CD Projekt RED calls off legal campaign against pirates

Witcher developer halts pursuit of torrenters after customer pressure

CD Projekt RED, the Polish studio behind the Witcher series, has reversed its decision to pursue legal action against people it believes have pirated its games.

Previously, the developer had employed a law firm to contact suspected pirates, offering a €750 settlement out of court as an alternative to a full case which could potentially result in massive fines, reports RPS. Now, in response to pressure from both customers and other industry sources, CD Project RED has decided to cease the action.

Company co-founder Marcin Iwinski issued a public letter to users, explaining that whilst the company's stance on piracy hasn't changed, it will no longer employ lawyers to approach software thieves.

"In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement," reads his letter.

"The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.

"Being part of a community is a give-and-take process. We only succeed because you have faith in us, and we have worked hard over the years to build up that trust. We were sorry to see that many gamers felt that our actions didn't respect the faith that they have put into CD Projekt RED. Our fans always have been and remain our greatest concern, and we pride ourselves on the fact that you all know that we listen to you and take your opinions to heart.

"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.

"Let's make this clear: we don't support piracy. It hurts us, the developers. It hurts the industry as a whole. Though we are staunch opponents of DRM because we don't believe it has any effect on reducing piracy, we still do not condone copying games illegally. We're doing our part to keep our relationship with you, our gaming audience, a positive one. We've heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we're responding to them.

"But you need to help us and do your part: don't be indifferent to piracy. If you see a friend playing an illegal copy of a game - any game - tell your friend that they're undermining the possible success of the developer who created the very game that they are enjoying. 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."

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Latest comments (5)

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Those last two paragraphs are the most important part. No game developer needs to be held hostage by some whiny over-reactionary crowd that thinks it's fine and dandy to defend illegal behavior because they fail to see that left unchecked, it can actually be a bad thing for a company that needs actual sales of a product along with any hype generated from those that obtain it by less legal means.
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I am really sorry that CD Projekt decided to call off their campaign and that they have bowed to this pressure. Real fans of their game would I am sure understand just why they felt it necessary to take this approach. The real culprits here are the multiplicity of torrent sites that exist and an industry fund to persue and hound them would in my view be both appropritae and popular
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Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 6 years ago
It's bad to have only a few fans buying your games, but it is even worst to lose those too because of improper PR. I think their PR messed it up when the press got their hands on the story in the first place.
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Pier Castonguay Programmer 6 years ago
JD McNeil : Sorry that they decided to call off? Really? Going to a legal battle against specific persons, gamers, even kids who are potential customers at the long run will never be a good way to deal with the situation. As they say, it just make people hating them more and I wonder why they started it in the the first place.
DRM solutions are not working neither since it becomes harder for the paying customer to actually play the game than the pirate. You could see that in this very game before they removed the DRM in patch 1.1, framerate was higher on the cracked version. Same thing applies to movies with protection in medias.
Censoring torrent search engine? It has been studied and debated many many times before. The current hate surrounding the SOPA/PIPA bills is enough to convince you that it's a bad idea. People will always find a way to share data another way anyway.
The best method for getting sales nowadays is exactly what they do, and what every kind shops do since the dawn of time. Give the customer what they want, and they will comes back for more. In a parallel universe of ours I could see a socialist idea working quite well. Kind of a governmental "entertainment tax" optional opt-in program that would allow the citizen access to every music/movie/games they want for free afterwards.

Witcher 2 was one of my favorite game of the year. Wonderful how a smaller team can create such a great game, engine, gameplay and story wise. They sure deserve my money. They also already got a lot more sales from pirates who tried the game, liked it and bought it afterwards than most generic sequels (often the same game with different levels) from other big studios.
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Pier, the DRM in Witcher 2 was merely a marketing stunt to get traffic and sales. They removed it pretty quickly right after that knowing it would be good PR for them to do so. I don't think they ever planned to actually keep the DRM. Gotta admit though, an entertainment tax would be an interesting idea.
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