The Witcher 2 Developer Drops Legal Threats

Last month we reported that the publisher of The Witcher 2, CD Projekt, were pursuing legal action against those who had illegally downloaded the game. Today they have confirmed that they will be dropping the legal threats.

CD Projekt's co-founder, Marcin Iwinski said in a statement: "While we are confident that no-one who legally owns one of our games has been required to compensate us for copyright infringement, we value our fans, our supporters, and our community too highly to take the chance that we might ever falsely accuse even one individual.

"So we've decided that we will immediately cease identifying and contacting pirates. We've heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we're responding to them.

The Polish developer of The Witcher and The Witcher 2 had been seeking to make pirates pay €911.80 for their actions. Concerns were raised within the gaming community of the potential for innocent paying customers being slapped by the legal fine because CD Projekt were not willing to reveal their methods for identifying the pirates.

Iwinski ended his statement by saying that although CD Projekt would be ending its legal pursuit of pirates, they would need the support of paying customers.

"You need to help us and do your part; don't be indifferent to piracy," he said.

"Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won't be able to produce new excellent titles for you."


Comments

    Kudos to CD Projekt.
    They've proved, to me at least, they are doing this for the fans first.

      Where i see them doing it for publicity (nuetral/bad) then being the good guys when they drop it. Plus they couldnt identify if my partner or child downloaded thier game.
      All this would have accomplished would be pirates using more security for themselves.

        While this was my first thought, ultimately this is better than the bullheaded charge forward of other companies that just continue to push their DRM measures, and pursuit of those they deem in violation thereof.

      Given the choice between dropping the action or revealing their methods and proof, they chose to go with dropping the action. This makes me wonder what they are hiding about the method they used to gather the proof :/

    “Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won’t be able to produce new excellent titles for you.”

    I can agree with this statement, but the prices need to be even for all regions -- not less expensive here, and more expensive there.

    You say “You need to help us and do your part; don’t be indifferent to piracy.”

    I say “You need to help us and do your part; don’t be indifferent to pricing equity.”

      Part of the problem there isn't CDPR's doing, it's the publishers for the local regions. CDPR removed their IP region tracking from their distribution website, GoG so people in other regions could buy at the standard price without their local country publisher forcing them to charge more for that region. CDPR are all for standard pricing.

    I'm kind of confused as to why they were charging about 15 times the price of the game. is that how much they were asserting each instance of piracy had cost them?

      Several reasons I think:

      1) Deterrent - larger number is scarier, especially to potential pirates who read about it in the news
      2) Most torrent software requires folks to upload as well as download, meaning that a single user downloading the game might be uploading to multiple users at the same time (probably not 15x as much upload as download, but it's an unknown quantity)

        3) Recoup legal costs of investigations and sending out legal letters, possible court cases.

          I believe 3 has been mentioned before as probably the largest factor. Which makes me think that this sort of method is just grossly inefficient.

          Shotgun lawsuits, bad for PR and they don't seem to be that financially rewarding.

        It seems more likely that the damages are strictly punitive, but I'd be interested to know how they justify it.

        My point is even if each pirate is uploading and downloading, if they fine each individual person who pirated a full copy of the game. If I downloaded it once then sent it to ten people, are they going to fine those ten people and also fine me for 11 copies?

    “Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won’t be able to produce new excellent titles for you.” ( in other words, rich people crying poor) STFU AND DO SOME WORK!

      But...

      This doesn't even make sense...

      WAT?

      You'd think it was more fair if they made games for the hell of it while broke and unable to afford things such as staff, computers and electricity (and without reward)? BAH, WHO NEEDS THOSE THINGS TO MAKE A GAME.

      Entitlement much?

      I don't even know where to start, you are seriously telling somebody to STFU because they are asking people to pay for the product that they enjoy

      Yeah man, those damn greedy game developers are already rolling in cash, they shouldn't expect to be paid for their work!

    In before tons of comments discussing piracy. AGAIN.

    Can anyone explain why this game isn't coming out on PS3? As far as I know the developer and publisher haven't signed any exclusivity deals.

      Probably to much work. This games was made for PC and the 360 port is apparently already requiring changes, is being done in house and still isn't done. So doing another port would just waste even more time that they could spend working on The Witcher 3. Plus it's apparently easier porting from windows to 360.

    Pirate Force GO!!!!!

    This whole issue left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm glad they've ceased with it, appreciation time = time to buy another copy of the witcher 2.

    When do we get the Xbox360 version? Or is that cancelled? Or will CDprojekt go console only...

    Piracy is a fact of life and cannot and will not be stopped. Respect to the developer for not starting a witch hunt.

    Common sense and decency ain't no match for the almighty ignorance of THE INTERNET!

    Glad CDPRojekt are respecting due process. But I sure wish everyone who pirated The Witcher 2 could get the punch in the face they so richly deserve!

      Can't agree mate. You don't know those people, you don't know their motivations, and you don't know why they didn't buy the game, and you don't know whether or not their not buying the game is actually hurting the developers or is actually a scape-goat for something else. So you can't know what they deserve, logically, and if you still think you know what they deserve then I guess it's only right you don't complain if someone makes a remark about what you deserve.

      Although, if we're talking about ACTUAL pirates (e.g. download game, burn copies of it and sell them to people), then yes, they do deserve punch in the faces (or slaps if circumstances are more favourable towards their case), since they are siphoning someone else's profits and claiming them for themselves. Someone who downloads a free copy of an infinitely replicatable entity, what they deserve isn't really knowable by any human at all, although if they ever become devs, I think a fitting consequence would be their product being pirated.

        Playing a game is not some kind of right. The entitlement attitude around the internet is unbelievable. Piracy is not theft, but that doesn't mean it's ok.

        CD Projekt are the very best developers out there for caring about customers. No DRM, fighting hard for global pricing, and building quality games for hardcore gamers.

        People pirate for different reasons etc, but anyone who isn't supporting CD Projekt but instead pirating their games .. I'm sorry but they have no ideological excuse, they're freeloading scumbags.

    The Developers DO deserve the money for their game, but unfortunately because of the big name studios (EA, Ubisoft, Activision, etc..) they take a large cut of the earnings that is rightly the developers. The moment that stops, people will think twice before pirating

      No, they won't. Because they'll find some other justification to keep pirating. It was DRM, now it's publishers getting paid. Incidentally, the real bad guys are not the publishers - it's the retailers: they take 70% of the sale price before it even gets to publishers. If you pirate because you want developers to get more money, buy digital - that way they'll get more than twice as much money (as digital retailers only take a 30% cut).

    I knew this would blow over when I first heard about it. They would be losing further money by pursuing their campaign and I think CDProjekt realised they were not in the debt collection business, the legalities too complex and expensive and that they made their point. The fight was too big.

    I bought my copy of Witcher 2, and haven't regretted it. I fully support anyone else paying money for this fantastic game.

    That many euros per pirate seems purely punitive, or a pure money getting exercise, so it''s good they stopped otherwise I would have thought much less of them. If they were going to get the price of the game plus a bit extra for legal costs, that's different, but if legal costs are about 1k euro each, someone's getting ripped off by someone (ironic given the nature of pirating is to avoid paying for something, whatever the reason!)

    As for name blaming, who's at fault for piracy, I say everyone, EVERYONE, is part of the problem. People saying pirates are bad, pirates saying people are bad, companies, developers, publishers, retailers, lawyers, they all contribute bit by bit. Honestly, I'm for the free-market capitalist approach - buy what you want and like, don't buy what you don't like or don't want. How you acquire a game outside of that, I don't care about.

    People who pirate and don't think about the devs and don't consider the merits of a game and ask themselves if they think the devs deserve a reward for that, well, they'll pirate anyway, or they won't bother anyway. On the flipside, forcing people to buy or simply not go near an item they don't want to buy or afford has a double-edged affect of A) falsely propping up and giving wealth to companies that aren't actually popular by using profits from unsuspecting consumers, which screws with capitalism and meritocracy and provides excessive cushioning, and B) limits the transmission of culture (which unfortunately, most 1st world people are unaware of their role in it), and if the culture of a game can't be transmitted easily then people will only gain interest in something if their friends like it enough, which alienates loners :P

    So, it's best to go half way - do what you can to keep your property from being taken out of your control, but give your customers control, don't penalise people for being interested in you (at least not excessively since you effectively turn people against you doing that), and use Valve's mentality of pirates being "undeserved customers" - if they're not buying your game, you're clearly not connecting with them and ergo don't deserve their money until you rectify that. It's up to the devs and publishers to decide whether or not they think that it's important or not to "deserve" everyone's attention.

    TL;DR
    Forcing things is not good. It brings only short term benefits. Pirates are customers you need to connect with, not shun, otherwise you're killing off potential customers out of impatience. If they never pay you, they were never going to pay, and forcing money out of them is not the way to change their mind, since that only causes bad feelings.

    "Don't be indifferent to piracy." Good advice.

    The world is changing. Today you can download a product through the internet. It is then your choice whether you think the product is worth the money, whether you want to give up the cash as either a donation to the developers or to get added bonuses like online multiplayer, easier access to DLC and patches, a physical copy, etc.

    On one hand, it allows people who are struggling financially to not have to skip games. It allows people to more carefully choose where to send their money, sending it to the devs they feel did the best work without skipping on that must-have AAA title. It makes some grounds towards preventing the current situation, where certain games and franchises become so popular that they steamroll the competition simply because more sales = more coverage = more sales.

    On the hand more generous to devs, it more thoroughly encourages donations, as we see with indie bundles where those who can afford it donate more - sometimes much more - than the asking price. It allows developers with more niche titles to survive on the donations of more loyal fans.

    Really the only people piracy hurts are developers who were relying on blind sales - people who buy a game that turns out bad - and the developers who are earning too much goddamn money anyway.

    This may not be the way the law sees it, but it is the way very many people see it according to download numbers, and when a law is against the majority's belief it is quite simply a bad law that needs to be changed.

      why shouldn't they miss out on games if they can't afford them? it's not like playing games is a necessity of life. All this using pirates as a demo is bull, sorry, but really- How many people actually do this and then buy the game?

    My god, the argument that 'people can't afford them, so it's okay to pirate it because they can experience them', is not a justification for piracy whatsoever. Why do people think the videogame industry is removed from the constraints of every other industry in a free market capitalist society?

    If I can't afford a TV, is it okay for me to steal a TV to 'experience' television i wouldnt usually get? What about a motorcycle? a snowboard? a book?

    Piracy isn't a demo, it's not a try before you buy, it's pure human nature of 'I can benefit for less return than I usually would have to'. To dress it up any other way is fallacy.

      Computer Software isn't like TV, For example cable service will work on all TVs but BF3 will play fine on some computers and completely crap a brick on others

      This results in making their experience impossible to enjoy or utilize therefor there needs to be some way for weary consumers to find out wither or not a product will work. Piracy has come to a forefront due to the less and less utilization of demos.

      the recommended specs that games list on the box is another laughable subject because even if you meet the recommended specs there has been games that run at a slideshow pace (cough saints row 2)

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