CD Projekt taking legal action against alleged stealers of The Witcher 2

Gamasutra confirmed Thursday that CD Projekt RED, the Polish developer of The Witcher 2, is taking legal action against people who allegedly pirated the critically acclaimed PC RPG.

CD Projekt RED removed all forms of DRM from the PC version of the game earlier this year, a move that was well-received by the gaming community at large, though not so well received by the game's European publisher. More recently, the developer has remained adamant in its stance against DRM as a whole, despite numbers suggesting the million-selling game could have been stolen as much as 4.5 million times.

Last week, TorrentFreak reported that CD Projekt's lawyers were allegedly claiming 911.80 Euros (approximately $1,186.43 US) from German users who supposedly downloaded the game from BitTorrent websites. TorrentFreak suggested that the legal action was surely targeting innocent people, as the users were apparently identified only by their IP address.

CD Projekt then released a statement to Gamasutra, confirming the legal action but specifying that "we only take legal actions against users who we are 100 percent sure have downloaded our game illegally." The company did not specify if the 911.80 Euros figure was accurate.

CD Projekt's statement also says the following:

We aren’t huge fans of any sort of DRM here at CD Projekt RED. DRM itself is a pain for legal gamers - the same group of honest people who decided that our game was worth its price, and went and bought it.

We don't want to make their lives more difficult by introducing annoying copy protection systems... We could introduce advanced copy protection systems which, unfortunately, punish legal customers as well. Instead we decided to give gamers some additional content with each game release, to make their experience complete.

However, that shouldn't be confused with us giving a green light to piracy. We will never approve of it, since it doesn't only affect us but has a negative impact on the whole game industry. We've seen some of the concern online about our efforts to thwart piracy, and we can assure you that we only take legal actions against users who we are 100 percent sure have downloaded our game illegally.

Gamers championed the company as one that "got" digital ownership and rights with its stance on DRM, but will those same gamers agree that the actions being taken against users who obtained the game through less than legal methods are justified?

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41 Comments

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Can't say I would have pirated that game but let's keep in mind it didn't have a demo and I hated how people ran around with swords over their heads in the first one (looked odd and I couldn't play it solely for that reason). Don't give a demo and don't allow people to return the game in case it sucks. It's gotta be why a lot of people decide to download that way.

Have any of you little ungrateful thieves ever read a EULA? I'm sorry but in both the actual and the LEGAL sense pirating a game is stealing. Ask any lawyer. Same goes for any software with a license agreement. This is much different than pirating mp3s... you don't click "Agree" on a legally-binding agreement every time you play a song. But you do when you install software.

It's sad that there' so much rampant unapologetic game piracy in the computer enthusiast community.

Benda said,
Have any of you little ungrateful thieves ever read a EULA? I'm sorry but in both the actual and the LEGAL sense pirating a game is stealing. Ask any lawyer. Same goes for any software with a license agreement. This is much different than pirating mp3s... you don't click "Agree" on a legally-binding agreement every time you play a song. But you do when you install software.

It's sad that there' so much rampant unapologetic game piracy in the computer enthusiast community.

I'm sorry but you sound like a lawyer! as I said earlier....

'Copyright holders frequently refer to copyright infringement as "theft." In copyright law, infringement does not refer to actual theft, but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder without authorization.[5] Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft'

from wikipedia of course.

It's sad that there's so much unapologetic, (possibly) stubborn; narrow-minded idealistic viewpoints on this! not!!

Frazell Thomas said,
Great idea. I hate DRM and the legal customers shouldn't be punished. Go after the thieves.

This.

If they pirated it, then the hell with them. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I didn't ever pirate anything, but if I was caught and held accountable for it, I wouldn't sit and bitch that the system was unfair. I knew what I was getting into, and it'd be MY damn fault for getting myself in trouble.

Some people need to take some damn responsibility for their actions and grow the hell up. Just because you don't agree with something, doesn't mean you do it anyway expecting zero consequences to it.

dead.cell said,

This.

If they pirated it, then the hell with them. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I didn't ever pirate anything, but if I was caught and held accountable for it, I wouldn't sit and bitch that the system was unfair. I knew what I was getting into, and it'd be MY damn fault for getting myself in trouble.

Some people need to take some damn responsibility for their actions and grow the hell up. Just because you don't agree with something, doesn't mean you do it anyway expecting zero consequences to it.

Exactly. Plus they're not asking for absurd sums like RIAA/MPAA typically does. A thousand euros is enough that it certainly hurts but it's not going to get you in debt for the rest of your life.

dead.cell said,

Some people need to take some damn responsibility for their actions and grow the hell up. Just because you don't agree with something, doesn't mean you do it anyway expecting zero consequences to it.

This. The problem is people not assuming responsibility for their mistakes and having the will to play and not pay for that. Just put yourself in the developer shoes and guess what? your hard work is being given freely (and somebody is even earning cash through that, either in ads, selling dvds, etc.) and your getting less return.
Btw Valve's Gabe Newell is right, piracy is a service problem:
"If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."

How is it looking bad?

I don't understand people. They complain that companies put DRM on their products because it makes it hard for "legal users." Then they complain when these companies sue people for downloading it. I mean come on... you people will only be happy when the game companies spend millions developing games only to give them away for free, because heaven forbid they charge for it to recoup their costs and then sue you for downloading it illegally...

CrimsonBetrayal said,
How is it looking bad?

I don't understand people. They complain that companies put DRM on their products because it makes it hard for "legal users." Then they complain when these companies sue people for downloading it. I mean come on... you people will only be happy when the game companies spend millions developing games only to give them away for free, because heaven forbid they charge for it to recoup their costs and then sue you for downloading it illegally...


So basically you'll be fine when software is paid for just by suing people?
The biggest problem I have with it is, is the idea that they essentially use scare tactics to get money, you pirate and we sue, we'll offer you a "deal" though so you don't have to go through a more expensive court case.

Which basically means, you pirate, then they mug you. It's messed up both ways.

nw2001 said,

So basically you'll be fine when software is paid for just by suing people?
The biggest problem I have with it is, is the idea that they essentially use scare tactics to get money, you pirate and we sue, we'll offer you a "deal" though so you don't have to go through a more expensive court case.

Which basically means, you pirate, then they mug you. It's messed up both ways.

If that's how they have to recover their costs yes.

People wonder why the economy is in such poor shape... it's because everyone expects a free ride.

I'm not against them suing, and I'm not against them suing for large amounts either. If you don't want to be sued/pay thousands for a game, don't breach copyright laws on someone else's copyrighted goods.

So you're saying that if you spent millions manufacturing a product, only to find out that people were getting it for free and not paying you for it, you'd be okay with that? You wouldn't want to sue them?

All I'm saying is we frequently look at it from the the users point of view with no consideration for the companies who create the jobs and stimulate our economy. While I don't agree that RIAA/MPAA are doing the right thing because they're not trying to get to the root of the problem, in this instance, CD Projekt have done the right thing, removed DRM, and users have still screwed them.

I say good on em and go for it.

nw2001 said,

So basically you'll be fine when software is paid for just by suing people?
The biggest problem I have with it is, is the idea that they essentially use scare tactics to get money, you pirate and we sue, we'll offer you a "deal" though so you don't have to go through a more expensive court case.

Which basically means, you pirate, then they mug you. It's messed up both ways.

Well, you have a choice. Don't pirate.

Last week, TorrentFreak reported that CD Projekt's lawyers were allegedly claiming 911.80 Euros (approximately $1,186.43 US) from German users who supposedly downloaded the game from BitTorrent websites

So i see they're taking a page out of the RIAA/MPAA's playbook in demanding people pay far, far, far more than the item is actually worth. GJ CD Projekt, imitating those groups is a sure fire way to make yourself look bad.

What they're claiming is nowhere near as outrageous as what the RIAA and MPAA have claimed in the past. And they're allowed to take legal action against anyone that pirates their games. I really don't see how that makes them look bad.

Blackhearted said,
So i see they're taking a page out of the RIAA/MPAA's playbook in demanding people pay far, far, far more than the item is actually worth.

Court expenses.

I freakin loved witcher 2.

However, if you are going to give a damn about piracy, then just put DRM on it and call it a day, don't do a bunch of press releases about how piracy is inevitable and that the best way to combat it is good service and then just do what we hate the RIAA/MPAA do by suing the crap out of them for easy money. It's pathetic and almost as unethical as the act of piracy in the first place.

Retarded as hell. (Witcher 3 is going to have to be damn amazing to make me want it now. =/)

Probably the best game dev out there right now. Kinda like what valve used to be. Good morals, and insanely good games that they don't compromise with anything.

Personally, I'd still take witcher 2 over any other game this year as my favourite for gfx, story, gameplay and pure overall experience.

It is what any reasonable person would define as stealing - that is, taking something for which you haven't paid and don't have any legal right to.

So yes, it is not technically stealing but the result is the same. Rather than depriving the owner of the physical product you are depriving them of the money they should have received for its purchase. Regardless, those that pirate should face the consequences.

theyarecomingforyou said,
It is what any reasonable person would define as stealing - that is, taking something for which you haven't paid and don't have any legal right to.

So yes, it is not technically stealing but the result is the same. Rather than depriving the owner of the physical product you are depriving them of the money they should have received for its purchase. Regardless, those that pirate should face the consequences.

but that would mean you would have to prove that the person was going to purchase it, but instead downloaded it.

theyarecomingforyou said,
It is what any reasonable person would define as stealing - that is, taking something for which you haven't paid and don't have any legal right to.

Er, I think not.

theyarecomingforyou said,
It is what any reasonable person would define as stealing - that is, taking something for which you haven't paid and don't have any legal right to.

So yes, it is not technically stealing but the result is the same. Rather than depriving the owner of the physical product you are depriving them of the money they should have received for its purchase. Regardless, those that pirate should face the consequences.

No he's quite correct. Copyright infringement is NOT STEALING, in any sense of the word. Stealing is the act of obtaining a single object without the consent of the owner, and claiming it for their own, however in piracy, the owner (or in the case of the digital cluster**** we live in, the licensee) does not lose their copy, erto it is not stealing by definition. Even with regards to "depriving the developer of earnings", we can get into the semantics of lost sales until the cows come home, but there's no conclusive evidence either way, and there never will be.

Bear in mind that I'm not saying that the pirates should not be punished, I agree with their entire stance on the situation, both towards DRM and the catching of the pirates, but when it comes down to it, every time someone pirates a game, no-one actually loses anything. And no, "potential earnings" is not a valid loss, since you cannot lose something you didn't have in the first place.

Copyright infringement is the correct term, since piracy is making a copy of the game when they did not have permission to do so from the copyright holder, and there are valid punishments for that.

Majesticmerc said,

No he's quite correct. Copyright infringement is NOT STEALING, in any sense of the word. Stealing is the act of obtaining a single object without the consent of the owner, and claiming it for their own, however in piracy, the owner (or in the case of the digital cluster**** we live in, the licensee) does not lose their copy, erto it is not stealing by definition. Even with regards to "depriving the developer of earnings", we can get into the semantics of lost sales until the cows come home, but there's no conclusive evidence either way, and there never will be.

Bear in mind that I'm not saying that the pirates should not be punished, I agree with their entire stance on the situation, both towards DRM and the catching of the pirates, but when it comes down to it, every time someone pirates a game, no-one actually loses anything. And no, "potential earnings" is not a valid loss, since you cannot lose something you didn't have in the first place.

Copyright infringement is the correct term, since piracy is making a copy of the game when they did not have permission to do so from the copyright holder, and there are valid punishments for that.

How about you use Google? Type "define steal" into google, you will see the actual definition is:

Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it: "thieves stole her bicycle".

So unless you intend to return the game to the owner after you've used it, it's classified as stealing...

Edit: Sorry, that was a bit abrupt. All I'm saying is what pirates are doing is considered stealing, by any definition... whether or not we agree with it.

CrimsonBetrayal said,

How about you use Google? Type "define steal" into google, you will see the actual definition is:

Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it: "thieves stole her bicycle".

So unless you intend to return the game to the owner after you've used it, it's classified as stealing...

Edit: Sorry, that was a bit abrupt. All I'm saying is what pirates are doing is considered stealing, by any definition... whether or not we agree with it.

In your definition's example the "bicycle" is a physical object meaning that if you take the object you deprive the original owner of the use of that object. In the case of software piracy, there isn't a physical object so you can't say you're depriving the original owner - game publisher - of the use and sale of the game.

That is why when you see software piracy in the court, it's always about copyright infringement. Theft or stealing always has to have a physical object. Something that doesn't occur if you download a copy of a game.

Sranshaft said,

In your definition's example the "bicycle" is a physical object meaning that if you take the object you deprive the original owner of the use of that object. In the case of software piracy, there isn't a physical object so you can't say you're depriving the original owner - game publisher - of the use and sale of the game.

That is why when you see software piracy in the court, it's always about copyright infringement. Theft or stealing always has to have a physical object. Something that doesn't occur if you download a copy of a game.

Ahhhhhh... I see what you guys mean. Sorry. :$

While it might not be "stealing" as such. It still affects the economy, and the wallets of hard working people who work for these companies.

While I see the point on you can't really sue for "lost money" when it never existed in the first place. I do think that using someones stuff without their permission is wrong, regardless of the object. If I found out my neighbour was using my garden tools during the day when I wasn't home (whether or not they were returned), I would be upset and expect at least an apology for not asking first. With these companies, dollars are apologies to them.

It sucks, but it's a reality of the monetary-based world we live in today...

It's stealing because ownership rights are not upheld.

The analogy with stealing an actual object rather than a copy is a good one, but it is still invalid, because a pirate deprives the owner of the revenue - it is stealing.

Sranshaft said,

In your definition's example the "bicycle" is a physical object meaning that if you take the object you deprive the original owner of the use of that object. In the case of software piracy, there isn't a physical object so you can't say you're depriving the original owner - game publisher - of the use and sale of the game.

That is why when you see software piracy in the court, it's always about copyright infringement. Theft or stealing always has to have a physical object. Something that doesn't occur if you download a copy of a game.

Yet all 50 states have laws similar to that of PA for trade secrets. If you managed to get a hold of the recipe for Coca Cola and attempted to sell it then you would be thrown in jail for THEFT. Even though knowing the recipe for Coke in no way prevents Coke from making new Coke for customers.

Theft can, and does, involve more than physical property and that has a long history in American courts. So you might want to justify piracy as not being theft, but the law and common sense wouldn't agree.

See: http://law.onecle.com/pennsylv...ffenses/00.039.030.000.html

zhiVago said,
It's stealing because ownership rights are not upheld.

The analogy with stealing an actual object rather than a copy is a good one, but it is still invalid, because a pirate deprives the owner of the revenue - it is stealing.


No, it's not stealing, because you can't know if the person who pirated the game would have bought it if he could not have pirated (in which case no revenue lost), or for that sake if he bought it after pirating which is also possible (in which case no revenue was lost, it was won if anything).

It's copyright infringement either way though so why not use that, the proper term?

Because the law in many countries states that you can steal an intangible asset, such as a virtual product or a thought - in this case, a game.

Also your reasoning fails, because you can apply the same thing to any other product; maybe the guy will buy his own car and return it later on. Would that be stealing then, I wonder?

[quote=rpsgc said,]Copyright infringement != Stealing

Lets just call it involuntary sharing instead. If I was rich I would buy it; if I was poor I would download it. Funny how if this happened in all facets of life then the Wealthy-Poor gap would be reduced!

[quote=spUrr said,]

That's what communism promotes - classless society based on sharing methods of production and the manufactured goods ))

bryonhowley said,

Actually...
'Copyright holders frequently refer to copyright infringement as "theft." In copyright law, infringement does not refer to actual theft, but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder without authorization.[5] Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft'

from wikipedia of course

[quote=zhiVago said,]That's what communism promotes - classless society based on sharing methods of production and the manufactured goods ))

Well you didnt say that in a negative light so hehe, i guess thats cool lol

"Gamers championed the company as one that "got" digital ownership and rights with its stance on DRM, but will those same gamers agree that the actions being taken against users who obtained the game through less than legal methods are justified?" -- if not, then why were said gamers happy with the no DRM mentality in the first place? Just because CD Projekt doesn't use DRM doesn't mean they want someone to steal their game. I just don't get this question to be honest.