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 Witcher 2  dev backs off from legal action against pirates
Witcher 2 dev backs off from legal action against pirates
January 12, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

January 12, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Hoping to dispel some bad press drummed up in December, The Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt RED said it will no longer pursue legal action against players who allegedly pirated the studio's most recent release.

In an open letter to the gaming community, CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski said that while the team staunchly opposes video game piracy, it does not want to squander the good faith of its audience by taking legal action against them.

"Being part of a community is a give-and-take process, Iwinski wrote. "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," he said.

Iwinski further asserted that he is certain CD Projekt RED had not wrongly accused a single player of piracy, but explained that the studio does not want to risk mistakenly harming even one loyal customer.

"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... 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," he continued.

When the company first announced its plans to sue pirates of The Witcher 2, reports alleged that CD Projekt RED's lawyers were hoping to scare up 911.80 euros ($1187.10) from all users who downloaded the game through torrent sites.

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Ken Nakai
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Honestly I don't know. At some point someone's gotta realize there's a very simple formula at work here: games are developed to make money so the devs can make more games. I stopped pulling pirated games when I was able to afford them (because I grew up and got a job in high school). I spend thousands of dollars a year on games because I love them and I want to support the devs.

The torrent crowd doesn't care. I had a co-worker who's problem of the day was how to afford the hard disks to hold all the movies and other crap he was torrenting. He had no regrets about it, justifying it by saying he couldn't afford all the movies. Uh, then don't buy them?

There's just this culture that sprung up--and I know this doesn't represent everyone out there--that somehow thinks that because the Internet is essentially free to them (or rather, content is), that everything has to be free. Huh? Why do you think you pay for food? You depend on food to live but that doesn't give you the right to walk into a grocery store and carry off whatever you need without paying.

In the end, what they're doing is less about managing piracy. It's more about the fact that they can't be 100% sure who's pirating and who's downloading a new copy because their computer (with the CDs in it) got stolen. On the flip side, though, I think they would've been fine if they do what most companies don't do: plan. If they took the whole process and made sure there were avenues for legitimate customers to prove they were legit (that wasn't ridiculous...maybe have them photo copy their CD key and mail it in...if you get more than 1 copy of the key, you move on to the next stage of proof: show them the CDs/packaging unless you're on Steam but then technically they have already validated you in a way).

The problem with these sorts of fishing expeditions is they just assume everyone's guilty and that they're 100% correct. Instead, start with a warning letter and a requirement that they prove their ownership. Then move on to litigation if you're sure they can't prove their ownership. Here's the clincher though: instead of trying to get more than the game would cost an individual gamer, be satisfied with outing them and potentially requiring them to delete any copies of the game. Where it's illegal (and enforceable) let the authorities take care of business. What they should focus on is just shutting down any site or computer attempting to distribute it.

Eric Geer
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I used to pirate stuff when I was in college--but then I got out of college and started looking deeper into the gaming industry as well as many others and realized that it was somebody's work and they were expecting a paycheck..just like myself....since then haven't pirated anything...If I can't afford it...I don't get it. But I agree with Ken---there is a GenerationME or GenerationFree out there that is just expectant of everything out there to be free to have...well they will have to deal with a harsh reality at some point...knowing when that will be is hard to say.

Brett Williams
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The thing I see in this message that I hope more people see is that these actions are not always driven by greed or corporate suits. The people that make these games are passionate about what they make and about what they do, and that carries over into how they act about piracy.

It often gets covered in a blanket of "Companies only care about money" view, but it can be a lot deeper than that. People make games. People have emotions.

The problem is that passion can lead to anger and distrust because of feeling useless or unable to act against those who harm you or your work.

You see this a lot. Especially with companies that are forced to go out of business despite having a fairly successful title (like Iron Lore Entertainment).