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The Witcher 2 Pirates

Turns out, while CD Projekt is no fan of DRM, the company is also no fan of pirates.

Who knew?

There are multiple sources for this story but it appears it first popped up on a site called Torrentfreak. (yeah…I know).

The basic idea is that a lot of people bought The Witcher 2, but a lot of people downloaded it for free. CD Projekt’s plan is to go after those who chose the “free” route. The issue here is verifying WHO downloaded the game. That’s a tricky situation. Using IP addresses isn’t enough.

CD Projekt has a legion of fans due to its ‘No DRM’ policy but this is a dangerous game the company is playing. If you are going to go after people who torrented a game you better be damn sure you are threatening the right people with legal action.

The story has since been picked up by various sources, such as Joystiq.

Here’s the money quote from CD Projekt RED:

“As you know, 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,” CD Projekt RED told Joystiq in a statement. “We don’t want to make their lives more difficult by introducing annoying copy protection systems.”

“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.

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Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

7 thoughts to “The Witcher 2 Pirates”

  1. Okay, I love CD Projekt with their anti-DRM stance, but this is seriously concerning. It’s not that I condone pirating their games. It’s the “pay up or else” mafia-style settlement crap that concerns me. We’re just supposed to take their word that “Don’t worry guys, we’re totally 100% sure we have the right people”. Yet they won’t tell us what this supposed new magical method is that’s totally accurate, or even what company they’re using for it! If they won’t let us verify their claims that they’re completely accurate, I have to call bullshit. I thought they were above this.

    We really need a better legal framework for dealing with this, but until we have one in place, I have to say I really don’t think it’s worth the current avenue. I would support something like a public shaming instead. Something along the lines of “Our games have no DRM, so why do you need to pirate them?” There are always going to be people who just straight up torrent shit no matter what, and you can’t stop it. This is hurting my opinion of these guys and their products, and making me less likely to support them in the future.

  2. So you’re saying that they should be ok with it? Why? People are stealing their shit, mang!

    They are using the only real recourse they have, which is attempt to track down the pirates and attempt to get some money. It’s actually crazy risky for them to do, because it actually costs money and man hours to track people, not to mention court fees and lawyer fees and whatever. And they’re not EA that has piles of cash laying around.

    They fucking sold you a game with no DRM whatsoever… in this day and age of Ubisoft’s and EA’s and Blizzard’s bullshit. But you’re still unhappy because they don’t want to let the ones that stole it go? you want a “public shaming”? this is the 21st century, not the 11th! I dunno man, sounds like someone pirated witcher 2 lately….

  3. Worse, the “mafia-style settlement crap” probably isn’t considered “taking legal action.” So they could well be sending nasty letters to people they’re NOT 100% sure are pirates.

    It’s cynical of me, but I expect the “100% sure” quote is motivated mostly by the huge costs of taking people to court, and terrible PR if those people are found innocent. On the other hand, sending “pay up or else” letters is cheap, fast, likely to have a good return vs the costs, and any mistakes can be waved away as “a computer glitch” with promises that “we won’t actually sue those people.”

    By the way, Bill: Good to see you writing again; have missed your style and hope things are going much better for you

  4. No one’s saying that they should be okay with it. Of course it’s upsetting. But sending “pay up or else” letters to the owners of certain IPs associated with torrents of the game is of equally dubious legality, more so if some clueless but scared housewife pays up.

    So much for the goodwill of a DRM-free policy if they’re going to pair it with intimidation and extortion tactics worthy of the MPAA or RIAA.

  5. The issue here is how they may be affecting innocent parties. Just as DRM cause trouble for non-pirates, CD Projekt’s actions here may do the same.

    Here’s a simple scenario: A friend visits your house with his laptop, and you let him use your internet connection. Unknown to you, he pirates The Witcher 2 while visiting. Some time later, you receive threatening letters demanding that you pay large amounts of compensation or risk legal action, simply because they traced the download to your internet connection, and are now holding you personally responsible.

    It paints CD Projekt as hypocritical: Part of their no-DRM policy is because DRM can worsen the experience for legitimate customers – innocent people. But now they are (potentially) sending threats to people who might not even have heard of their game or their company….

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