Rockstar plans to use the controversial SecuROM digital rights management (DRM) tool to combat digital piracy with the forthcoming release of Grand Theft Auto IV for PC.

You may remember that EA faced considerable criticism for using SecuROM on Will Wright's Spore, with the uber-publisher still facing legal action from a number of disgruntled PC gamers who claim the anti-piracy software destroyed their PCs.

Works on multiple PCs

A Rockstar rep told IGN: "GTA IV PC uses SecuROM for protecting our EXE until street date has passed, to ensure the retail disk is in the computer drive, and it's used for product activation."

The key difference between Rockstar and EA is that they're not planning to limit the number of times GTA IV is allowed to be installed.

"Product activation is a one time only online authentication when installing the game," the rep said. "GTA IV has no install limits for the retail disc version of the game, and that version can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs by the retail disk owner."

Correct implementation of SecuROM

"Vocal 'board posters' seem to be most down on the SecuROM feature that limits the number of installations," continued the rep, "but this SecuROM functionality is really nothing different to what iTunes has used for years now, which is in over 500 millions files purchased from iTunes store."

"If you have the retail disc version, you will just need to take the disc with you to play on an unlimited number of machines. For the digital download versions, each digital download vendor has its own policy on the number of installations that are allowed. Check the vendor's policy before you purchase."

GTA IV now £18

Meanwhile, if you have still to play GTA IV on Xbox 360 or PS3 (what have you been doing?) you can grab a copy today from Play.com for a bargain £17.99.