CD Projekt To Pursue Fines For Torrenting

By Jim Rossignol on November 23rd, 2010 at 8:55 am.

No, not until you stop downloading episodes of Supernatural.
Polish RPG developers CD Projekt recently announced that their next game, The Witcher 2, would ship without DRM, and there was much rejoicing. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to be all Mr NiceGuy about it. Speaking to Eurogamer, CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński said that the company would be pursuing legal action against those net users illegally downloading the game.

“Of course we’re not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies… In quite a few big countries, when people are downloading it illegally they can expect a letter from a legal firm saying, ‘Hey, you downloaded it illegally and right now you have to pay a fine.’”

Of course the policing of downloaded content is a highly contentious area in which the legislation is still being proven – and fought against in the courts – but it does suggested a renewed interest by games companies in directly combating piracy on the PC. DRM doesn’t work, we all know that, so it’s hardly surprising that companies like CD Projekt will look to other methods to protect their work. Personally I think low prices and swift digital downloads have been the best weapon.

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239 Comments »

  1. panther says:

    “Personally I think low prices and swift digital downloads have been the best weapon.” And good service.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, good service, good terms of service.

    • dadioflex says:

      and ruthless efficiency!

    • Ushao says:

      … and fear!

      edit: edited for teh funny

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yes, our six weapons are low prices, swift digital downloads, good terms of service, ruthless efficiency, fear, fanatical devotion to the Pope, and Baldur’s Gate II… Wait, that’s seven! Okay look, I’ll come in again…

      Amongst are weaponry are such diverse elements as low prices, swift digital downloads, good terms of service, ruthless efficiency, fear, fanatical devotion to the Pope, and Baldur’s Gate II. Oh and Fallout. Damn!

    • avintesboy says:

      well one think i have to say about it. downloading its illigal but companies like steam are legal. ive buy ruse on steam and them ive waited one mounth to play it. is that legal???
      if i buy a game today then i expect to play it today and not in a mounth.

    • TWeaK says:

      I wouldn’t call £35 (or £31.49 for preorder) a low price, particularly for a PC game

  2. K says:

    Such letters are just scare crows, as they cannot do much about it, or if they could, it’s not worth it by far. And downloading it isn’t even illegal in quite a few countries.

    Empty threats.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      They can never ever do anything against it. Modern networks (darknets) are completely decentralized, and don’t even tell you who (IP address) you’re connected to.
      And for those who do: If you, like Media Defender (straw company of the media industry), go and set up a server to download from others, you would be part of what you call the crime. Which means your case would go really bad for you in court. Media Defender already got caught many times. They get a new name… and get caught again. Once their whole internal mail archive got leaked.

    • frymaster says:

      if Media Defender are acting on behalf of the IP holders, it’s not illegal for them to download the game.

      In any case, they mainly target file sharers, not downloaders. While any bittorrent user is basically both, Media Defender don’t have to be, they just turn their upload speed to zero (or serve bad chunks)

    • heartlessgamer says:

      Empty threats?
      I think you need to do some reading: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/06/the-riaa-amateurs-heres-how-you-sue-p2p-users.ars

      This is not video games, but it is the same approach.
      Legal firms are turning pirates into huge cash cows. They basically catch you pirating, force you to settle for $1500, or face a full trial. Most settle at $1500 because they know they are guilty.

    • UncleLou says:

      I’ll tell that the clients of which I have about 1 a week on average who get caught.

  3. Gentleman Jim says:

    DOS attack on CdProject in 5…4…3…

  4. Taillefer says:

    I searched for “torrent sneaking” and the only results I found were his quote.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think it gives you a +2 backstab.

    • Premium User Badge UW says:

      The world is a better place now that the phrase “torrent sneaking” exists.

      I just hope it takes off. It would make a cool alias for joining torrent sites as well – T0rr3nTSn34k or something.

    • Clovis says:

      I think he meant that he would backtrace you and report you to the cyber police. Consequences will never be the same, herp derp …

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think he means “sneaking” like the ninja crouch thing in Oblivion and Fallout 3. As long as no one sees you do the act, you can bandy about doing your ninja sneak crouch thing right next to the files. Or something.

  5. snv says:

    nvm

  6. Mac says:

    In that case, am I to assume that they are not interested in the people who get it via newsgroups, etc? Or, is it more to the point that the “ambulance chaser” lawyers just want the easy cash by catching the not so tech savvy torrent’ers?

    In fairness, I enjoyed the first one, and I will buy this – but probably a month after launch when it is sub £20 for the boxed version.

    I really have got to the point now where I see new release prices increasing and increasing, and then reading reviews where you get less and less game – there just isn’t any point in buying new releases on the day of releases for most games now – Especially as the prices often drop to sub £20 in less than a couple of weeks.

    My main gripe is that most PC games are being launched at almost the same price as a console game, yet given all of the DRM we have to put up with, there is no trade in value for a PC game, yet with most console games you can recover ~£25 of the purchase price by trading it in within the month. Given that many games offer less than 10 hours of game play then PC buyers are really being shafted.

    Fair play to CD Projekt for trying something different to the usual DRM infestation we get offered, which offers no protection to the developer/publisher as the games are normally cracked before release, and the pirates get a better experience as they don’t have to put up with jumping through hoops to get their game to run because of the nightmare DRM.

    I hope that their experiment proves a success, and they sell a lot of units – then other developers/publishers may just see sense and stop wasting their development budget on useless DRM which just turns a proportion of the potential buyers away.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      The problem with that being that THE WITCHER is one of the largest games published in the last few years taking tens of hours to complete. If THE WITCHER II is even larger, as they claim, it will certainly be worth £30-£35 of anyone’s money.

      What I really don’t understand is why people are mewling about £30 being too much for a PC game all of a sudden. It’s been the going rate for new PC games for over twenty years. I remember dropping £35 for MONKEY ISLAND II new in 1992. Given inflation and rising wage costs (and comparisons with console game pricing), it’s actually remarkable PC games are still as cheap as they are and that they are discounted so quickly.

    • Mac says:

      People are “mewing” about games being £30 to £40 all of a sudden, as it wasn’t so long ago that pre-orders were £17.99. As soon as draconian DRM hit, prices started to creep upwards and the quality, fun and longevity of games released appears to have gone in the opposite direction. I can’t think of a major release that hasn’t needed a day one patch this year.

      In fairness, your point regarding The Witcher 2 probably being worth the cash is likely true – but I do get on my soapbox when games with less than 5 hours of boring single player content are released for £40. Everyone is releasing their games at AAA prices without providing AAA games.

    • Chode says:

      I want some of whatever drugs this guy is taking.

  7. JonathanStrange says:

    I predict at least half a dozen replies at the very least will be posters using this as an excuse to pirate the game now, having been looking for a reason since the game was announced to satisfy some need for self-rationalizing their piracy.

    Personally I think this is the best way to fight piracy. Go directly after the people who do it rather than burdening the average consumer with bothersome DRM! Go CD Projekt!

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      they’re going to lose so much money if they start doing shit like this though. huge waste of time

    • bansama says:

      I predict at least half a dozen replies at the very least will be posters using this as an excuse to pirate the game now

      Well then, let me be one of the first to use it as an excuse to not purchase the game via digital download. No this not a justification to pirate it. But an attempt not to get caught up in over zealous pirate hunts. Been caught out with that once before with Crysis Warhead. I was gifted it on Steam and the day after I downloaded it from Steam, I received a letter from the ISP I was using at the time claiming they’d been contacted by some firm on behalf of Crytek in regards to torrenting Crysis Warhead.

      How on Earth a Steam download of a game got picked up as a torrent, I have no idea. But the fact it’s happened to me once is enough to be wary of any game for which such tactics are announced. So, I’ll be skipping Witcher 2 as a download and perhaps consider paying a higher import rate to get it on disc instead.

    • randomnine says:

      @bansama: Given the timing you describe, the firm probably contacted the ISP a day or two *before* you downloaded it from Steam. I’d imagine it’s entirely unrelated and just a weird coincidence.

    • Xercies says:

      Your never going to get rid of piracy. When will these companies learn. the best way is to create a good service to the customer, giving lots of goodies and the like. CD Project are doing this with there really nice GoG deal. If i was interested in the game i would bloody buy that for all that.

      So CD projeck your doing good, this just does nothing and pisses some people off.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Xercies: so people whose software is being torrented (or otherwise pirated) should just roll over?

      Using torrents isn’t a crime in itself, however, I do feel a ‘user beware’ policy wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not just because of the risk of trojans and the like, but also so people who download things they ought to pay for (and those who offer such things/ allow such things to be downloaded) can be made to pay for it. Of course I don’t stand for things like Steam locking down your account because they think you may have done something you really didn’t.. absolute proof should be required.

      Internet freedom? Sure, all for that. Theft? Not so much.

    • bansama says:

      @bansama: Given the timing you describe, the firm probably contacted the ISP a day or two *before* you downloaded it from Steam. I’d imagine it’s entirely unrelated and just a weird coincidence.

      That could be possible, but as far as I know the company sending those requests is either based in the US or Europe, both which are a good 8 hours or more time difference to me depending on exact location.

      Either way, it doesn’t instill any confidence in them targeting only the people who are illegally downloading the game.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      I’m sorry?? In what delusional fantasy world do you live in??
      Copyright is a crime! That’s a fact, and nothing in the world can change that!
      Let’s take it apart with proper reasoning and the basic laws of nature only:

      What is a crime? A crime is defined as something, that is hurting someone else. Correct?

      What is hurting? In essence, it is taking away or destroying resources that were owned by someone.
      It is not the act of preventing someone from getting them. Why not? Because resources are limited, and by getting resources yourself, there’s always someone else who therefore could not get them instead. Which would make every possible action dealing with resources a crime.
      But some people got into law, that preventing them from getting resources, instead of someone else, is illegal too. They do this for personal greed. And when someone does it anyway, he gets punished. Which is of course hurting him. So the law is actually itself the crime in those cases.
      Additionally, of course a law like this takes resources away from the rest of society, in a manner that most would call very unfair and bad.

      What is ownership? It is simply defined, as control over something. Usually resources.

      Now software, music, text, video, etc are all data right? Aka. information.

      What is information? It is not something you can grab. It is not physical matter or even energy (which would be particles too). Yet it clearly exists.
      Well… It’s a structural property. How something is ordered. That something is usually physical matter. (But since information can again simulate physical matter, it can also be information again.)

      And here’s the thing: Information, by being structural only, has some properties that are way different from physical matter. The core differences are, that you can make lossless and costless copies of it, and that the act of moving has no definition for the structural property itself.
      It’s a common misconception, that you can move or delete information. In reality, deletion is simulated for dumbed down people trough overwriting. Or even just “forgetting where it was”. (When you delete a file, it’s still there. Only the directory entry got overwritten.) And moving is simulated for the same people, by combining a copy and a simulated deletion of the old structure.

      But then, how can you own information? I mean, if you passed on a copy, then you don’t control that copy… unless you control the person who received it. And that’s called slavery or something similar, and highly illegal in nearly all countries. You can only trust that person. If you don’t… don’t pass it on!

      So if you can’t own information, and you don’t lose your original when making a copy, then you did not lose anything did you? And nothing got destroyed. Which means, you did not get hurt in any way. So there is no crime!!

      What’s a crime however, is that there is a law, which hurts you, for passing on information without stuffing the maker of that law with money (resources). Without getting any work in exchange. (Remember: A copy does not cost anything.) And usually without even the original source of the information getting any of it.

      But where does this come from?
      Well, it started out with information actually always being bound to physical matter (called the medium) in a way that allowed you to treat it, as if that medium and the information on it were the same thing. And stealing the medium was, of course, theft.
      Some people noticed, that making copies was very cheap, even then. But valuable to people, because of the information on it. So they got into the business of paying artists (once!) for their service, making a billion copies, and selling it for high prices. It was awesome! No work, big money!
      But the artists complained! They did the work, and wanted a part of the cake! So they formed organizations, and got a law to protect them.
      This was not the copyright law, as some of you might think. It was the artist’s right!
      But the media reproduction companies did of course not want to share their cake. So they formed organizations too. And got a law. That was the copyright law! A law for copy makers, and copy makers only.
      Plus, they used their power, to have contracts their way. Which now included, that the artist would get only a minute share of the selling price. Because of marketing, production, transport, etc, etc, etc. They went to the lowest level artists would accept. But that was not enough. No, they twisted the rules, until artists still had to pay so much from that minute share, that they often ended up broke or nearly broke.

      The artist extortion and media reproduction industry was born!
      Bill Gates even started to apply it to software. Which as seen as absurd at first, and getting him being laughed at, since all software still seen as information.

      But then came progress, and suddenly people could make copies for themselves. With the Internet and cheap automation trough software, even the need for marketing and production was gone. Nobody needed them any more. Their purpose even became absurd. People became free!
      And they massively panicked!

      It was too fast for them! They still lived in the olden days. And so did their business models. The creation of information wasn’t seen as the service it is. Instead everything was built around information being a physical product.
      In their reality, you could “still” own information. So according to them, making copies was “theft”.
      Of course, nobody believed them. What an absurd idea!
      So they ramped up the FUD, bought politicians, and whined the shit out of everybody.
      Laws were created. People were terrorized. Until people actually believed the lies.
      The dirty secret was, and still is, that most of the time, the actual artists got pushed into getting even less, by that very same whining industry. And those who weren’t believed the lies too.

      There you have it. A delusional reality, forced onto society by a few tiny industries, for their profit. Hurting artists and society as a whole. (Which is proven countless times by studies all over the world.)

      And all that, just because they don’t want to face the cold and hard reality: That information is free! And that, if they wanted something in exchange for it, they should 1. have thought it up for themselves, and 2. asked for it right when they passed it on for the very first time!

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      @Barefoot: Cool story, Bro.

    • anonymous17 says:

      @JonathanStrange
      Whilst this is most certainly not an excuse to pirate, it will not and cannot stop it using this method. Sneaking companies have little legal standing, as illustrated by various findings by UK and European courts throwing out claims from companies operating ‘on behalf’ of digital publishers.

      @Javier-de-Ass
      Ultimately, you are right. This will only end in a great deal of money being spent with little reward and negative publicity.

      @bansama
      Confusing Steam activity for a torrent? What ridiculous nonsense.

      @Hmm-Hmm
      Yes, they should roll over – there is nothing else they can do. Wheeling out the old arguments of ‘for the sake of business’ do nothing to stimulate growth and investment. Business is business, risk is inherent, hence the business part. What anti-piracy advocates really want is the same as every other businessman, a comfortable unassailable monopoly, preferably with government recognition and protection.

      @BAReFOOt
      Frankly your remarks are as laughable as the points made by the pro-piracy crowd.
      People can pirate, ergo they pirate. Trying to reason it any other is pointless, the only positive realisation that can come from this is being creative and competitive.

      Incidentally, in response to an earlier comment of yours – darknets are not decentralised – they still rely on a central server. The whole argument against them rests on the fact that they themselves could be operated by organisations who are out to catch pirates.
      Not legal you cry? (entrapment)
      The defense that torrent websites use against piracy claims is that they do not host the material, just provide the meta data for linking users. Even changes to national legislation have been unable to dent this presumption into translating the sharing of meta data into a criminal offence. However, if this is not illegal in and of itself, what would be wrong with a law enforcement agency running their own file sharing meta data website, and collecting data on the users. They haven’t broken any laws because they are not directly sharing the information, but the users are.

    • Torqual says:

      @BAReFOOT
      Your wall of text has very interesting thoughts in it. I think you are right. Copyright is the opposition of progress and evolution. Can you copyright nature’ law? Gravity, the Chaos Theory?, the universe itself. Where does this copyright madness end. An artist should get money for his profession. An engineer should get money for his tinkering. But what would be if Steven Hawkins would invent the Universal Theory and a big company bought it and copyrighted it. To whom would the Universe belong. To Hawkings? To the company who copyrighted it?

      Have a nice day.

    • Bhazor says:

      My TL:DR summary of Barefoot.

      Particle theft should be illegal. Having a password is a crime.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “A crime is defined as something, that is hurting someone else. Correct?”

      Erm, no, as it happens.

    • bansama says:

      @bansama
      Confusing Steam activity for a torrent? What ridiculous nonsense.

      I would have probably said the same thing once. Before it actually happened to me. But there you go… Some people will always choose to believe such things could never happen. And if they want to love in such a rose tinted world, far be it for me to burst their bubble. I’ll leave that task to firms likely to send out these letters.

    • frymaster says:

      @bansama:

      for a start, you’re implying interception of your network traffic. Either your ISP is ludicrously shady, or the anti-torrent people are flat-out criminal.

      The way they catch torrenters is not by seeing what traffic is on people’s networks. They do it by connecting to bittorrent trackers and seeing what IPs are sharing the download. They then, depending on the system, either convince the ISP to tell them the address that was associated with that IP at the time, or just pass the letter on to the ISP to forward on their behalf. There is literally no way a steam download could be caught by that system.

      The flaws in the system are:

      a) Did the media company actually connect to said IP and retreive valid data from it? Or did they just look at the list of connected IPs? IPs on that list can be spoofed, it’s only by actually connecting to one that they can prove it was actually sharing

      b) Did the media company record the date, time and IP properly? Especially on ADSL, IP addresses can change fairly regularly, and they’d better have noted the timezone….

      c) Was the ISP’s IP-to-customer tracking system effective? I’m told that BTs, in particular, is a series of shell scripts that grep through various log files, and is notoriously unreliable.

      I suspect the issue in your case was a) or c)

      Incidentally, these are the only issues I have with current court cases for copyright infringement. I have no issues with companies protecting their IP (as someone who has illegally downloaded stuff before, my reaction to being caught wouldn’t be “It’s so unfair!”, it’d be “It’s a fair cop guv”) but I don’t feel the evidence is of high enough quality a lot of the time.

    • bansama says:

      @frymaster All I recall of the letter was that it listed a named download, which was Crysis Warhead. A start time and date for downloading and an end time and date for downloading along with a customer ID. There were no IP addresses listed.

      The date was right for when I downloaded off of Steam, but as I don’t recall what time I started the download, I couldn’t say for any certainty whether the dates are right. My IP changes probably once every 48 to 72 hours.

      It may well have been a huge coincidence, with someone spoofing an IP assigned to me and downloading the same game, but that seems a little too unbelievable too me. All I know is, I’m not prepared to take the gamble this time.

      So The Witcher 2 is not a game I will be buying as a digital download. Nor will I buy any other game for which I know such lawyer tactics are being employed; until I can be sure the system they use is not going to target innocent people.

    • bansama says:

      I couldn’t say for any certainty whether the dates are right.

      That should of course read:

      I couldn’t say for any certainty whether the times are right.

  8. RogB says:

    ahh speculative invoicing.
    I highly recommend reading up on the whole ACS:Law debacle in the UK to see just how screwed up it is.
    i dont condone piracy but the methods used here are suspect at best, and entirely based upon threats, without any concrete evidence.

    I have a lot of respect for the Witcher folk, so I’d rather they took a different approach than become bullying internet bad guys :(

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      Yes, because people who illegaly download their games would be “bullied” by them trying to make a stop to it. Wtf?!

      Way I see it, I won’t have any DRM hassle as a paying customer and torrenters get BS. I wish they would get more than that (realistically enforceable fines), but that’s unlikely.

    • Clovis says:

      @Rinox: Did you read about ACS:Law? Sure, you don’t mind the evil pirates being bullied, but what are you going to do when you receive a letter demanding a large payment or else you will be sued? Oh, you didn’t torrent the game? Well, then, have fun paying for lawyer and trying to fight the charges. Hopefully the laws your country are better than in Britain/US. If not, you are going to pay your lawyers more than the ransom note demanded.

      If CD Projekt somehow knows who is torrenting their game, then suing those people is fine. The problem is that they have no idea who is torrenting their game. They MIGHT be able to figure out an IP address, but that hardly proves much. Do I really need to pay $5,000 because the neighborhood script kiddie hacked my router? Does grandma really have to pay up because her ididot grandson decided to download a game?

      So far, the companies that lititgate these cases have been real slimeballs. I’ll definitely not support any game company that supports them. No Witcher 2, no GOG for me.

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      Mm I understand your concerns, but how could I ever lose a court case on something I didn’t in any way do? As for lawyer costs, they are paid by the losing party over here, so I don’t see that being a problem either. Maybe it has to do with where the majority of the posters here lives? The UK and US do absolutely awful on the privacy international rankings (around the Russia, China, Taiwan mark) so maybe it is more of a real problem there, I dunno.

      The only real problem I can see for it is that it may target socially vulnerable people (as I mentioned below). Other than that it seems almost completely unenforceable.

    • Clovis says:

      The important thing in the US is this would be a civil case. They do not have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you downloaded the game, but just that the “preponderance of evidence”. If you get a letter in the US many lawyers would actually recommned paying it, since the defence would cost more than settlement.

      There’s still something odd about your logic Rinox. It sounds like CD Projekt should send a “Pay up or else” letter to every person in your country. Hey, if they didn’t download it, they can ignore the letter. If they are evil pirates they should pay up, right? You understand that they don’t actually have proof of any particular person downloaded their game (how do you determine that from an IP?), but you are ok with them suing people anyway?

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      Well, I was kind of assuming they wouldn’t send everyone in my (or any) country a letter based on nothing at all. :-) I agree that the method of tracking down people who illegally acquired the game is far from perfect, but I just don’t see it coming as far as you on the whole presecution thing. Is nothing but an IP address a ‘preponderance of evidence’, enough to sue someone over? Seems vague and weird to me, but I’m in no way a legal expert when it comes to the US.

      The only thing I would see happening from this is that some people get a letter saying they should pay money and get scared and do it even though they are innocent. I don’t see it ever escalating into a court case from CDP’s side when someone doesn’t pay, unless they somehow obtain rock solid evidence.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Is nothing but an IP address a ‘preponderance of evidence’, enough to sue someone over?”

      Yes, or at least it has been in the past. Although the only time it actually went to court the defendant was tried in absentia since they refused to show.

      I doubt anyone would be willing to try it in the UK at the moment though. ACS are under investigation for the practice, I doubt anyone else would be willing to take up such methods until that’s resolved.

    • Clovis says:

      @Rinox: “Is nothing but an IP address a ‘preponderance of evidence’, enough to sue someone over?”

      Yes. You can even maybe win in the US.

      What other evidence could they possibly have? You seem to agree that suing someone based on this is ridiculous, but this is exactly what CD Projekt is almost certainly going to do. Why are you ok with that?

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      It just seemed ridiculous to me that they can sue people over such filmsy evidence in a democratic justice state. Obviously I don’t think that’s cool. I still agree with the principle of the matter, that they go around checking torrents (or putting up fake ones) to catch people freeloading. But it would appear they need to fix the justice system rather than the tracking system.

    • Anonymousity says:

      Well, Rinox since they can’t get any more evidence to convict people what else would they do? You don’t like that method (the only one) but you support them doing it?

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      I support them trying to stop people from pirating their games, yes, even if it may not be ideal. Like I said above, maybe we should try and fix the justice systems in some countries first. That seems like a bigger priority/problem than CDprojekt’s motivations to me. I can’t for the life of me imagine being sued over nothing but an IP.

    • manveruppd says:

      Rinox, the problem is that the way they gather the evidence is very suspect:
      1. harvesting of IP addresses from torrent swarms is suspect, as those addresses can be spoofed
      2. the agencies usually contracted to do this harvesting are dodgy and nobody can be sure they’re doing it properly and not making IP addresses up
      3. even if your IP address was correctly identified as connected in the swarm, it might still not have been you – could’ve been someone hacking into your router (not as difficult as it sounds), someone who used a Trojan on your PC to redirect traffic from his IP, or an unauthorised member of your family (like the grandmother whose 13-year-old granddaughter’s Napster sharing got her fined hundreds of thousands of $ in the States).

      Despite all these problems, they still managed to get a conviction in the UK! The law in most Western countries today seems to think that it’s OK to convict a guy to the tune of thousands of £ in damages on the word of some IP-harvesting agency in Switzerland (as it was in the Davenport-Lyons cases) whose collection methods are suspect, who might not even be connecting to the swarm, who present no concrete evidence to support their allegations, and who are clearly a bunch of cowboys!

      And A LOT more people paid up when they got the threatening letters, even though they had never downloaded and in some cases never heard of the product they were accused of downloading simply because they got scared. Even if they could somehow prove their innocence in court the defence would have cost them even more than the settlement fee they were being asked to pay in the letter. This in spite of the fact that UK law only allows for damages up to the value of the product you were supposed to have stolen – and these guys were asking for “settlement fees” an order of magnitude greater!

      Here’s a good article about the dodgy practices employed by the law firms hired by copyright holders to pursue supposed downloaders, and the IP-collection agencies they contract: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/amounts-to-blackmail-inside-a-p2p-settlement-letter-factory.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      I see, thanks for the explanation. I suppose there is a point to be made for disliking CDProjekt’s intentions in this direction, and maybe I shouldn’t have defended them like I did. I still agree with the principle of the matter though, and that any justice system that allows for a conviction based on this is fundamentally messed up. Making it impossible to sue someone (and win) based on such flimsy evidence would naturally put a stop to this stuff.

      As for court costs…isn’t there some system in place that makes the losing party cover (a part) of the litigation costs of the winning party? I can only speak for where I live, but over here the losing party pays the court costs and a part of the winning party’s lawyer’s fee. This is done to prevent people from being sue-happy and to make the financial hurdle for the weaker parties (person vs. company) less challenging.

    • Nethlem says:

      Another problem is the issue with fakes… somebody might download a file that’s named “The Witcher 2.exe” but in reality it’s some cheap beastiality porn. He will still get fined even thoe he didn’t break the copyright. Because most of these “anti-piracy” agencys don’t even bother to download more then a few kb of a file from somebody who shares so they don’t even know what he is actually sharing.

      The law also isn’t blind.. to the contrary…
      If you decide to go to court the sueing party will drag the case infront of a judge who doesn’t even know what an IP is, so he has no understanding of the evidence or how it got collected. They will just drown him in some high tech babble that he doesn’t understand and rule the case in their favor.

      So you end up losing the case, paying a ton of money. It’s a huge risk compared to just paying 500€ and beeing done with this. The US/UK are not even that bad with this behavior, over here in germany it’s by far worse. It’s bad to such an degree that there are cases of people making a cheap 300€ movie, putting a copyright on it and get their profit from threatening people who torrent that movie with 500€ invoices.

  9. Premium User Badge Schaulustiger says:

    I’m perfectly fine with that. As long as I, as the honest buyer, do not have any DRM-hassles, I welcome any other method of fighting piracy. Go get ‘em, CDP!

  10. Rii says:

    Robert Heinlein once said that obscenity and blasphemy are the two greatest crimes ever legislated from nothing. I venture to suggest that piracy is the third.

    • Wilson says:

      @Rii – I would disagree. Stealing stuff is a crime, even if you aren’t physically removing it from the owner. Stealing stuff and using it to make money is surely not ‘nothing’ (e.g selling pirate DVDs). While I agree that many conventional anti-pirating measures are a waste of time, can unnecessarily harm the paying customer, and that piracy probably doesn’t do as much harm to the industry as they claim, that doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

    • CMaster says:

      Piracy is not technically, legally or morally equivalent to theft. Please don’t perpetuate that manipulative concept here or elsewhere.

      I’d again, say that doesn’t mean that copyright infringement is right, but the arguments for it being wrong are quite different to those for theft.

    • sneetch says:

      Well, by pirating the pirate is depriving them of money rightfully due to them and that’s tantamount to theft in my book, perhaps not legally but certainly morally. Putting the whole “but they wouldn’t have bought it anyway” smokescreen aside if they don’t pay they don’t have the right to use your software and conversely If they want to use your software then they have to pay.

      They have to try to protect themselves, this may not work but who knows, if it dissuades some torrenters then it’s worth it.

    • CMaster says:

      @Sneetch – you actually covered several of the reasons why copyright infringement is not theft in your own post there.
      If I was to commit theft, I actually take something away from the victim, be that an individual or a company. I would be depriving them of something of material value, and it would require additional expense or effort to get themselves back to where they were.
      In committing copyright infringement, I am replicating (at my own expense) something that somebody else has created. It’s considered illegal and wrong, because of the idea that people who put time and effort into creating something deserve compensation for their time, and our conventional models for this involve selling copies of the item, But I haven’t made the creators and worse off than they were.
      If thousands of people steal, thats worse than one person stealing for the victim. If thousands of people “pirate”, the victim is left no worse off than if only one person did.
      An analogy that isn’t stretching things: Theft is where I break into a warehouse and steal a toy. Copyright infringement is when I make myself an identical copy of the toy. The issue with piracy for games, music, films etc is that there isn’t a physical object, so unlike a toy or similar, there’s very little effort required to do so – anybody can do it. Equally, the only thing that is being sold is the idea (especially in these days of digital distribution, you pay for the idea and a little bit of bandwidth. There’s no per unit production cost at all).

      The morality of copyright infringement is different and more complex to that of theft, and I won’t go into all the views now. Even theft isn’t always simple (stealing bread to feed family etc – though of course, noone needs video games to live)

    • Archonsod says:

      “Piracy is not technically, legally or morally equivalent to theft.” Erm, morality is subjective. It’s morally equivalent to murder if I say it is.

    • sneetch says:

      I know what the difference is (I’ve come across it before in my job as a software engineer), I’m simply saying that depriving someone of the money they would earn if you were to legitimately purchase their software product is morally very similar to theft in my opinion.

      The fact remains that by copying the software you are still depriving them of rightful earnings regardless of whether or not it’s a physical object.

    • CMaster says:

      @Archonsod
      Perhaps I wasn’t quite as clear as I could be there.
      While you could argue that copyright infringement was as bad as murder, you couldn’t argue it was bad for the same reasons. (Well, not making reasonable arguments at least). That was what I am getting at. Copyright infringement and theft might both be just as bad as each other – but for different reasons, and deserving separate consideration. The whole piracy = theft argument is a lie developed by corporations who rely on copyright so as to avoid having to deal with awkward questions about artificial scarcity and similar.

    • CMaster says:

      @Sneetch “I’m simply saying that depriving someone of the money they would earn if you were to legitimately purchase their software product is morally very similar to theft”
      So I’ve stolen from National Instruments by not purchasing LabView? Despite the fact that I’d never use it?

      I argue against this line of theft and copyright infringement equivalence, because it makes getting to any sensible resolution harder. It means that industry bodies go around claiming nonsense like “piracy costs us X Billion dollars a year” despite the fact that this number appears on no balance sheet, (hell, their income could be less than the claimed crazy numbers, yet they’d still be in profit). Make no mistake, I’m not saying that piracy isn’t a propblem for all these creative industries. I just hate people being deliberately misleading to cloud the argument.

    • Taillefer says:

      That would make competition the same as theft in your mind. Cheaper prices and sales deprive people of the money they’d make if each copy was sold full price instead. Or is only stealing the whole pie theft? Maybe many people wouldn’t have bought it at all at full price? Exactly. But there’s no way to get the numbers.

      I don’t think anybody would argue piracy doesn’t affect sales at all. But it’s currently unstoppable and basically a competing market (albeit an illegitimate one). CDProjekt seemed to have the right idea and offered more than pirates can (No DRM and many, lovely extras). Which made this move seem out of character.

    • Wilson says:

      @CMaster – You’re right, I was wrong to talk about ‘theft’ as opposed to copyright infringement, I was being lazy about my terms and you were right to call me out on it. All I meant was that in my opinion copyright infringement isn’t something that can be put alongside obscenity and blasphemy as a minor thing. There are concerns relating to copyright infringement, and I don’t think it’s morally right to profit by selling someone else’s work or to just take someone else’s work because you can – this is not at all the same as stealing, as you point out.

    • sneetch says:

      @CMaster
      So I’ve stolen from National Instruments by not purchasing LabView? Despite the fact that I’d never use it?

      No sorry, re-reading my posts I can see the ambiguity there: I’m saying that If you download and use their software without paying for it then you’re depriving them of the money you should pay which I think is theft.

    • Damien Stark says:

      Very well, Theft of Services, if you’d rather. If some lawyer/plumber/consultant spends two weeks laboring on my behalf, then I opt not to pay them for their services, I still haven’t “deprived them of something of material value”. Nonetheless, they make their livelihood on income from those services, and if they name a price for those services, I take them, then don’t pay, that is tantamount to theft.

      I’ll agree that the methodology of assuming all pirates would have purchased at full price is laughable, but so is assuming that you’ve done no wrong because you haven’t taken a physical object.

    • Peter says:

      This analogy isn’t exactly correct, because there is still a prize for the production of the unit (the service) you’re refusing the pay for, while in the case of piracy the seller isn’t paying anything extra because you torrented the game.

    • Torgen says:

      CMaster: Theft of information has been a crime for centuries. From espionage to corporate espionage, the unlawful taking of information, even in a digital form, is a crime.

  11. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Even though I’m an occasionally not so occasional pirate, i have to say this is still somewhat commendable. PC gamers have been suffering under different DRM for ages, and if a hugely anticipated AAA game (is it that?) comes out without the hassle i think thats very commendable.

    If they still want to pursue pirates, let them have a crack at it. torrent snooping or whatever it is called takes place anyway, this is just them being honest about it, which is, in a way, again very commendable.

    commendable commendable, i learnt a new word.

  12. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    They are well within their rights to do this. In theory, due the DRM-free nature of the game, no legitimate customers are likely to be hurt by this.

    However, as we’ve seen with the music industry, this litigation strategy cannot work either. There are few ways to reliably track illegal downloads and unknowing chumps often get the blame for others’ downloads. Furthermore, some of the worst offenders are unlikely to be caught, as they are protected within private trackers, IRC channels and the like.

    In sum: it’s better than intrusive DRM, but innocent people can still be harmed by it and it doesn’t solve the problem. I suppose it just sees them paid for a few of the illegal downloads, and who cares who pays, right?

  13. Xik says:

    I only care when companies put policies in place to inconvenience the paying customer. As long as the end game (that I pay for) is DRM free I couldn’t care less what they do to make them feel better about piracy….

    Of course, whether a private company should be able to dish out fines is a completely different debate and is pointless to have here on a gaming blog.

  14. goatmonkey says:

    What about all the retailer exclusive DLCs I might have done that with all the ME2 ones

  15. Jezebeau says:

    Can’t wait to see what happens when they attempt to fine someone who has a valid license for the game due to having purchased it. I’ve downloaded games in such cases when either the disc fails or my disc drive does from disuse.

    • Damien Stark says:

      Seems fairly straightforward.
      You send back a letter with your valid key and a copy of the email/invoice/receipt stating when you legally purchased it.

      Yes, in theory a horrible escalation occurs where their lawyers aggressively pursue you anyway for the “crime” of using bit-torrent, and try to shake you down for settlement money because they know it’s cheaper than a proper defense, but all it takes is one person with the time and money to stand their ground and counter-sue. Hell, it could even turn into a proper appeals or supreme court verdict that bit-torrent is legit or that these torrent/IP investigations aren’t sufficient evidence to sue.

      In practice, they’re likely to just end the matter when they receive your letter with proof of legitimate purchase.

    • Josh W says:

      This works so long as the eula doesn’t have a section prohibiting distribution of copies of the files, because as standard bit-torrent will be uploading even as it downloads.

  16. allen says:

    empty threats indeed. I suspect one could throw away the letter and nothing bad would happen.

    not all illegitimate downloads are from torrents anyway. there are always alternatives that are incredibly difficult to track in comparison.

    announcing this publicly was a bit silly. they totally lost the element of surprise on this one.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I don’t think they want the element of surprise, to be honest.

      A public statement like this suggests they want to use it as a deterrent, like speed cameras or the burgler alarm flashing away on the front of your house. I’m pretty sure they don’t expect to make any significant profit from it (and if they do, they’re being a bit silly).

  17. pkt-zer0 says:

    This all seems rather pointless, but whatever, the game’s DRM-free, legit customers won’t give a damn.

  18. abhishek says:

    Already pre-ordered the game on Steam. I have to say though, nothing good will come from this move. It is logistically impossible to make any profit from doing this, and the negative publicity they get from it will not be worth it.

  19. Jonathan says:

    I think this is the wrong approach, and comes across as heavy-handed. Anti-piracy measures will be more welcomely received if they reward legitimate users through some kind of additional content, (like extra neighbourhoods in Sims 3), not punish illegitimate users.

    I also think this kind of measure just encourages pirates to find sneakier and perhaps superior ways of getting their goods, which is harmful in the long run.

    On the plus side, at least this method has no real risk of accidentally punishing a non-pirate. That’s some kind of progress.

    • randomnine says:

      If there was any way to reserve additional content for legitimate users, it’d be used to reserve the entire game for legitimate users.

    • Jonathan says:

      … except for the existing games that reserve additional content for legitimate users, you mean? I even cited one as an example. Jeez.

    • Archonsod says:

      “If there was any way to reserve additional content for legitimate users, it’d be used to reserve the entire game for legitimate users.”

      Not necessarily. EA and Stardock both require you to register your key with their service to access patches and free stuff. That alone is a big incentive for people to buy; even if such stuff does hit torrent sites it lags behind, and the prospect of free stuff with key registration is a psychological ploy which works.
      One thing Stardock realised, and probably EA too, is that the pirated game then becomes one of their most effective advertising methods, and it costs them nothing. It’s particularly effective in something like the Sims 3 where the launcher on a cracked version is still parading an array of free stuff that can be yours if only you’d legitimise the copy with a valid license key.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      If there was any way to reserve additional content for legitimate users, it’d be used to reserve the entire game for legitimate users.

      Well done genius, you just described DRM.

  20. Amasius says:

    Well, better no DRM and harsh measures against pirates than vice versa.

  21. Schiraman says:

    Pirating a game that’s available in your region for a fair price seems shameful to me, games really aren’t expensive for the amount of entertainment you get.

    However, giving money to evil, blackmailing lawyers strikes me as even worse, so CDP lose a lot of respect from me for this one.

  22. Aisar says:

    Good for them, as long as they deliver the game well in a digital format with a reasonable price, I wish them luck with any litigation they hope to use to defend their right to payment.

  23. strange headache says:

    Dogs that bark, don’t bite. Or maybe they do? I don’t know, I’m tired of this piracy controversy. Just focus on your customers who are paying for your stuff and you won’t have problems earning enough to keep afloat. But fi you count every downloaded copy as a lost sale that would otherwise have been yours, you’re in for some big trouble. People don’t work that way, they have limited budgets compared to an unlimited range of products.

    Sure we could simply say, “no money? don’t buy!”, but that’s not acceptable for the industry either. That’s why every products gets hyped to kingdom come, to train customers like a pavlovian dog to consume. You reap what you sow, I guess.

    • D says:

      Well said. It’s well known that (all of) the pirates will download (every single) product, just because it is there for free — I’ve never thought of it in terms of consumerism before, but it certainly is. So, this behavior from a ‘small’ group of people worldwide inflates the number of “people who were interested” in the product, making it seem like the group of pirates are a big detractor from generated profit. When in reality, nobody from the pirate group would even have considered getting the product, if they had to pay. This is well know (and is the reason we talk about “non-lost sales”), BUT..

      There is also a group of people who are madly interested in The Witcher 2, and who will want to get it as soon as possible. These are your lost sales, right here, when The Witcher 2 is leaked onto the internet half a week before the release date.

      It’s important to recognize the positive impact DRM has on zero-day piracy. Sometimes, it succeeds in blocking the second group – the lost sales group – for just long enough for the game to release. It’s not a certainty to block the group, but given the fact that stuff will get leaked, I think DRM is a good defensive measure to take.

      For these reasons and more, I hope CDP aren’t shooting themselves in the foot (which will depend hugely on whether the game gets leaked or not). And I hope that someone soon realizes that there is no better alternative than patching out DRM on release-day +1.

  24. Premium User Badge UW says:

    I don’t particularly think that DRM helps combat piracy, at the very least investing money in developing new types of DRM seems like a waste to me.

    All DRM will eventually be cracked, it would seem, so putting on something rudimentary just to stop anyone being able to share your game without even needing to attempt to crack it would be my personal approach.

    I think you need to find the middle ground. You don’t want to make it too easy to share a game around without paying, but you don’t want to alienate your paying customers by making the DRM in any way restrictive.

    I reckon Valve have got it nailed, really. They dress their DRM up as a service which people actually want. I’m a sucker for it. I know if I get Witcher 2 it will be on Steam, so I’ll actually be choosing DRM.

    I’ve recently been playing the original Witcher and loving it, so there’s a good chance I’ll pick this one up on release. Very out of character for me, but I’m happy to give more money to developers whose work I really enjoy.

  25. Po0py says:

    This is absolutely abhorrent news. I will not be buying The Witcher 2. The technology used to gather torrent data such as IP addresses has not been proven. In fact, the software is kept secret and is not open to inspection by anyone. What CD Projeckt are basically saying is that they will hire companies to send threatening letters to suspected file sharers saying that they have infringed and they have to pay up or face the courts. Problem is that very few of these cases if any ever come to court because the companies know the evidence is flimsy and will not stand up in court. Furethermore, there have been cases both here in the UK and in America and Europe where innocent people have been sent threatening letters. Old people who don’t know how to use the internet let alone a BitTorrent client. Even further, what about Landlords who provide internet as part of their letting? What about house shares, where people split the costs of internet and nobody owns up on who torrented the file? There is so much holes in this horrid practice it is unbelievable.

    A UK firm ACS:Law who have been sending bullying letters to UK citezens for several years now. They have even been on The One Show where people have been complaining about being harrassed: Please look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoDnDzG010c

    But recently they have been thoroughly humiliated by Anonymous. Take a look:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11425789
    And yet more on how flimsy and horrid a practice this is:
    http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-knew-they-targeted-innocent-victims-101118/

    This is absolutely fucking despicable. I’m just about done with CD Projeck now. I’ll probably be closing my GOG account also. I will not support these people with my money. Fuck that.

    RPS: If you care about PC gaming in any way, please put this info on the front page. We cannot let this kind of thing become a common practice. It is simply bullying of the highest degree. It is not about evidence. It is not about “fining” people. It is quite simply a way to make money. And more often than not innocent people will be targeted. Please publicize this RPS!

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      yep, thumbs up for this post. absolutely disgusting.

    • DevilSShadoW says:

      I fully support this post. Those where my exact thoughts as well.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      You’ve put it far better than I managed further down. Totally agree. Piracy is wrong, but this is worse.

    • Urael says:

      Before we go stomping off decrying CD Projekt as evil, what evidence do we have that the users being unfairly targetted are a majority? What percentage of the total do these people represent? In other words, how successful is this tactic if other companies are starting to consider it? How many legitimate torrenters are actually being caught and prosecuted?

      Also, the link to the BBC report where Anonymous “thoroughly humiliated” ACS:Law – this is hacking, pure and simple. Yes, there’s an underlying issue that the data was not being secured properly by the company, and that SOME innocent users – out of the 8’000 listed – were being targetted, but there’s nothing in the article to suggest how many of that list were genuine pirates.

      I’m sorry, but I’m going to need more than this if I’m going to react anywhere near as silly as you are.

    • CMaster says:

      “what evidence do we have that the users being unfairly targetted are a majority?”
      I’m sorry? Targeting and harming innocent people is only a bad thing if the majority are being unfairly treated? We should just summarily execute every murder suspect as well, I’m sure most of them did it…

      I mean, I don’t think I agree with the initial post, but what your saying is kinda silly there…

    • Po0py says:

      @Urael

      None have been prosecuted. Absolutely none. It is purely about sending bullying letters. In previous cases people have been accused of torrenting hardcore german gay porn and many people have payed up simply out of fear of being humiliated. And they wont ever take this to court because they know the evidence is flimsy at best. Landlords, multiple tennants, open and unsecure wifi. All sorts of holes that would be exposed and ridiculed in a court of law.

      Just because only “some” of the people will be entirely innocent doesn’t mean the practice is right. Every single citeizen in the UK is entitled to their day in court if accused doing something illegal. The problem is that there has not been a single court case. They are too scared to bring it to court because if they loose, and I guarantee you the most likely will loose, it will set a legal precedent and all of a sudden these law firms will find it very difficult to get names and addresses off of ISP’s because their court orders will be shot down. And when their court order is shot down they are no longer able to send threatening letters. It is purely a money making scam. It’s about money. Not piracy.

      ACS:Law exposed the emails themselves. It wasn’t hacking. It was idiocy on the part of their system admin (probably Andrew Crossley, himself). When they discovered the website was under a Denial Of Service attack they tried to bring the website offline for a day or two and in their incompetence they accidentally exposed the root of their website and their entire email database along with it.

    • Urael says:

      @CMaster. Yes, because OF COURSE murder is the same degree of offence as illegal file-sharing.
      Now who’s being silly?

      My point was that no system is ever 100% foolproof. No matter how well set up or how well maintained a certain percentage are going to be inconvenienced. And we all understand how a few loud voices can create a picture of a much worse situation that actually is the case.

      @Po0py – your response was much better, thank you. If all they’re doing is bullying and harassment – much like many debt recovery companies still get caught doing – then this is clearly not a practice that should be condoned in any way shape or form, by anyone. Take it to court or shut the hell up. If this is the style of play CD Projekt are signing themselves up to be a part of then absolutely screw them to the wall.

      So it wasn’t hacking but a company who badly handled a DOS attack. I would say this is still hacking – the information didn’t just fall out of the systems into the hands of 4Chan/Anon. – they were clearly looking for a way in to get in and were unfortunately given one. If it’s not hacking by technical definition then it’s still illegal access.

    • Premium User Badge The_Terminator says:

      Not only is the evidence too flimsy to take anyone to court, but it’s too flimsy even to get hold of the people they’re accusing’s contact details, if any of the ISPs they obtain them from actually challenged it.

      I remember when Davenport Lyons first started doing this, TalkTalk announced that they would challenge their demands to hand over customer details in order to protect people’s privacy – the next day, DL mysteriously dropped all the TalkTalk customers from their request. More recently Virgin Media announced that they too would challenge any further demands made, and ACS Law suddenly dropped all the Virgin customers they wanted info on. They know how flimsy and inaccurate their evidence is, so they avoid having it challenged at all costs.

      These speculative invoicing schemes are extortion, plain and simple, and while I will still buy The Witcher 2, I’ve lost a lot of respect for CDProjekt. These schemes target as many people as possible, in the full knowledge that many of them will be innocent, because they know that many people will be too embarassed or confused at being accused of piracy that they’ll just pay up to make it go away. About 30% of people, in fact. It’s quite a lucrative business – the people who made the Hurt Locker actually made a larger profit from running one of these schemes in the US than they made from the film itself.

    • CMaster says:

      @Urael – I was merely taking your idea that only the majority need be guilty to justify action and applying it to all crimes. Fine, I could say the same for everybody a shop accuse of shoplifting, give 100 hours community service. We’re sure most of them did it, so that’s fine, right?

      For the record, I think unless IP law really is reformed a lot, game devs have every right to go after people who don’t pay for their game (but play it anyway). What various people here are saying though is that the lawyers use don’t actually care who they go after, it’s merely a money spinner.

      Edit: Copyright infringement is of course a civil, not criminal offence, so it isn’t quite the same, but there you go.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Before we go stomping off decrying CD Projekt as evil, what evidence do we have that the users being unfairly targetted are a majority?”

      A wild guess. Which is about the same strength of evidence they have for accusing said users in the first place.

  26. frags says:

    So they following the stuff the RIAA did. Find a few sacrificial lambs and sue the hell out of them. That would get rid of any goodwill people have for them. Weird choice.

    • Nethlem says:

      Wrong.. it’s the complete opposite.
      They find thousands of people and fine all of them for a low number something along the lines of 300-500€. They simply threat them “pay the fine and we won’t go to the court” and most people pay up.

      It’s been happening for years this is nothing new, over here in germany there are serveral big law firms that specialised in this kind of thing they basicly only do this and nothing else and they get rich. It’s basicly just a matter of sending out bulk mails and getting 500€ for each one.

  27. Ravenger says:

    As much as I love CD Projekt for The Witcher, GOG and their stance on DRM, I think this is a big mistake.

    IP adresses are not proof of identity, and can be spoofed, or mistakes can be made. As has been the case with other similar schemes, innocent people will be targeted, and much of the goodwill and respect that CD Projekt gave gained from the PC community will be lost.

    Bad move.

  28. Nemon says:

    Unfair, consolers get games to rent, we only get games to torrent.

    See what I did there?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      We get games to download, both legally and illegally. Console owners are forced to deal with discs and retailers. See what I did?

      Besides: the whole game rental thing just encourages console developers to make “rental” games as a kind of sub-market aimed at video stores, resulting in a general slide towards shovelware. The current PC games market encourages innovative indie games as well as perpetuating both good and bad AAA titles, with mediocre games that would survive as “rentals” being killed off mercilessly. It’s no coincidence that the rise of Indie development happened around the same time PC game rental and resale market was murdered by DRM schemes. And why did companies feel they needed to implement DRM in the first place?

      RAMPANT PIRACY.

      While it is somewhat of a pain that demos are not made for every game, complaining about the inability to rent PC games in 2010 is nonsense.

    • Nemon says:

      Not my point.

    • Premium User Badge UW says:

      I see what you did, and it was awful. Simply awful.

      Also, DRM is an aid in combating rentals and trade-ins as much as it combats piracy.

      I’d imagine publishers could actually stand to gain more purchases from finding ways to prevent trade-ins than trying to prevent piracy. In fact they already do. DLC, pre-order bonuses, bonuses for buying on release, they all generally exist because buying a game second-hand means the publisher gets none of the cash.

      I’m sure in a warped way publishers are often grateful that piracy exists. They can use it as an excuse to get away with all sorts of moneymaking schemes.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Unfair, consolers get games to rent, we only get games to torrent
      The closed, “DRM by design” platforms get to rent games while the open platform of PC’s get to pirate them.

      Piracy isn’t theft, it’s greed.

  29. rocketman71 says:

    The Davenport Lyons enooooooooooooormous (and intentional) fuckups say this is a BAD idea.

    http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-knew-they-targeted-innocent-victims-101118/

    Edit: damn, ninjaed by Po0py :-P

  30. Tei says:

    I have the game pre-ordered. But this make me think why this people is wasting time and money on this. Also massive denounces are evil and inmoral. We all that have something to do with digital technology/computers know what any massive thing has false positives. So wen you do a massive thing, like here, you KNOW are attacking some innocent people. And this is bad, just bad. Is inmoral and something only really evil people do withouth a second trought.

    So CD Projekt is doing something evil, and to do that, is using my pre-order money. Will cancelling the pre-order and getting the game in a warez network send the right message to CD Projekt? I am considering it.. I will not do it, probably because I like to pay for the game I play, but If CD Projekt persist on evil things, Is a option I can be forced to take.

  31. Donkeyfumbler says:

    If the method they were using to identify the pirates was totally reliable, and they were getting most of the cash from pursuing them then I would say fine – go for it with everything you can muster.

    However, as anyone who has been following this issue will be well aware, identifying people purely by IP address is by no means foolproof and there are definitely innocent people who have not downloaded or pirated games that are getting threatening letters demanding hundreds of pounds from disreputable law firms like ACS Law and Davenport Lyons who are both now having action taken against them by the SRA (Solicitors regulation authority). The law firms keep the majority of any money they rake in, with only a lesser percentage going to the publisher, knowing full well that some of it comes from innocent people too scared to stand up to them. They openly boast about this as a ‘business model’ and claim that some companies make more money from this ‘speculative invoicing’ than from real sales.

    How can this be right? I bought the Witcher (on sale mind you) and enjoyed it but if they are saying that this kind of thing is OK I won’t be buying the Witcher 2 and I would urge others to do the same.

  32. Jannakar says:

    It will be interesting to see if they have all that much success with this. People who cannot or do not want to pay will continue to do so.

    Developers and publishers need to make a profit to continue and invest in future games. Unless there is some completely new economic system that emerges whereby the creative industries do not need to be profit-seeking in order function, then profit-seeking is the mechanism by which they get funded. No funding, no games. Make money or die.

    However it is not the copyright infringement in itself that is bad, probably in the majority of cases there is no money lost since the money would not have been transferred anyway. For me the problem is copyright infringement breaks the link between quality and reward. It doesn’t matter that the game gets good reviews – that only encourages the copyright infringers.

    The big publishers still seem to make good profits. The seems to be a certain amount of resentment or unhappiness about games like CODBLOPS or MW2 or WOW raking in huge piles of cash. They are big enough to make copyright infringement not an issue for them. It’s the good small or mid-size devs that get it in the neck, where 20 or 30 thousand copies sold could make the difference.

    I think the gaming community has to wake up a bit and work out what is its best interest. Do we want to live in a world where there is basically indie devs working for love of gaming and huge publishers churning out games with miniscule incremental improvements over last years version?

    I believe that gamers and the games press do not explicitly condemn and discourage copyright infringement enough, by doing so we implicitly condone it – it is an acceptable sin. We complain about poor DLC or support or bugs or the colour of textures, but we do not look to our own behaviour and understand where that has an impact on the industry and underestimate the cumulative effect that the signals that our behaviour has on the industry.

    Buy good games, do not torrent bad ones.

    \gets off soapbox.

    • Jannakar says:

      Oops missed something: how are we supposed to work out the good from the bad? The gaming press is corrupted by cash from publishers right? Well I reckon that most gamers have settled on sites and particular reviewers who they trust and who’s tastes are more or less aligned with their own. An EG 8 is like *this*, and RPS WIT is *that*.

      We’re somewhat more sophisticated than we were 10 years ago – the flow of money is clearer and it’s taken into account when we assess the opinions of the reviewers.

  33. Mereli says:

    To be honest, I think this is a step in the right direction.

  34. cookie says:

    What I would say if I wasn’t already purchasing this game for being an AAA title and being DRM-free (Already preordered :P)

    “Challenge accepted.”

  35. Davian says:

    I rarely buy games without pirating them first. If I like the game, or if I can’t afford it initially, I’m more than happy to purchase it when it drops a little, and have done so with most games I pirated and liked. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with “trying before buying”, and would feel much more guilty if I spent money on a bad game that I hadn’t taken time to try beforehand (this is exactly how I felt after buying Empire: Total War on release day and not being able to play it due to all the bugs).

    • Matt says:

      I just use my powers of omniscience to avoid buying the shitty/broken games. Except APB.

  36. Gunrun says:

    Games company uses legal threats against people doing illegal things. News at 11.

  37. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Not spending money on DRM, then earning money pursuing pirates. It’s win-win, isn’t it?

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      uh, they’re clearly going to spend way more money on this bullshit sinkhole than they’re ever going to get in from it

  38. bill says:

    This seems like a terrible idea. Mostly because it’ll give a huge excuse to people to torrent their game.

    They’d just built up a large amount of good will with the announcement of the Witcher 2 release – this will flush it down the toilet with many people. Red rag to a bull and all that. (after announcing loudly that your red rag has no anti-bull protection).

    Of course, those people who use it as an excuse aren’t justified – but why give them an excuse? Not only that, why pay lots of money to ambulance-chasing indiscriminate lawyers for the opportunity to give them an excuse?

  39. Headless Monkey Boy says:

    From personal experience i’m not to keen on this.

    I legaly bought the witcher, then later an update was brought out that fixed alot of bugs, and voices (enhanced update) which was over a gig and REEEALLLLY slow to download of the servers CD Projekt were using.

    so the i downloaded the update (not the game, the update) via utorrent and the ISP sent a threatening letter to my Mum (living there at the time) when i didn’t do anything Illegal.

    I’m not saying i’m going to boycott Cd Project stuff and i’m going to buy the game when it comes out but its not a perfect system.

    • Jannakar says:

      But I don’t think you’d have a problem. You *have* bought the game; fully licensed.

  40. DarkFenix says:

    CD Projekt really ought to be careful about getting bitchy about piracy, it’ll swiftly erode any community goodwill away. This of course isn’t on the same kind of scale as Crytek’s bitching (their bitching immediately caused me to say “y’know what? fuck you Crytek I’m going to pirate your games just to give you the finger”, well, that and the fact that their products are a bit crap).

    I have TW2 on preorder and am glad to see CD Projekt taking a policy of not punishing paying customers, but they have to tread lightly.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      lmao. crytek is on my shitlist aswell. I don’t even want to play their games I just want to seed the torrents for their games forever. cevat is an idiot

  41. Kadayi says:

    I’ll still be buying TW2 nearer the time, and probably via GoG, but I have to say this just seems like a case of pouring paraffin on the fire. My suspicion is that this statement was probably said more to assure potential CD Projekts investors that they aren’t going to be backing a lame duck come release.

  42. Carra says:

    I just hope that these “fines” don’t mean a €1.000.000 fine like we see in the US.

    But the witcher offers a great no DRM download from gog.com. Best of all, it’s the same price we pay as in the US. If it looks promising I’ll pick it up from there.

  43. Daniel Rivas says:

    Oh, and they were doing so well.

  44. Volrath says:

    This is what it has come to. People are so used to being raped with DRM shit, doing without, which used to be the norm, is now considered “nice”. It’s not like developers/publishers have anything to gain financially from having DRM, especially since most are cracked on day one. It’s a faith healing scam. It only makes sense to not have DRM in the first place, unless you go for a method that actually works on some level, like that of Stardock.

    Gotta give it to the DRM developers. Their lobbying crusades must have paid off greatly as the DRM craze ramped up in the last 6 years. It must have been a massive financial incline for them.

  45. Sunkzero says:

    Well, if I was doing this in the UK I would want to be sent a letter saying they want me to pay a fine if the caught up with me – as any 1st year law student can tell you, private companies in the UK cannot demand “fines” or “penalties” and any such attempt to pursue them in court would be futile.

    They should try asking for “compensation against their losses” instead (once they’ve proved them).

  46. BrendanJB says:

    Was very interested in this game, but if they are going to engage in this sort of despicable practice, then I’ll gladly spend my time and money on other products.

  47. Tei says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism
    “Fascism rejects the concepts of egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism in favor of action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit, and will.”

    The fascism idiology is interesting. Is another failed utopy, like comunism, but I don’t see people discussing why it failed. Why Fascism Failed? some may argue that failed because “lost the war”. It was a idiology that move the world to a war, and failed it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism
    “Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy”

    Or did Fascim failed? One can arguee corporations perspectives, values and systems have more power now than in germany with hitler. Maybe in a way, you become what you fight. And while we military killed the fascism nation states, we let the corporate mindset win.

    And here we hare now. A poland company doing a progrom.

    I can make a list here why CD Projekt is doing evil here. But I don’t think I have to arguee false positives exist, and CD PRojekt is going to extort these inocents people for money.

    And the law is by his side, because maybe fascism winned the war after all.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      And here we hare now. A poland company doing a progrom.

      Oof. Really, Tei? Did we have to go there?

    • Urael says:

      Tei, normally we find something amusing to consider in your ravings but this…wow, man. Those kind of opinions just aren’t…rational…in the way we understand the word.

      It’s going to be hard taking you seriously on anything after this.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Urael, please consider the fact his native language is not English, so you might be losing something in translation.

      I, on the other hand, will be considering the idea you may be racist, as it apparently covers nationalities now.

    • Urael says:

      DJ Phantoon – I wasn’t going to dignify that with a response but what the heck, I’m in a generous mood today.

      Tei’s comedic rants are legendary. and no, the comdey doesn’t come form him wrestling with our language but from the extraordinary conversational points he’s able to make. He didn’t get to Onionbog status by being unnoticed, you know. His grasp of English is good enough to carry his point across in 98% of his post, which for an OBVIOUSLY non-native speaker of English, is a fantastic achievement.

      But I defy you to read that post above, where he not only bangs on about Fascism at length – clearly outlining his opinion of CD Projekt’s advertised course of action – but then writes the line: “A poland company doing a pogrom”.

      I wasn’t the first to pick up on that, as you can clearly see but have chosen to ignore in favour of a cheap and hollow crack about my supposed racism. To explain: Progrom is a word most commonly associated with violent action taken against the Jews: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pogrom

      Now you tell me – what part of that is rational in the context of this discussion? He’s not an idiot, by any means. He knows what he’s saying/typing. I’d be VERY interested to see how you can justify this incredibly offensive piece of commentary. Ready?

      Go.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Although it’s clearly open to interpretation I thought he was saying we do basically live in a Fascist society now that is simply run by businesses, not nations. I could be way off there though.

  48. Javier-de-Ass says:

    anyone who finds this disgusting please send them an email aswell. http://www.cdprojekt.com/contact.asp

  49. Premium User Badge Rinox says:

    Wtf is everyone up in arms for? It’s not like these threat letters are ever going to really affect anyone of us (paying customers)…either you don’t get one or you just ignore it (cause it’s pointless). Meanwhile, games with invasive DRM DO affect us, paying customers. Which one would you prefer? Jeez. Way to diabolise CDProject.

    • Tei says:

      It’s not like these threat letters are ever going to really affect anyone of us

      “If you are innocent, you have nothing to fear”

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      Yes, that was exactly what I was saying… /sarcasm

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      Maybe you can ignore it, but lots of other innocent people who get these letters aren’t quite so brave. When you get letter after letter telling you to pay up or else, threatening you with court and ever increasing costs and refusing to accept your protestations that it wasn’t you then after a while the stress can start to get to you and you find yourself wondering if it isn’t easier just to pay, despite the fact that you haven’t done anything wrong.

      Subscribing to a scheme where you know innocent people (even if its just a small minority wrongly accused) are going to be hounded for money is just wrong, and CDProjekt should know that.

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      I know what you mean, but why would anyone pay a fine for something they never even heard of? Would you? Anyone here? And it’s not something shameful like deviant porn or My Little Pony On Vacation either.

      Maybe it’s not very ethical that a small group that would still pay may be affected too, I’ll admit. But aren’t those the same people who get scammed every day by telephone salespeople, commercial presentation, text message scams and spam? That’s not to say that makes it right or to be applauded, but I don’t see a general outrage against companies who engage in that business. Meanwhile, CDProject is trying to do something that is positively outrageous for an AAA title (no drm) and gets ripped to shreds for this.

    • Clovis says:

      You know, we all like to think we are so brave, but many, many people would pay up. I think I might not; I only risk losing my house and having an extreme strain on my marriage. But if I had kids? I think I would fold. They would be more important than winning a battle against some douche bag company. Having my IP address might be enough for an idiot jury to rule against me. Do I really want the chance for the rest of my life being ruined (considering the million dollar fines in the current cases) in the hands of some random people?

    • Premium User Badge Rinox says:

      Do juries rule over civil matters in the US? Mm. Ok, that makes a court case a little less attractive, I’ll admit.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I’m not sure if it would be a jury trial here or not, but whena British judge convicts someone who posted a sarcastic remark on Twitter about blowing up an airport if it was still closed by snow when he was due to fly next week, you can see why there would be lots of people unwilling to trust their future to the legal process regardless of how innocent they might actually be.

  50. ErikM says:

    Why are people so focused on CD Projekt losing money over this? Being a company they have more to think about than -just- the dollars. Maybe they think that the removal of the DRM will be taken as an invite to pirate their games. And thus do this in order to show a clear company policy that they indeed do not want their games stolen online.

    I for one respect this decision over a DRM. It makes sense even if they won’t make any hard cash hunting pirates.

    • Gojiro0 says:

      @ ErikM: Indeed! It sounds like they’re putting it out there that, yeah, we’re releasing with no DRM but hey, we’ll still go after your ass if we can. I, for one, applaud their decision and I do my best to reward enlightened publishers (as distinguished from devs, necessarily) by spending my cash money on their product. Draconian DRM (I’m looking at you Ubisoft) is asking to be cracked and pirated. Vote with your wallet.