to items that weren’t used in the game. If all forms of hacking are wrong, then this site should also be blamed for posting discovered by fans about Sonic X-Treme and early betas of Sonic 2. Simply put, hacking is not wrong, it’s only wrong when used to access private data.

    Again, I believe that both parties are in the wrong, but Sega is more wrong than TSSZ. TSSZ reported on stuff that Sega didn’t want seen, though I am sure that if they didn’t do it, someone else would have, but I think that Sega suing them is completely inappropriate. Hasn’t this site even refused to delete leaked information before? TSSZ posted news, something they found (yes hidden) on a public site. As far as I can tell, they did nothing that could be considered illegal though.

  22. You know, regarding all this lawsuit nonsense, the same thing that TSSZ did to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing’s website was done to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s website, yet Capcom didn’t initiate anything.

    Do you know what Capcom did to get back at the fans who pulled that stunt? They acted like there wasn’t going to be anymore characters. That was actually pretty smart and funny, as it caused more interest in the game. Then the ESRB mentioned something about 26 characters. Fans bugged the hell out of Seth Killian and Chris Svensson about that, but guess what they said? “What’s wrong with 25 characters? Marvel vs. Capcom had an uneven roster.”

    Two weeks before the release of TvC, they finally reveal Ai-Chan (Yatterman-2), and then there was a sudden sigh of relief. Nobody wanted a 25-character roster. We all had to make it an even 26 because of our FOCD (fan obsessive-compulsive disorder)!

    Why the hell can’t SEGA do the same? What the hell is the problem here? The 3rd party contractor they hired to do the website obviously did a bum-job. For cripes sakes, [i]they all do[/i]. That’s why Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s website was just as easy to get into!

    What are all of your thoughts on my take of the situation? I believe many people already have the same opinion as me on the matter.

  23. “@Flyboy I’m sorry but that example doesn’t work if your a public site. It’s not breaking and entering if you leave the door open with a big “please come in” sign.”

    It’s hardly that. If you’re going to decompile a flash file, you’re obviously looking for something that isn’t readily available. Like looking to see if anyone left a key under the mat outside your house, and then letting yourself in.

    Yes, SEGA were foolish to leave the equivalent of a wad of £50 notes in the front passenger seat of a car, but that doesn’t make it any more right to break into the car, regardless of whether you break the window or more cleanly pick the lock.

    I’m not going to say that SEGA are blameless because of course it was bad information management… but basically excusing TSSZ because it was just TOO tempting for them not to try to find hidden goodies is just… lacking in any basic respect for SEGA.

    The info is out now, and nothing can be done. I don’t believe it should be muzzled as that only brings more bad publicity to SEGA and KEEPS the story in the headlines. But I do think TSSZ is very out of line for getting so pissed and retaliatory at AAUK and SEGA for calling them out on what they did.

  24. I say take the info down, despite the fact that it is already everywhere else in the world wide web ><
    I'd prefer to lose a page in the blog than lose millions of dollars or whatever.

  25. Just in my opinion, I don’t mind it if they hack the site themselves and keep it to themselves, but posting on the interwebs? I just don’t think that’s very ethical. I gotta agree with Flyboy on this one, just because someone left their key under the mat doesn’t give you the right to look for it and break into their house with it.

    But, it wasn’t good for SEGA to put that up on their site if they knew people would be able to look into it and find something “top secret”, in fact, why would they put the top secret guys into the list NOW anyway? Why not wait and add them AFTER the release or after you announce them? I mean c’mon.

    …But that still doesn’t make what the hacker did okay, I think it was downright rude. But I digress, I doubt it will convince people not to buy it now that they know the Bonaza Bros and Opa-Opa are in it, if anything, it would INCREASE sales because people like those characters. I mean most of us are still going to buy it anyway, right(well if you were going to buy it in the first place)?

  26. Already available without restriction? Then how come I couldn’t see that page when I went to look at the website? Piss weak excuse.. Sega should take legal action, especially in this day and age where cyber security issues aren’t looked down upon.


    Sorry Steve, we as a community let you down.

  27. Compare this to when the Mega Man fandom found out Capcom didn’t want the Mega Man 10 bosses revealed.

    They reacted speedily and courteously.

    This fandom is asinine.

  28. So iam guessing Nights isnt in it? Thats retarted…. Oh well Nights or not the game looks good and in all honesty SEGA shoulda been more carefull. Its not our fault they dont think about this kind of stuff before hand.

  29. i had a site on a php based account. it was hacked by some turkish hackers. I could not ever get back my old site. and ever since i hated hackers. and i am not talking about people for modify their computers, video games, or other types of hardware/software. I am talking about the malicious intent to harm, expose, or discredit someones work. I been through my share of SEGA misshaps. I posted those leaked sonic unleashed pictures on my first youtube account so i could just report news in a fair use manner. SEGA reported copryright infrigement and my account was gone. I came back to my second account (tozonline) and i have been alright ever since. I love SEGA, I hope to work for that company someday in some form or another. But I have to wonder about TSSZ’s decision to report the hacked and come on you know it was, material. Even if that is something that is done everyday, SEGA is going after the casual consumer who may not be in tune to sophisicated ways of “reseaching” or “reporting” or “learning” about new characters and such. And what ever happened to following the rules of journalism? I thought that you had to wait ,even if you look up the material yourself, for SEGA to give it the okay for sites to report on the material? You know, wait until an embargo is expired. Or becoming patient when it comes to requesting an interview with a professional who might have a busy schedule? I applaud The Sonic Stadium for being patient and following the procedures to report news. I think i can learn alot from this site compared to TSSZ. Though I said that last comment, I still visit tssznews to get some of my news when i can. But I just wonder….

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