Witcher Devs Pursuing Alleged Pirates

Witcher Devs Pursuing Alleged Pirates

CD Projekt, the developers of the Witcher series, have been sending letters to alleged German pirates demanding over US$1,000 for having illegally copied the game.

Um, what?

Website TorrentFreak reported that through law firms the Polish developer sent “thousands” of letters to BitTorrent users, each asking for €911.80 in compensation for the accused having obtained a copy of the game without paying.

Not cool.

The problem lies not in the fact law-breakers are being pursued, but in the means of identifying these so-called pirates. While CD Projekt claims it is “100 per cent sure” that those being shook down “have downloaded our game illegally”, they refuse to disclose how that information can be confirmed, or which company they are using to verify the claims.

A move for which there’s probably a very good reason. As TorrentFreak pointed out, “CD Projekt’s lawyers are also wrongfully accusing people who have never even heard of the game.”

“After all, an IP address doesn’t identify a person, and Wi-Fi piggybacking is not unusual. But CD Projekt, who don’t want to bug legitimate consumers with DRM, apparently take this collateral damage for granted.”

This kind of threat-by-mail is the same used by Codemasters and Atari in 2007-2008.

DRM-Free Witcher 2 Cashes in On BitTorrent Pirates [TorrentFreak, via Eurogamer]

Comments

  • Yeaahh, not really understanding this, it’s hardly enough to make me act like a twat and do a 180 on the praise I’ve given CDProjeckt, but this seems… almost out of character? I just don’t see why you wouldn’t disclose how the info can be confirmed, I further don’t see how a seemingly exceedingly rational group can claim they’re 100% sure, nothing’s 100%, least of the supposition that ip address = person, and the claim just comes off as arrogant and ignorant.

    If I got mail telling me I owe someone money for stealing something, but despite claims they have proof they will not be showing it to anyone, I laugh and throw the letter out. It’s innocent until ‘proven’ guilty not innocent until ‘accused.’ (Yes I know this isn’t exactly the case in civil cases, but you certainly won’t/shouldn’t be convicted just because someone accused you)

    • Actually, in civil cases it’s the accused who has the burden of proof, not the accuser. Additionally, it’s “balance of probability” in those cases, not “beyond a reasonable doubt”, meaning if they can provide sufficient evidence that you probably downloaded a pirated copy of the game, so long as that proof has not been obtained via illegal means you will most likely be compelled to make reasonable compensation to them unless you can conclusively prove that you did not do it

  • I’m assuming that they wouldn’t release the company through which the searches were conducted since if pirates know the company they would just try and hide from their techniques.
    And “wrongfully” accusing people who have “never heard of the game” is far too broad. I’m a huge Halo fan, howeverif someone was accusing me of pirating the game, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for me to say I’d never heard of the game.
    Unfortunately for the legitimate non-pirates who were wi-fi hacked, if their address is the recorded address (assuming a 100% accurate identification) that is fair grounds for demand for payment. It’s unfortunate, but these wi-fi connections shoud be more secure

    • Actually, there are a crapload of issues beyond that, as revealed by recording studios litigation where it was found that ignoring whether you have secure network, its almost impossible to pinpoint the actual perp. Other methids like torrent tracking seem more reliable, but of course raise privacy concrrns.

    • If Project CD tell people how they are catching them, then pirates would know how to cover their tracks. Companies are always going to cop shit for attempting to chase down pirates, and their methods may not always be ideal, but pirating games hurts the industry and witcher’s sales vs downloads ratio is just painful, I don’t blame them for going to extreme lengths to catch those responsible.

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