Reader Submission #35 – SandroX found a way to rip car models from iRacing

Today’s Reader Submission comes from Matt M., showing us that notorious rFactor modder SandroX has found a way to rip car models from iRacing – and we’re hoping he turns his attention to the numerous different oval racing cars at some point.

It’s 3:45 AM on a Sunday morning, I’m bored, tired, and NBCSN is still going to be showing shitty infomercials for the next hour or so until F1 coverage starts, and since you guys at seem to be experts when it comes to the legal history of anything iRacing has a hand in, I thought you might be interested in this, or could at least provide some info if you know any.

unnamedOne of my sim racing friends that I do a lot of painting for recently informed me that there is an rFactor Star Mazda mod that appears to be ripped straight from iRacing. Sounds crazy, but the template unwrap is practically identical and the car in-game bears a striking resemblance to the iRacing Star Mazda model. I don’t think I can go anywhere from here with it, so do what you may, but a lot of my usual internet buddies found it interesting. I’ve provided a link to the mod and comparison images of the templates and the cars in game. The template isn’t quite identical anymore because iRacing updated their model, but it looks like it should match perfectly with the old Star Mazda.

unnamed2The mod can be found HERE.

2That’s definitely a rip from iRacing, and my best guess is that SandroX found a way to unpack the torrented version of iRacing that’s been floating around since 2008. While it’s nice to know someone’s figured out how to do it, the 2008 torrented copy doesn’t offer much for content. At the time, iRacing was fairly small, and featured very little in terms of noteworthy tracks and cars. Even if SandroX sat down and ripped everything from that version of the game, very little would be of any use in other sims.

The Late Model would be nice for us oval guys, but there were very few oval tracks featured in that version of the game – I think Stafford Motor Speedway, Richmond, and South Boston were the only three oval tracks worth driving at that point. As for Road Course cars, if the Star Mazda’s already been ripped, that leaves the Radical as another car potentially worthy ripping. If we look at road courses, it would be nice to have a laser scanned Laguna Seca and Sears Point, but their version of Lime Rock is outdated, and Summit Point is pretty poor compared to today’s standards.

Would iRacing be able to take him to court? Yes. Would they win? No.

This is because iRacing would have to explain to a judge the intricacies of how users do not outright own any content they purchase for the sim – they are essentially renting it, and that discussion in a legal setting alone would be problematic for iRacing. With iRacing’s business model, it’s equivalent to subscribing to Sports Illustrated magazine, but the moment your year long subscription runs out, the FBI shows up to your house and takes your shelf full of SI issues, promising to return them when you renew your subscription. Good luck getting a judge who’d inevitably invest a fair bit of time in this hypothetical case to understand why that’s a reasonable concept and side with iRacing.

Then you get to the legality of ripped mods. Of course, we’re well aware that mods from Game “A” are often ripped and put into Game “B” for several reasons. Had SandroX made this a payware mod, iRacing would have a case. He hasn’t. The kid isn’t profiting off of it, and there’s no way to gauge “lost potential sales from people downloading an rFactor mod over subscribing to iRacing”. So I’ll let you in on a little secret: court is the principal’s office for adults, and whoever is the better public speaker, wins. In order to persuade the judge in this hypothetical case that SandroX is stealing business away from iRacing, they would have to produce raw data that shows a dip in revenue directly correlating with the release of the Star Mazda rFactor rip. I think we all know this is something iRacing wouldn’t be able to do.

I think the most they could do is spit out a Cease & Desist letter, but good luck tracking down a Russian rFactor modder, and good luck making him take that letter seriously.


10 thoughts on “Reader Submission #35 – SandroX found a way to rip car models from iRacing

  1. I downloaded this exact mod literally four years ago. How this is worthy of an entire article, while anything from the legitimate scratch-made modding community isn’t, is beyond me.

    Your legal argument doesn’t even come close to having any basis. iRacing will DCMA this article, and they have every right to. I love converted mods, but publishing links and requests on a popular site that is linked to your real identity is beyond retarded. iRacing may have held a groundless vendetta against you before, but you’ve just legitimized them.

    iRacing’s legal team has been dormant in the area of modding for years. Drawing attention to conversions like this, before they’ve even really begun, will only make it harder to decrypt and convert in the future. I implore you to take down this article, for the simple fact that it will mean more conversions from iRacing in the future.


  2. Modern iRacing encrypts the car bodies + physics, other than that it’s using slightly modernized NR2003 file formats, which in turn strongly resemble every Papy title. Main change is they use a dds DXT5 format instead of 16 bit textures, and they zip stuff to reduce filesize.

    I don’t know enough about proper encryption to even attempt to crack the models, it’s not like AC’s data.acd where it’s airquote encrypted but actually just a simple cipher.


  3. This is because iRacing would have to explain to a judge the intricacies of how users do not outright own any content they purchase for the sim – they are essentially renting it,”

    While the case of renting in iRacing is obvious, the idea that users “own outright” anything software is incorrect. You own a license to use it, but certain don’t own software you purchase.

    [related to this is that product liability doesn’t apply to software, so you can’t sue over bugs – software is weird as hell, legally]


  4. That’s… that’s really not how the law works at all, actually. Time-limited software licenses have been going on for decades, and you don’t have to directly prove damages in copyright cases.


  5. Its pretty clear that they would have a case and could prosecute with very little trouble. Copyryight infringement laws are not as hard to prove as you think.


  6. Why decrypt when you can rip from any game with directx3d rippers? The devs can do what they want sooner or later the model has to be sent to your video card as plane old triangles.


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