Giant Bomb News

95 Comments

CD Projekt Red Drops Controversial Piracy Initiative

Mysterious legal letters will no longer be showing up from the developer.

Before this, CD Projekt Red was well known for putting its trust in players regarding piracy.

The loud, angered voice of players has pushed CD Projekt Red to change its perspective. It will no longer be sending letters threatning legal action against users it believes pirated The Witcher 2.

The developer drew the ire of players the past few months when it decided to adopt a position on piracy much like the music industry over the past decade. CD Projekt Red started using vague techniques to track pirates, and sent letters threatening legal action, unless the individual in question settled with the developer.

“Being part of a community is a give-and-take process,” said studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski in an open letter to fans. “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.”

For every Ubisoft, there is a CD Projekt Red, a developer that understands the difficulties of the PC market but works within them. The Witcher developer ships its games without DRM, and deals with the consequences.

“We don't support piracy,” continued Iwinski. “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.”

Iwinski did ask players to be vigilant on behalf of CD Projekt regarding piracy. I think we can all get behind that.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
95 Comments
  • 95 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by patrickklepek
Before this, CD Projekt Red was well known for putting its trust in players regarding piracy.

The loud, angered voice of players has pushed CD Projekt Red to change its perspective. It will no longer be sending letters threatning legal action against users it believes pirated The Witcher 2.

The developer drew the ire of players the past few months when it decided to adopt a position on piracy much like the music industry over the past decade. CD Projekt Red started using vague techniques to track pirates, and sent letters threatening legal action, unless the individual in question settled with the developer.

“Being part of a community is a give-and-take process,” said studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski in an open letter to fans. “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.”

For every Ubisoft, there is a CD Projekt Red, a developer that understands the difficulties of the PC market but works within them. The Witcher developer ships its games without DRM, and deals with the consequences.

“We don't support piracy,” continued Iwinski. “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.”

Iwinski did ask players to be vigilant on behalf of CD Projekt regarding piracy. I think we can all get behind that.

Staff
Posted by SomeDeliCook

I thought they were "100%" sure they knew who the pirates were? Now they drop it?

Edited by Bats

Another reason to love em, they listen to customers.

VV They dropped it because customers complained and they value that more than what they were doing.

Posted by TehChich

Sounds good.

Online
Posted by SomeDeliCook

@Bats said:

Another reason to love em, they listen to customers.

VV They dropped it because customers complained and they value that more than what they were doing.

Good, because it all sounded insane to begin with. Especially when it almost sounded like blackmail by forcing them to pay up a huge amount.

Posted by LordCmdrStryker

I paid for it new on GOG. Don't know what else they want us to do.

Posted by Subjugation
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.

Finally someone gets it.

Posted by mandude

It was so weird to see them go from talking about how bad DRM was to pursuing alleged pirates. This restores faith though.

Posted by rjayb89

Threatning is as hot as lightning.

Online
Posted by ZZoMBiE13

I gotta say, this is the what I liked to see. This kind of thing makes me want to support their company. Witcher looked like a pretty deep game and I wasn't really in the mood for that at the time, but I will pick up a copy now. Sign of solidarity and all that.

I don't know if I'll spend much time with it, but it'll be money well spent in support of a company that "gets it". A company that treats it's customers like the valued commodity they are, not like underhanded miscreants looking for a way to screw them over.

Posted by RedRoach

I just want news some Witcher 2 on console news.

Posted by Fuga

Wow now I'm going to go pirate it.

Posted by EvolveTom

@Jason_Bourne said:

I just want news some Witcher 2 on console news.

We're bringing the Xbox version out to some media folks in about two weeks. Soooooo... comin' up! :)

Posted by TentPole

Dropped their balls.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

Online
Posted by reelife

Like all those people who pirate games would buy the games if there where no such thing as piracy. Not likely.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@Fuga said:

Wow now I'm going to go pirate it.

Yay!! Finally you got your excuse you can sleep well tonight! You are truly the shining beacon this game industry needs!

Posted by admanb
@SomeDeliCook said:

I thought they were "100%" sure they knew who the pirates were? Now they drop it?

100% sure is lies and bullshit. It was lies and bullshit when the RIAA said it and it was lies and bullshit when CD Projekt said it.
Posted by Gordo789

As much as I hate pirates, I gotta say they were going about it in a heavy handed fashion. Keep it real CD Projekt, you guys are alright.

Posted by Encephalon

Keep it real, CD Projekt.

Posted by Shuborno

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

DRM = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

Threats of Litigation = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

There was an interview with CDP at some point where they defended the letters because if you were threatened with a letter but had a CD key or something like that and provided it to them they would drop the legal action. This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates but they apparently forgot when they started down this legal route.

Posted by Animasta

@Jason_Bourne said:

I just want news some Witcher 2 on console news.

there was a story in game informer about it, it's going to be a fine version of the game and even includes new content that PC players don't have (hopefully they will bring that to PC but who knows?)

Posted by NaDannMaGoGo

@Bats said:

Another reason to love em, they listen to customers.

Yeah, after they tried to sue them or hoped to make money of folks scared by disgusting letters like these.

It sure is a good thing they stopped now, but doing that in the first plays, especially after playing the developer with angle wings deserves some headshakes.

Posted by Humanity

It's even more sad considering all those deals that accompany that game. For a while there you got the full Witcher 2 discounted ALONG with the Enhanced edition of Witcher 1. Hey, try before you buy right?

Posted by speedmarque

@Animasta: They stated in a press conference that all the extra content for the console version will be patched into the PC version. Given their excellent post release support thus far I have no reason to doubt that.

Edited by MrOldboy

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

I think the main issue with this type of piracy mitigation was that their tactics were shown to be less than perfect in correctly identifying pirates, then threatening people. There was no guarantee they went after thieves and wouldn't let anyone know how they identified them or what piracy company they used. They chose to go after people in Germany specifically due to it being easier to win in the courts there, not going into why here. If these accusations came from law enforcement in would be one thing, but they are coming from companies (law firms) designed to make profit from these cases, not curb piracy. The law firms have zero interest in these cases other than money. Its easy for them to send threatening letters. Its not easy to fight that in court even if your completely innocent, you need a lawyer, money for said lawyer, and your time. Many lawyers have been punished for these practices. And many firms know there bullshit cant hold up in court and have dropped charges once the defendants say they want to go to court.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

@MrOldboy said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

I think the main issue with this type of piracy mitigation was that their tactics were shown to be less than perfect in correctly identifying pirates, then threatening people. There was no guarantee they went after thieves and wouldn't let anyone know how they identified them or what piracy company they used. They chose to go after people in Germany specifically due to it being easier to win in the courts there, not going into why here. If these accusations came from law enforcement in would be one thing, but they are coming from companies (law firms) designed to make profit from these cases, not curb piracy. The law firms have zero interest in these cases other than money. Its easy for them to send threatening letters. Its not easy to fight that in court even if your completely innocent, you need a lawyer, money for said lawyer, and your time. Many lawyers have been punished for these practices. And many firms know there bullshit cant hold up in court and have dropped charges once the defendants say they want to go to court.

Okay, that makes sense.

Online
Posted by George_Hukas

Poor guys just trying to protect their intellectual property. Talk about an uphill battle.

@Shuborno said:

This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates

Technically, when you're downloading a game you already own from a "shady source", those cracked and modified .exe and .dll files still violate the EULA.

Posted by DJ_EuroGhost

Anti-piracy initiatives almost always makes me want to immediately disassociate myself from any company them practice them, at least the more aggressive ones.

No DRM is cool, stern, threatening letters is not cool at all.

I really hope CD Projekt continues to stay away from monkey business like this, so I can continue to support them in the future, I mean that's why I buy my games, so the people that make them can stay in business and make more games... and as much as I love the witcher series, I do not want to continue supporting a bully.

Posted by TheSquarePear

@SomeDeliCook said:

@Bats said:

Another reason to love em, they listen to customers.

VV They dropped it because customers complained and they value that more than what they were doing.

Good, because it all sounded insane to begin with. Especially when it almost sounded like blackmail by forcing them to pay up a huge amount.

I've read about it being done in Germany by the company behind Von Trier films, Zentropa. IMO it's just another step towards a society with no due process.

Remember piracy != theft because it's two completely separate courts. If you still want to compare it this way then why don't you pay a several 100000$ fine for stealing a DVD?

I really appreciate gog.com but I think CD Projekt still has to mature as a company with the shenanigans they keep pulling (remember they took the site down last year for an announcement?)

Posted by WilliamHenry

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

Piracy is not theft, its copyright infringement. Theft is a criminal matter while piracy is a civil matter. That is why pirates are sued by the copyright owners, and not arrested and put in jail by the police. Not that I'm condoning piracy, I just absolutely hate when people claim its theft.

Posted by phrosnite

When one fights the internet, the internet usually wins.

Edited by arcn

Who the hell thought this would be a good idea? hey guys you know what I think? we should use the same method for fighting piracy (extortion) that made Uwe Boll look like an even bigger asshole.

Posted by gorkamorkaorka

Sometimes I think pirates are nerds who are laughed at in real life yet maintain some kind of power on the internet.

Posted by Arrested_Developer

I sid@Shuborno said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

DRM = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

Threats of Litigation = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

There was an interview with CDP at some point where they defended the letters because if you were threatened with a letter but had a CD key or something like that and provided it to them they would drop the legal action. This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates but they apparently forgot when they started down this legal route.

Or the pirates bought a copy of the game to get a cd key after the fact.
Edited by AlisterCat

You know, the porn industry has been doing this for a while. They hire private agencies to write to porn pirates, demanding they pay up or go to court. All the agency has to do is request lists from ISPs, which some are more willing to give up than others (Sky in the UK gave it up right away). The theory behind this is that the nature of pirated porn is embarrassing enough that most people will just settle out of court, no questions asked. People don't want to be exposed.

They might as well send armed thugs to your door. It is praying on the very thing that customers come to them for. Sordid, private pleasure. It has no place in professional business.

Posted by Shuborno

@Arrested_Developer said:

I sid@Shuborno said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

DRM = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

Threats of Litigation = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

There was an interview with CDP at some point where they defended the letters because if you were threatened with a letter but had a CD key or something like that and provided it to them they would drop the legal action. This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates but they apparently forgot when they started down this legal route.

Or the pirates bought a copy of the game to get a cd key after the fact.

I don't see how that affects my point. It still means CDP was unconcerned with potentially targeting innocent customers with legal threats.

Posted by SockLobster

Money sucks dick

Posted by Shuborno

@George_Hukas said:

Poor guys just trying to protect their intellectual property. Talk about an uphill battle.

@Shuborno said:

This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates

Technically, when you're downloading a game you already own from a "shady source", those cracked and modified .exe and .dll files still violate the EULA.

Presumably the end result a dev is looking for is making money from their game.

A customer who pays for the game and grabs it from a torrent later for whatever reason has made the company money from the game. As long as they're not wasting the company's resources with support calls for cracked/modified game files, what difference does it make to the company?

Posted by HarrySound

Come over to the consoles, we shall buy your games, it'll be better for all of us.

PC gamers are all freeloaders........10 years ago, I was one so I know.

For that I appologise but i've bought 100s and 100s of xbox and 360 games in that time.Please find my sins repent.

Posted by CommanderZx2

@WilliamHenry said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

Piracy is not theft, its copyright infringement. Theft is a criminal matter while piracy is a civil matter. That is why pirates are sued by the copyright owners, and not arrested and put in jail by the police. Not that I'm condoning piracy, I just absolutely hate when people claim its theft.

Then perhaps the law should be changed and it should be made a criminal matter.

Edited by Krakn3Dfx

@HarrySound said:

Come over to the consoles, we shall buy your games, it'll be better for all of us.

PC gamers are all freeloaders........10 years ago, I was one so I know.

For that I appologise but i've bought 100s and 100s of xbox and 360 games in that time.Please find my sins repent.

My 450+ game Steam account gives you the big middle finger.

Also, the original Witcher sold well over a million copies on the PC. If you build a good PC game, it will sell big numbers. Piracy is an issue everywhere, there's a reason why Sony is constantly releasing firmware updates for the PS3, Microsoft changed the entire way a disc is pressed for the 360, and Nintendo Wii games don't sell for crap. Piracy is a problem on all platforms.

Posted by malnourish

@CommanderZx2 said:

@WilliamHenry said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

Piracy is not theft, its copyright infringement. Theft is a criminal matter while piracy is a civil matter. That is why pirates are sued by the copyright owners, and not arrested and put in jail by the police. Not that I'm condoning piracy, I just absolutely hate when people claim its theft.

Then perhaps the law should be changed and it should be made a criminal matter.

The law could easily run rampant if you could jail copyright infringement. And copyright infringement is by nature a matter of litigation, a company must defend its copyrights and trademarks.

Look at SOPA, that has language that allows criminal punishment for copyright infringement, or hosting of such materials.

Edited by Chop

Good for them. The whole "scare the masses by severely hurting a few individuals" is a disgusting tactic.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

@Shuborno said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

DRM = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

Threats of Litigation = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

There was an interview with CDP at some point where they defended the letters because if you were threatened with a letter but had a CD key or something like that and provided it to them they would drop the legal action. This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates but they apparently forgot when they started down this legal route.

Sounds awfully reasonable to me.

@WilliamHenry said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

Piracy is not theft, its copyright infringement. Theft is a criminal matter while piracy is a civil matter. That is why pirates are sued by the copyright owners, and not arrested and put in jail by the police. Not that I'm condoning piracy, I just absolutely hate when people claim its theft.

I was not aware that we all were replacing our own opinions with government mandates. I called them thieves because I consider them thieves. What they do should legally be considered stealing, and the existing legislation regarding criminal copyright infringement should clearly include these people.

People say things they think, not things the government thinks, and you'd probably find yourself less pissed in general conversation if you could understand that there is absolutely no reason for you to expect governmental legislation and an individual's opinion to be synonymous.

Online
Posted by MormonWarrior

Piracy is morally and ethically wrong, but I always have at least two major problems with DRM/severe crackdown by companies (other than targeting pirate sites, ROM sites, etc.)

  1. Pirating a copy isn't the same thing as theft, which takes the copy away from somebody else (morally the same thing, literally not at all the same thing)
  2. The majority of people who are pirating copies of games would likely not buy the game in the first place, hence the pirating (therefore arguments of lost money are moot and misleading)
  3. Buying a used game also doesn't give the original company even a cent for their hard work and money. Is that technically pirating in a sense even though nothing was illegitimate? (I guess that explains the online passes, Catwoman codes, etc. but again it targets the wrong people).

The solution? Make it harder to pirate I guess so that people more willing to pay for content who might be swayed into taking the easy (illegal) route, or do things like Humble Bundle and Steam do where you can pay super small amounts for lots of games so at least they get SOMETHING, and if you want to support the company more you can pay more. It's tricky business for sure, but I find it hard to believe that these kinds of measures actually reduce piracy by any meaningful amount.

Posted by KaneRobot

@Krakn3Dfx said:

@HarrySound said:

Come over to the consoles, we shall buy your games, it'll be better for all of us.

PC gamers are all freeloaders........10 years ago, I was one so I know.

For that I appologise but i've bought 100s and 100s of xbox and 360 games in that time.Please find my sins repent.

My 450+ game Steam account gives you the big middle finger.

Also, the original Witcher sold well over a million copies on the PC. If you build a good PC game, it will sell big numbers. Piracy is an issue everywhere, there's a reason why Sony is constantly releasing firmware updates for the PS3, Microsoft changed the entire way a disc is pressed for the 360, and Nintendo Wii games don't sell for crap. Piracy is a problem on all platforms.

You say that like all things are equal. It's a far, FAR larger problem on the PC. The guy you're responding to is correct despite your "450 Steam games" and your middle finger. Come to the consoles - it's better for all of us.

The average suburban kiddie looking to steal games will take one look at the process required to play pirated games on the 360 (especially now) and say forget it. With the PC you download a game, generate a key and/or apply a modification to the game, and you're done.

Posted by Thompson820

@HarrySound: Rarely does one run across such stupidity in real life. Thank you internet, once again, for another unbelievable comment.

Posted by AiurFlux

Piracy will never go away. To counter it it's up to companies to make better games for the PC that aren't bug filled unoptimized messes (unlike RAGE and Arkham City), and to have faith in their customer (unlike Ubi$oft). The people that play games on PC are not cheap, contrary to popular belief. When I spend 1600 dollars on parts I am far from cheap. When I drop well over 300 dollars on the Christmas Steam Sale I am far from cheap. But there will always be that 2 or so percent that feel entitled to everything and feel inclined to steal shit.

Empty threats of litigation aren't going to stop people. Intrusive DRM will steer people away since they can pirate the games DRM free. I don't know how they can counter it, but making a better product is clearly the first step. And until they do make a better product I cannot, in good conscience, bash anyone for piracy. I don't endorse or condone it, but I can kind of see the point if I'm being completely honest.

The Witcher 2 sold reasonably well, Skyrim sold well, Valve games sell well. Why? Because of the QUALITY. Yeah Skyrim is a fucking mess at times, but people also know that mods will come out for it and fix most of the issues better than Bethesda could ever hope to do. A proper product and proper support is the best solution to a problem that will never go away. Period.

Posted by Shuborno

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

@Shuborno said:

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

I don't really understand why people see this as a good thing. They were going after thieves. I have no pity for thieves.

DRM = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

Threats of Litigation = punishing innocent parties for the actions of guilty parties

There was an interview with CDP at some point where they defended the letters because if you were threatened with a letter but had a CD key or something like that and provided it to them they would drop the legal action. This means they did have false positives which means they were targeting innocent people along with pirates. The point of dropping DRM is not penalizing their customers for the actions of pirates but they apparently forgot when they started down this legal route.

Sounds awfully reasonable to me.

Do you take kindly to being threatened?

If I was threatened with being sued for something I didn't do, I wouldn't be so happy about it. I would think the person threatening me was be a dick. Apparently you would sympathize with them.

  • 95 results
  • 1
  • 2