CD Projekt Threatening Alleged Pirates

By John Walker on December 15th, 2011 at 10:13 am.

Just why?
Remember how we all cheered when CD Projekt removed the DRM from The Witcher 2? Although the GoG version was always free of the legitimate-customers-only punishing code, all other sources came with the straitjacket. Post launch, however, they patched it out, letting customers enjoy the game without concern. It seemed an all-round sensible way to behave, and despite piracy they sold over a million copies of the game. A happy story. Except, well, now according to TorrentFreak (and seemingly corroborated here, along with mentions of a few other titles) the publisher is reportedly threatening alleged (but unproven) pirates with ludicrous legal letters demanding large amounts of money.

Reminiscent of the vile threats sent out by delightful legal firm Davenport Lyons in 2008, the practice which TorrentFreak points out a US federal judge described as a “shakedown” has apparently been initiated in Germany, where thousands of letters have apparently been sent out demanding the ridiculous sum of €911.80 from anyone they think has downloaded and shared the game by bittorrent.

The widely condemned practice relies on the process of tracing people by their IP address, as if that’s any useful way to recognise a person using an internet connection. Be generous enough not to password your wifi (or of course not know how to password your wifi, as is obviously the case for huge numbers of non-net-savvy users) and anyone can download via your IP address. Let alone the confusions of housemates, guests, public spaces, and those who know the extremely simple tricks of disguising your IP. The numbers of false positives make what is already a particularly ghastly method of gaining money utterly reprehensible. And it seems it’s happening here, TorrentFreak reports, with people who have never heard of the game receiving these frightening threats.

The matter of the moral or legal nature of copying a game is not discussed here. To do it is to break the understood laws of many countries, and that is that. But the simple reality is that a pirated copy is not a lost sale. It is deliberately ignoring reality to make this idiotic claim. Piracy is unauthorised duplication, where nothing is “stolen”, but rather copied without permission or payment. (Where those corporations shout, “But you wouldn’t steal a car!” a sensible, level-headed body replies, “No, we wouldn’t. What does that have to do with anything? Because to pirate a car would be to drive off in it, while leaving it behind on the owner’s driveway.”) Those who cannot afford/aren’t interested enough/wanted to try first/just wanted without paying/etc etc have not taken something away from anyone to their immediate deficit, and do not represent a lost sale in any meaningful way. It cannot be proven that were piracy impossible they would have all paid for a copy, and it is of course obviously nonsense that they all would. But this point matters: The language being used is irrelevant to the reality of whatever crime may have taken place, and this incorrect terminology allows room for such hyperbolic and unjustified responses. And therefore, to charge people for the perceived loss of sales they’ve created by uploading a torrent is factually nonsensical.

Again, the legality of the act of unauthorised duplication is not in question. (Never mind the increasingly abundant evidence piling up that demonstrates piracy encourages sales, that is not relevant here.) This is about the response to piracy that has taken place, however wrong it may be to have done it in the first place. And that response is apparently to send out thousands of threatening letters, demanding a significant sum to prevent your having to go to court and face their claims of much more serious charges.

This is a grotesque practice, and one that seemed to be waning after the disgusted reaction from the masses in 2008, which saw Atari (publishers of The Witcher) eventually backing down from their actions. To hear that CD Projekt may be pulling the same awful scheme is a tragedy. They should back out of it immediately, and apologise, to save any face they still have.

We’ve contacted CDP for comment.

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545 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    bglamb says:

    I remember them forewarning everybody about this at the time.

    They said they would release it DRM-free, but would be tracking the torrents and would take legal action against those who pirated.

    But, although some innocent people will be getting these letters, surely nobody who is innocent will pay up! The only people who are actually gonna pay that sum are those who are scared of getting caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.

    • Sarah83 says:

      They did say it before the game was released, yes.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      So why not send these letters to everyone, for every single media release? You wouldn’t need many people to feel threatened into coughing up to pay for a bulk mailing.

    • Sarah83 says:

      You do realize they got those IPs from people who torrented the game?

    • KikiJiki says:

      No, they got those IPs from ADDRESSES that torrented the game. An IP Address is not personally identifying.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      According to German law, the operator of a WLAN is responsible for securing this network via the methods available (i.e. passwords) and is held responsible for any illegal activities performed through his IP (assigned by his network operator at the given time). In theory, you could try to somehow prove that an intrusion has taken place. But in case the judge is not convinced of this idea, you’re in a bad position.

      I don’t know how this is handled in other countries though.

    • Sarah83 says:

      Okay, so I guess you know a lot of people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally? Because I actually do know a few people and they were all “guilty”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      As John points out in the article, there are plenty of ways that their list of IP addresses might be entirely unrelated to people who torrented the game.

      So why not just get a bulk mail register – the public electoral roll would be a good one in the UK – and send a letter to all of them? Probably some of them pirated it, and this way isn’t limited to catching people who torrented it without covering their tracks.

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      @Cothor Because that would be mean, immoral and largely pointless. You’d hit not even 1% of the time. The method of just targeting the IP addresses of torrenters would have a hit-rate, I imagine, in the very high 90′s.

      There aren’t “plenty of ways” the list might be “entirely unrelated”. There are *some* ways that *some* of the entries might be incorrect. But the vast majority, I suspect, will be spot on.

      And it will also serve as a reminder to people to secure their wi-fi!

    • Persus-9 says:

      “surely nobody who is innocent will pay up”

      Nonsense, the people who will pay up are the people who are intimidated by legal letters concerning alleged tech crimes. I’d guess most pirates are tech savvy enough to delete their pirated content and claim innocence. A lot of the innocent people on the other hand will be people like my mum who would freak the hell out if she got such a letter, the combination of technology with threats of legal action would scare the hell out of her. If the sum demanded was one she had then she might well just to make the whole thing go away.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      Also the fact that many BT trackers place spoof addresses in their client lists, randomly generated or somesuch to throw off this kind of measure. I recall a case where this caused another London law firm to send letters to 60-70 year old couples accusing them of downloading some dodgy porn, much to the amusement of the comments threads of The Register.

      Also, Persus-9 is bang on the money. My parents were on the receiving end of a letter from Davenport Lyons (and no, they were not guilty of anything), and my mum paid the demanded £350 without even asking me or anyone at all. They sent through a whacking great stack of ‘evidence’ (200 odd pages of total balls), complete with unintelligible legalese language which looked intimidating as all heck, and that was all that was needed to get her to pay.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      @bglamb:
      But slightly more targeted extortion is fine? Will it also act as a reminder to people not to have relatives or house-mates? Or to organisations not to provide network access?

      A 1% hit rate would be brilliant (IIRC that’s about what you’d expect for normal, non-extortion letters); bulk mail’s cheap. One in ten-thousand would be well in profit when you’re demanding best part of a grand a time. And you don’t care if they did it or not; innocents’ money is just as good as the pirates’.

    • Tams80 says:

      I don’t think bulk mail would work any better. It would probably be worse. That and in the UK at least we have rights to not be posted such post. You can have your address not be freely available for companies to buy (which said publisher would have to do), something I have done. If a letter did arrive and wasn’t relevant, it could also be classified as junk; not helping the publisher’s image and possibly having some legal ramifications. People who don’t torrent have a right to privacy and bulk mailing would intrude upon this.

    • tenseiga says:

      I am pretty torn about piracy stories. Im from India where piracy does not have any stigma whatsoever and it is the norm rather than the exception. Now that the internet has pretty much arrived in everyones house, piracy is pretty much exploding and the touts selling dvds of games with badly photocopied covers are slowly losing business because people just pirate their own stuff. Naturally in a culture like this it is hard for a sub 18 year old to understand why piracy is wrong and ask the parents for money to buy video games. Now that ive got an income of my own I pretty much buy my games and even retroactively buy games that i enjoyed in my pirating days.
      The point is, if it wasn’t for the games i pirated when I couldn’t afford games I would never have become a hardcore gamer (and later game developer) and would never have bought anything anyway. Now i actively encourage people to buy the games they like (if not all games). Not justifying piracy but there really is more to the ‘not every pirated copy is a lost sale’ theory.

    • Sarah83 says:

      @fionny: And a reasonable effort would be not to protect your wi-fi at all? ISPs in Germany only deliver DSL routers with WPA2 pre-configured, by the way.

      Again, I don’t really get what we’re talking about here. Maybe 1% of the people who receive a letter haven’t done anything wrong. Alright, that’s bad — but why aren’t we talking about the other 99% who downloaded the game and deserve to pay?

      I think it’s funny, PC gamers always complain about DRM and whatnot but when someone actually tries to bug the pirates instead of the buyers, everyone goes crazy.

    • tenseiga says:

      Probably because over the top DRM is just bad service to paying customers but carpet bombing copyright infringement notices violates the much worse tenant of innocent until proven guilty.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Were I to pirate the game, all I would have to do is tell my router to ‘reset’ my broadband connection. I’d get a new IP address from my ISP, someone else would get mine somewhere down the line and low-and-behold, I get off scot-free whilst someone else gets asked for a thousand euros.

      It’s hardly rocket science.

    • Sarah83 says:

      @ Optimaximal: Yeah, that’s not how it works.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Optimaximal: Your internet provider does have a log of IP addresses distributed at any given time, so in fact your access point can be identified pretty easily.

    • mentor07825 says:

      @tenseiga

      Sorry to ask this, but were you actively commenting on a website called Edge awhile ago?

    • tetracycloide says:

      So there’s a rather large degree of dissonance between this:
      ” Maybe 1% of the people who receive a letter haven’t done anything wrong.”
      And this:
      “but when someone actually tries to bug the pirates”
      I would think it obvious that these clearly do not align. Furthermore this is not a 99% guilty vs 1% innocent thing. This is a 0% guilty thing or have we completely forgotten about due process and the presumption of innocence? None of these people are guilty until proven so and therefore any punishment is impossible by definition. Meaning the settlements are not punishments, in the absence of guilt they can only be extortion.

    • Sarah83 says:

      “This is a 0% guilty thing or have we completely forgotten about due process and the presumption of innocence? None of these people are guilty until proven so and therefore any punishment is impossible by definition.”

      a) That’s not how (German) law works.
      b) They have prove that someone used their internet connection to download the game at a certain time. But that obviously doesn’t count because nobody protects their wi-fi these days and everyone uses open wi-fi connections instead of their own. Right?

    • tenseiga says:

      @mentor07825 Nope fraid not.

      @Sarah83
      This story is almost not about piracy, its about any company anywhere coming up to you and saying “pay us so and so amount or we will take you to court where you will pay a LOT more if you lose and will have to pay a whole lot of money and spend a whole lot of time on lawyers and in court whether you win or not. Also we can afford it cos its a company expense and gets passed on to shareholders etc but you obviously cant.” Accept this and you are opening the door to a LOT of very unpleasant things including zero trial take down notices to ISPs which are already happening. It is the equivalent of detaining people without trial. Pirating games suck but this is the equivalent of arresting everyone in the vicinity of a crime, threatening them with legal consequences and a lot of jailtime and fines and a long legal battle if they dont confess, and offering a plea bargain if they do for a smaller (but pretty significant) fine.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Sarah83

      Their method of ‘proving’ downloads is inherently flawed, as BT trackers intentionally include random IP addresses as standard. The law firms that send these letters are very much aware that they are targeting innocents: http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-knew-they-targeted-innocent-victims-101118/ and they know how unreliable their ‘evidence’ is.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Sarah83:
      “”Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.” (Luke 6, 37)
      You seem to have much “hate” in yourself. You should NOT just go around and start accusing people backed by some rather weak lead (NOT A PROOF), no matter what the laws are. There is something more important than laws, it’s ethics. And your arguments are sophisms – a few cases doesn’t make a rule and a presumption is not a conviction.
      Doing lazy legal work is unethical and…well, stupid. This is not matter of lives, it’s just money – the peace of mind (and PRIVACY, no computer/home check without a good reason) of common people is more valuable than that. Want money? Fine, send me proper summons to court and we’ll see. Not up to it? Then get the hell out of my lawn (and stop accusing me of something you have not proven).
      EDIT: I bet they could sue CDProjekt back, if they are innocent and maybe get at least twice as much for defamation. That would be fun :)

    • John P says:

      But, although some innocent people will be getting these letters, surely nobody who is innocent will pay up!

      Actually some probably will. There are many, many cases of people confessing to crimes, only to be found innocent by DNA or other evidence later. Why? Tough question. But the fact is that innocent people do sometimes confess to crimes they haven’t committed. Another reason why these kinds of letters are ethically questionable.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      John P:
      yep, maybe they just want peace of mind without being dragged into the courtroom. I think they count on that partially, therefore they use it as a scare tactics which is unacceptable both by law and ethics, as I believe.

    • tetracycloide says:

      A) German law does not provide for due process, the presumption of innocence, or both? That’s certainly news to me and I imagine it would be news to the Germans too…
      B) They have accused only. Proving such would require a trial.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “a) That’s not how (German) law works.”

      You’re not innocent until proven guilty in Germany?

    • Bunsworth says:

      couldn’t they just take it one step further and determine the MAC address of the person’s NIC card…at least then it identifies the actual machine. However, i’m not sure on the legality of that measure.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      just take a quick stroll through youtube… head over to “Hacking WEP” and be amazed at how little water these threats hold. Unless you are a certified network architect, it’s pretty difficult to make your wireless connection completely secure. Even the pros have a hard time remaining safe… (just check out some of the people absolutely schooled by Anonymous).

    • Synesthesia says:

      @ self-righteous anti-piracy white knights.

      screw you.

      Free snippets of culture/cultural industry/whatever you want to call it are good for ALL of us. More often than not, i try my best to support developers of all kinds, when i can. My currency is not particularly solid in this beautiful totally fair world.

      I wouldnt be the cinema/videogame/music freak i am now if it wasnt for piracy, and i wouldnt have got my work if it wasnt for all the training i got from 14 thousand dollars production suites i didnt pay for. I actually dont have that kind of money, believe it or not. And i really am grateful for it. (The piracy, i mean.)

      Also, here’s a little pat on the back.

      https://torrentfreak.com/french-presidents-residence-busted-for-bittorrent-piracy-111215/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29

      Merry christmas!

    • Kittim says:

      @Synesthesia
      So what your saying is that through your piracy of a $14,000 production suit, you obtained employment?
      Man, I’d be really pissed off if I was your employer, knowing I’d employed a THIEF. I’d be kicking your arse out the door so fast your feet wouldn’t touch the ground. I’d be even more pissed off if I’d been applying for the same job as you and missed out because of your THEFT.

      I don’t wish you a merry Christmas at all, I think I’d be banned if I wrote what I wish you.

    • hungrytales says:

      @Kittim: it IS NOT a THEFT and you CANNOT claim otherwise unless you at least address John’s arguments. But to do this you would be well advised to read the damn article first.

    • Ruffian says:

      Kittim, you’re the least empathetic person I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading a comment from. Bottom line is the world’s not fair, It’s not black and white, people are poor, sometimes not because of anything they’ve done, everyone can’t have everything, everyone can’t be rich. You’re basically saying that you think that this person shouldn’t have the same right to knowledge as you because they don’t have enough money? That’s a wonderful way to look at the world. I hate people like you who think that just because you CAN pay for some things that you’re better than someone who can’t. You’re not. Piracy may be bad, but pirates aren’t necessarily bad people, how about you go berate someone who’s actually hurting someone. Instead of spewing bile at someone because they got something for free from someone who wanted to give it to them.
      I mean I can understand having an opinion that doesn’t support piracy but it drives me nuts when people are trying to openly display their opinions and turds like you come along and start waving your fingers about, shouting “PIRATE” and condemning everyone. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind with your hollering.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      @Bunsworth

      Its actually much easier to spoof a MAC address then it is to spoof an IP. Spoofing a MAC is easy as pie.

    • Kittim says:

      Hello,

      I’d like to apologise for going back to this thread four days after posting, but I had other stuff to deal with. I’m interested to see the two comments I aroused.

      I will say my original post was worded very strongly, but I’m not apologising for it. I’ll try and explain myself a little better by addressing the points that were raised in response:

      @hungytails:
      “it IS NOT a THEFT and you CANNOT claim otherwise unless you at least address John’s arguments.”

      Sorry I have to disagree with you, it’s a message I see plastered on every DVD I’ve watched. I can take a verbatim copy of the ones and zeros on a DVD that when interpreted in certain way, will yield images and sounds like the original. The copy I make does not even have to be verbatim, yet I’m still watching a movie. Are you telling me all those messages on those DVDs are lies and can be safely ignored? Piracy isn’t theft after all? I read the article and I disagree. You go write some software/make a movie/produce an album; you make that your soul source of income. Now allow it to be pirated. How would you feel, honestly?

      @Ruffian:
      I’m sorry if you feel I lack empathy, you are however wrong. When I wrote that post, I put myself in the position of two people and asked myself how I’d feel. Empathy is the capacity to recognise and share feelings (paraphrased from Wikipedia). I put myself in a position of an employer and asked myself how I would feel if I found out I’d given a job to a thief (please see my reply to hungytails above). My empathic response was one of anger, I trusted that this was a truthful and reliable employee and then found that trust was misplaced.

      Your next response was that the world if not fair and not everyone was rich. I won’t go on repeating everything as what you said is only a post above this one.

      Yes, that was the point, the world is not fair. However, you misunderstood the direction I was coming from. The second person I empathised with was that of a person applying for the same job as this person got, one that did not have the same level of experience with the software due to not being able to afford it but had done the right thing by not to pirating it. How I would feel if I found out that I’d potentially lost out on that job, to someone who only got it as a direct result of their crime? Well, I’d be royally pissed off; you put yourself in that position and ask yourself if you would not at least feel something negative.

      I in no way said that I could afford the software, and I most certainly can’t. For example, I’d love a copy of Autodesk 3D Studio Max, there’s no way I can afford it so I do without. In fact my circumstances make me think twice about purchasing a £40 game. As for the right to knowledge, I hate to break it to you, but that knowledge has to get paid for somehow, the state pays for teaching you to read and write, the state gets that money from taxing its citizens. You want to learn more? Sure, but someone pays for college and university. That could be parents, you if you’ve saved up, a loan company or a company paying for a scholarship. Someone pays for those teachers.

      The poster has and is hurting someone; his crime is not victimless however much you want it to be. He’s hurt the developers by stealing their software, he’s hurt the people that were applying for that job alongside him. His theft has gained him employment, his dishonesty has been rewarded. Doesn’t that make you annoyed?

      To top it all off he comes here and crows about all of it. Yep, a real nice person who deserves so much sympathy.

    • Onaka says:

      @kittim

      So you feel that people should have the right to ownership of information? In my opinion all ownership of information through patents and copyright or otherwise is a detriment to society. Say someone pays a research firm to invent the cure for cancer. All cancer. But he’s a greedy and stupid asshole, and decides to patent his process? What if he then decides to take a licensing fee of 1 million dollars per operation and 200 million per person trained in doing that operation? Is that fair? Is that something a man should have a right to do? For the duration of his patent, he is literally killing people every day, because he didn’t feel like letting people have access to his knowledge.
      Sure, CAD software definitely isn’t on the same scale of usefulness as a universal cancer cure, but having access to training for it and not having access to training for it can mean the difference between barely surviving and a comfortable life.
      And before you say: “Well they gotta make money somewhere!”, please look at Apache, Gnome, the Linux kernel, and the countless other free (niche!) software out there. Those people are clearly not making money, they are in fact living in cardboard boxes. How are they making money? Everyone has their own way, but none of them include charging a retardedly huge ANNUAL licensing fee unless they’re actually providing a service like customer support.

    • Kittim says:

      @Onaka
      Hi there, thank you for posting Onaka. You make some interesting points there about ownership, especially since you chose a medically related one.
      I have no idea of your background so this may not be news to you, I in no way intend this to be condescending.

      I’ll answer your question first: Do I feel that people should have the right to ownership of information?

      Yes and no :)

      Like it or not the societies based around capitalism work round money, it’s the constant flow of it through the system that means that the society can exist and that individuals within it can get some measure of benefit that would not otherwise exist without it. It’s that wonderful little abstract thing called money that makes it happen. From a human perspective, it really does make the world go around.
      It also means that absolutely no information is free really. Indeed, there’s a lot of time (and money) that goes into making people think stuff is free when it’s not.
      Facebook? Owns everything you put on it and knows where you go on the internet if you stay logged in. Analyse the photos you post there with their timestamps and geotags, it can also know where you go in the real world too. You don’t pay money to them, you pay in other ways. Because to someone, who you are and what you do is worth something. The information you freely gave now has ownership and worth and it is sold. That, I don’t agree with, that’s the No part of my answer.

      Regarding your evil cancer cure researcher:
      People all over the world are dying now, this minute, because they cannot afford the drugs to prolong their lives or cure their ailment. Pharmaceutical companies charge a lot of money for drugs they have researched, it’s not until the drug has been around for quite a while that we see other manufactures offering it at a lower price. While it’s good that the price comes down eventually, it really sucks if you need it now and you cannot afford it.
      The problem becomes one of incentive, it takes a lot of money to research new treatments, pharmaceutical companies are only willing to try and find new treatments while there is a chance of a profit being made. Your cancer cure discoverer would not own the cure, the someone who paid the research firm does, and if they think that they will make a profit by charging $1,000,000 per op and $200,000,000 for each person they train, they will.

      And no, I don’t think it’s particularly fair at all, especially if you or a loved one will die because of it.

      But, and this is really important, would you rather that something existed now that costs a fortune, but a decade down the line will cost %5 of what it currently does, or would you rather that the treatment was never discovered at all? Although I’m not happy about it, I’d rather a treatment existed; at least it may become affordable to more people in the future. It may not save me, but it could save a descendant.

      Someone taking the time and effort to create something that has use, be that for entertainment or serious application should be rewarded. Otherwise where’s the incentive to bother doing anything? The world becomes a very dull place as a consequence. This is where you get a Yes from me about ownership of information. If that information has had hard work and time put behind it, then I don’t have a problem with them charging for it. If I deem that it’s not worth what they are charging, then I don’t buy it.
      But then I would not come on a forum, tell people to get screwed and brag how my theft of something landed me a job either.

      Free software, this bit warrants a post all of its own, I’ll grant you that there are people who want to create something for nothing, just for the hell of it. And I’m very glad they do, I love free as much as the next person. But, you’re citing the exceptions rather than the norm. For every Torvalds (worth $150,000,000, earns $10,000,000 a year), there’s a million others who would not have a hope of making a 1000th of that going open source. If there was money to be made for everyone by going open source, I would guarantee the many, many software houses out there would be doing it.

      Cheers, and have a happy Christmas if you celebrate it.

      Kittim.

  2. pkt-zer0 says:

    I’m wondering, have you contacted CD Projekt about this, to hear what they have to say for themselves? If not, that seems awfully irresponsible.

    • Moth Bones says:

      Read the last line of the article.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      That line was not in the version posted initially. Which makes it seem like CD Projekt were given about -2 seconds to reply before the article went up, which would still be irresponsible.

    • Deano2099 says:

      They have commented to Eurogamer:

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-15-cd-projekt-responds-to-demanding-nearly-and-8364-1000-from-alleged-pirates

      “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 per cent sure have downloaded our game illegally.”

      Which is very dodgy wording. Note that these letters are not ‘legal action’. They’re basically saying “yes, we send out tons of letters but we’ll only follow through where we’re 100% sure” while phrasing it so it sounds like “we’re only sending out letters to those we’re 100% sure about”.

      Fits my belief that they won’t take any of these cases to court as it’s impossible to be 100% sure. Unless of course, someone pays up, in which case they’ve admitted guilt and could be take to court, ironically enough.

  3. Sarah83 says:

    Why exactly are you defending piracy here?

    “Be generous enough not to password your wifi (or of course not know how to password your wifi, as is obviously the case for huge numbers of non-net-savvy users) and anyone can download via your IP address. Let alone the confusions of housemates, guests, public spaces, and those who know the extremely simple tricks of disguising your IP.”

    Whoever pays for the internet connection is responsible for how it’s used.

    • cavalier says:

      They are not defending piracy, they are pointing the the logical flaws of the argument used in order to shakedown suspected pirates for money.

    • weego says:

      That has absolutely no basis in law, otherwise if you extrapolate that ownership indicates shared culpability then any number of illegal activities would be open to insane rulings.

    • Sarah83 says:

      “The widely condemned practice is as stupid as it is unreasonable, because it relies on the practice of tracing people by their IP address, as if that’s any useful way to recognise a person using an internet connection” and “a pirated copy is not a lost sale” sound like typical excuses for piracy to me. Just didn’t expect that kind of thinking from this site considering how much piracy has hurt PC gaming and PC gamers.

    • vagabond says:

      Really?
      Even if someone connects to your network unauthorised?
      (It might be foolish not to protect it, but that isn’t tacit permission for anyone to connect and start using it)

      Oh well, If you forget to lock your car, I steal it, and run someone over while out joy riding, I’m glad you’re willing to go to jail instead of me…

    • mondomau says:

      I logged in to point out how utterly obtuse and ignorant your viewpoint is, but everyone else seems to have beaten me to it. Piracy is wrong, so is arbitrarily issuing huge fines to people you have no proof were actually responsible for the act. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    • Jables says:

      @Sarah83
      EDIT: someone got there before me. With the same analogy, no less. :)

      Cars seem to be a neat enough analogy much used in these matters:

      If a sunny day I perchance walked down your street, noticed your car was unlocked, borrowed it and used it as an accessory to my shoplifting habit, or some other crime in my vast reperotoire, but returned it to you without you being the wiser, should you be punished?

    • Shadram says:

      The car analogy doesn’t work. The better analogy is stealing a DVD from a shop. The physical product itself is negligible, since there’ll usually be dozens of copies and taking it won’t prevent anyone else buying it, but it’s still theft. You’re stealing a movie/game that you haven’t paid for and therefore, legally, have no right to own.

    • monsterZERO says:

      “Whoever pays for the internet connection is responsible for how it’s used.”

      I created an account just to tell you how completely insane, INSANE, this argument is. If this line of thought was applied to everything the world would be a hellish place to live in.

    • Sarah83 says:

      Again, so you guys personally know a few people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally?

    • monsterZERO says:

      “The car analogy doesn’t work. The better analogy is stealing a DVD from a shop. The physical product itself is negligible, since there’ll usually be dozens of copies and taking it won’t prevent anyone else buying it, but it’s still theft. You’re stealing a movie/game that you haven’t paid for and therefore, legally, have no right to own.”

      How the hell does THAT analogy work better than the car one? Who are YOU to say whether or not the physical product is negligible? Of COURSE it will prevent someone else from buying it. If a vendor has 10 DVDs and is planning on selling all of them, but you stole one, he can now only sell 9, i.e. a lost sale. It’s called math…

      If a vendor has an mp3 he is selling copies of, his inventory is INFINITE, so if you steal one no lost sale. Get it?

    • Jables says:

      What does that have to do with anything?

      I don’t have to know someone who got into trouble in order to understand that this is the wrong way to go, and that it is not a good practice.

      “So, you know someone who got hit in the face without him deserving it?” “no” “aw, so it must not have happened then!”

      IF there is a structural error in a practice, that will manifest sooner or later depending on the size of the flaw. In this case, I’m guessing sooner.

    • anteater says:

      @Vagabond:

      Actually in Germany you might be liable for the damage someone causes with your car if you forgot to lock it and thus “helped” someone driving with your car and causing damage. But that doesn’t mean you are held liable “instead”, he’d still go to jail. Same here, if they find the person who is responsible, that person still has to pay (or you could get your money back from him, if you already paid the company)

      -

      The problem in Germany is, that those are basically fancy, very expensive “cease and desist” letters and for cease and desist you don’t need any culpability and basically just setting a “cause” for the infringement. And, without your WiFi this wouldn’t have happened in this specific manner. Anyways, for those low requirements the money asked for is quite high. I think there is a german party wanting to change that, but of course lobbies are involved. Lawyers like those c&d letters.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      @Sarah83

      Why does it matter if we personally know them? There exist plenty of cases of people receiving letters like this who have done nothing wrong, including that case where a letter was sent accusing a network printer of downloading a torrent, something it clearly couldn’t do. The technology is not reliable, and this kind of extortion on the basis of it is not something that should be permitted.

    • monsterZERO says:

      “Again, so you guys personally know a few people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally?”

      YES. They exist; I’m one of them. Why do you think this is such a big deal? I live in a house with 4 roomates who each have girlfriends. That’s 8 other people in my house ALL of the time, not to mention their friends. I got a letter saying I downloaded some random porno movie (the internet and phone are in my name). I sure as hell didn’t download it, but I have to take the fall. Not fair.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      @Sarah83:
      Anecdotes either way show nothing.

      @Shadram:
      You misread the analogy; he’s saying that if he stole a car and used it in a crime before returning it, should the owner of the car be held jointly responsible for the crime?

    • vagabond says:

      “Again, so you guys personally know a few people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally?”

      You did not assert that no one who has received one of these letters was innocent of what the letter accused them of, you asserted that ownership of a wifi network was sufficient for a person to bear all responsibility for anything that was done with or via that network, regardless of their knowledge or consent of those activities.

      The former is merely highly unlikely, the latter is a ludicrous proposition, which is why everyone has jumped down your throat in the fasion you are observing.

    • Sarah83 says:

      @ vagabond: Uh, I don’t say it, the law says it. It don’t really get the car analogy but let’s say you own a gun. If you a gun, you have to secure it properly and put it in a safe (at least in Germany). Now, if you fail to do so, somebody steels that gun and kills someone with it, you are partly responsible. That’s obviously a drastic analogy but so is the one with the car.

      And I’m just surprised that people are always so keen on defending pirates without personally knowing anyone who has ever received such a letter without doing anything wrong. If it was a common thing, I would agree, but it isn’t.

      And considering how much piracy sucks for us, I would have thought more people would be dismissive of pirates but okay…

    • Artojas says:

      Car analogy works just perfectly.

      If I left unlocked car and you stole it, I wont get my insurance.
      If I left unlocked car and you stole it and did a crime with it, I’m not going to jail, but I will have to prove my innocence, since law will be coming after me. If i didn’t report the theft, is car is already returned, if there’s no evidence of you driving it and if I don’t have an alibi, I’m definately getting in a lot of trouble instead of you. That’s pretty much the same as with unprotected wi-fi. If they come after you, all you have to do is prove them wrong. They should apologize and leave. I believe there’s lot’s of ways to defend yourself politely even if you actually torented the game. And above all, if your wifi is so public to everyone, be happy that it wasn’t used by some al quaida dudes. You would be speaking about absolutely diferent manner of a shakedowns then :).

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      @Artojas

      No. You don’t have to prove your innocence. The police have to prove your guilt. That’s what “innocent until proven guilty” means.

      @Sarah83

      “If it was a common thing, I would agree, but it isn’t.”
      Do you have evidence that it’s not a common thing? And why should that matter anyway? An injustice is an injustice.

    • Sarah83 says:

      @ Aninhumer: What if there’s enough evidence that you’re guilty?

    • PodX140 says:

      Please, enlighten why “piracy sucks for us”

      Is it the ridiculous DRM that publishers put on claiming to prevent piracy, in reality planning to stop used game sales?

      Is it the people always using it as a whipping post/scapegoat? “Oh, we didn’t want to port this to PC because we’re worried it’ll be pirated too much.” AKA. “We won’t get more money back than we put in.”

      Finally, you’re gun/car analogy. You’ve made your point on securing it, but what about the actual action? Killing someone and using a digital file for entertainment are clearly the same thing you know.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      @Sarah83

      If there’s enough evidence to convict you when you didn’t do it, you have a broken legal system. I’m not going to pretend these things never happen, but that doesn’t mean they’re not wrong.

    • vagabond says:

      IANAGermanL but based on what everyone else is saying, the burden of proof is on the alleged pirate to prove his wifi was misused, which is not the same as “you own the wifi so whatever gets done with it is your fault”. The gun analogy fails because (I assume) there is legislation that dictates how a person must store a gun that you would be in violation of. (I am of course also assuming there is no legislation in Germany that dictates you must lock your car at all times).

      Anyway, if what anteater says is true and actually plausible, rather than just a “well, the law could be interpret to mean this, but no one in their right mind would” then I’m left wondering what the hell is wrong with the German legal system.

    • RogB says:

      “Again, so you guys personally know a few people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally?”

      yes, me.

      I had a lot of fun sending sarky letters to ACS Law a year or 2 back. However anyone not aware of their shady practices and baseless threats would have had a horrible amount of stress caused by them.

    • Tams80 says:

      *Sigh*

      If we must quote out of context.

      “The matter of the moral or legal nature of copying a game is not discussed here. To do it is to break the understood laws of many countries, and that is that.”

      “Again, the legality of the act of unauthorised duplication is not in question.”

    • Milky1985 says:

      @ Sarah83

      Did you actually read the article at all , i quote a line

      “The matter of the moral or legal nature of copying a game is not discussed here. To do it is to break the understood laws of many countries, and that is that. ”

      There you go, he is NOT defending priacy, in fact he is activly saying its wrong and against the law.

      He is saying that sending out threating letters to everyone on a IP list (an IP list that is seeded with random numbers, with people hiding and faking there IP and some legit ips i should add) is a bad practice due to the false positives.

      Hes also saying its based on threatening behaviour to get cash back based on a hit rate (in ye old times i think his is known as the protection racket, give us money or something bad happens to you)

      I would suggest reading what has been written before going all daily mail

    • Nethlem says:

      Why should i need to deliver evidence to you of the current situation in germany?

      I’m german, i’ve been living here for my whole live, i’m tech savvy and a person who likes to know his rights.

      And i can tell you: This practice is borderline criminal, the evidence they submit is never clear. Yes they may have an IP adress you might have used at some point (most ISP’s in germany use dynamic IP adresses) and they may have seen that IP adress on a torrent network.

      But they NEVER ever have complete evidence of you downloading a complete game, simply because they are too lazy for it. They download only a couple of kb of a file from a source and instantly declare “that source pirated the game!”

      Problem with this logic: They don’t know if that specific source has the complete file until they download it completly from one single source, but they can’t do that because most people torrenting don’t share that much.

      So instead they download 20 kb of a file called “The witcher 2″ from some guy and declare him a pirate without actually checking that files content or if the guy actually has a complete file.

      I hope you allready see the problem i’m talking about… if not let me tell you in even more detail how insane the “Abmahnindustrie” has gotten over here.

      You can get such a letter for simply missing an “Impressum” side on your webpage, some random lawyer can send you a letter and demand 500€ or sue you infront of court. Simply because you didn’t put your full adress on yourwebpage (or you didn’t do it in the right way).

      You can get such a letter for simply posting a picture of food on your webpage, because before you know it you will have an letter in your mail telling you “To remove that picture and pay a 500€ fine or go to court about 100.000€ worth of damages” because somebody claims he has the copyright on your picutre of an piece of meat.

      So please excuse me if i’m a little bit offended by you asking for “evidence” about such kind of behavior, i can deliver you tons of evidence if you are willing enough to read german. Until then: You have to depend on what the “locals” tell you as they probably know better what’s going on then you do.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      You are all confusing criminal and civil law and as such are trying to compare oranges and apples.

      To “pirate” by which I mean breach copyright, you are committing a civil offence.

      To steal a car, commit a crime, misusing a gun – including not locking it up properly, you are committing a criminal offence.

      You cannot compare the two – in criminal law, yes you are innocent until proven guilty by the state.

      In civil law there is no such burden of proof. You do however have the right to a fair trial on the issue.

      If you take them to court for issuing you with a letter wrongly, the burden of proof is on you, as you are taking them to court!

      If you ignore the letter, and they take you to court – the burden of proof is on them.

      See how simple it is!

      We all know this is a scare tactic and we all know that hardened pirates with good tech knowledge may be angered by it but won’t stop. However, teens and younger whose parents will get involved, those of nervous disposition and those who are not tech savvy enough to know better will be discouraged.

      And if a few innocent people get nasty letters, so what. They will achieve an impact on piracy better than any DRM managed and the only collateral damage is some peoples feelings.

      Also if you pay for an internet connection in a shared house or family environment, damn well take your responsibilities seriously.

    • fionny says:

      You are deluded Sarah83 deluded. The car analogy is a perfect one, you cannot be held responsible as long as you make a reasonable effort…. besides you could blame your isp for not securing your connection on install…

      IP addresses are to easily faked, you could use any number of VPN services to spoof your location / ip, you could also you a mobile connection on a disposable phone. There are so many methods around.

    • ynamite says:

      Yep, you’re simply wrong on almost all accounts.

      Fact:
      - IP address cannot identify a person
      - Many innocent people have gotten c&d letters even though they were innocent
      - There is no way to prove that pirating a game results in a lost sale
      - There is no conclusive evidence that piracy has ruined the PC industry, see previous point
      - DRM hurts games more than it helps
      - The article is not defending piracy
      - The article is condemning the practice of sending c&d letters to random people
      - Piracy is illegal in most countries and as such shouldn’t be done if you live in that country.
      - In Switzerland, where I come from, pirating (copying of software for personal use) is NOT illegal. Distributing a copy of a game, on the other hand, IS illegal. Therefore, I can download, but not upload. (Un)fortunately, when it comes to torrents (where one uploads and downloads at the same time), there’s a bit of a gray area concerning the law.
      Source:
      Link to article (on Ars Technica, English)
      - Someone I know has gotten a c&d letter from the UK, even though downloading is legal here (go figure)

    • Sarah83 says:

      “- IP address cannot identify a person”

      Didn’t say they can.

      “- Many innocent people have gotten c&d letters even though they were innocent”

      Source? How many people compared to how many letters sent?

      “- There is no way to prove that pirating a game results in a lost sale”

      Didn’t say that either. Anecdotal evidence: I know a lot of people who never buy games and pirate everything. I also know a lot of people who buy some games but pirate out of convenience and because they think they don’t have anything to fear — and if others don’t pay, why should they?

      “- There is no conclusive evidence that piracy has ruined the PC industry, see previous point”

      Give me a better reason. DS and PSP development also crashed due to piracy.

      “- DRM hurts games more than it helps”

      Didn’t say otherwise.

      “- The article is not defending piracy”

      It makes some of the same excuses that pirates make.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Ynamite – I assume this is aimed at me, so I’ll respond as if it was.

      Firstly, your “Facts”

      Facts do not mix well with subjective words like “Many” or subjective statements like “DRM hurts games more than it helps”

      If you are going to present a list of facts, please make sure they are factually correct.

      Secondly. In no country anywhere in the world is it illegal to download or distribute pirated software. Sadly you are getting confused with the criminal law which prevents you selling faked goods, including copied DVD’s as you are deciving your customer. No-one who torrents can be reasonably assumed to believe they are not pirating the game, thus the law does not protect them.

      It is against civil law and there is just as much of a case against someone if they only download or download and distribute or only distribute.

      It is wrong to describe something which breaches civil law as illegal – that term, though it has been bastardised by common usage, refers exclusively to criminal activities – thus to break into some-one’s house at night is illegal. To trespass is not illegal.

      These letters in themselves are a demand that you cease using copied software and a demand for compensation. I can almost guarantee due to the technical facts we have all mentioned that they will not take anyone to court. However they are not wrong to send them out – they are not being sent out randomly, they are being sent out to IP addresses which they have traced torrent activity too. If you get a letter wrongly, and you can convince a judge that reading these letters has caused you damage – i.e. distress or whatever – you can sue them for it. Do it, if you feel so passionately about it – but remember you will be required to prove that you didn’t actually download the game, nor did anyone else you allow on your account.

    • Nova says:

      While I wouldn’t say John defends piracy it sounds a bit to one-sided for me. I for one am loosing patience with the pirates that damage PC gaming. Even if you’d like to argue that this damage is not proven it is evident in the way developers and publishers treat the platform.

      There have been enough figures (even from indies) that show that piracy is a big problem. Not that one needs these figures. Just visit a torrent site and look at the numbers there. Or at the bunch of people that jump to the rescue here.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @Sarah83: for someone asking everybody else to back their claims, you sure write a lot of things like they were written by god himself.

      Publishers hurt us a lot more than pirates do. And pirates do not hurt publishers. Publishers hurt themselves. Many many games have shown that all you need is a great game and a fair price to make loads of money.

      Pirates who pirate everything will keep pirating, whatever publishers do. Customers that are harassed will stop buying and start pirating. And the day the fucking idiots that make the decisions REALLY learn that, we will all be happy. They should completely forget about pirates.

      And to back this up with data: I don’t pirate, I buy my games in Steam, and I gift games in sales. I was going to gift The Witcher 2 to three friends this christmas. Now I won’t. CD Projekt is again dirty after this, and I won’t be giving them any more of my money until they recant and apologize.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Pointing out that the accused have rights is in no way the same thing as justifying the tort they are accused of committing. What an obviously bullshit conflation. If you’re going to open with being so blatantly intellectually dishonest why should anyone even give you the time of day?

    • Sarah83 says:

      “Many many games have shown that all you need is a great game and a fair price to make loads of money.”

      So, basically you’re blaming high prices for piracy or what’s your point? If so, how do you explain 99 Cent iPhone games being pirated?

      “Pirates who pirate everything will keep pirating, whatever publishers do.”

      What about the people who pirate only some games because it’s – like I said – convenient? What about the people who pirate games because everyone else does it?

      “Customers that are harassed will stop buying and start pirating.”

      Regular customers don’t get those letters.

      “They should completely forget about pirates.”

      Yeah, that sounds like a great idea…

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @tetracycloide – CD Projekt have not accused anyone of committing a crime. That was my entire point which has drifted neatly over your head. If they had accused anyone of committing a crime, my tone would be very different.

      Also you clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word conflation.

      Being accused of things is a fact of life and has been since before man was classified as a homo sapien.

      Yes, I agree they have been heavy handed, but I understand why. If this stops a few people starting down or continuing down the path of piracy, then it has done more good than all DRM efforts combined, and for that I support it.

    • ynamite says:

      @Sarah83

      1. I didn’t say you did, though you did argue along those lines at some point
      2. Haha, the source card? Really? Just a second … Sarah83: ” Just didn’t expect that kind of thinking from this site considering how much piracy has hurt PC gaming and PC gamers.” Source?
      3. Didn’t say you did, but why be against piracy if not for this reason (because it apparently hurts the industry). Also, I don’t get what you knowing some people who do this or that has anything to do with this.
      4. The PC industry is ruined? Oh. Never noticed that. Besides, you’re the one claiming piracy is the reason, I’m just pointing out that there isn’t conclusive evidence that that is the case. Fact. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a debate about it.
      5. Also, just pointing it out, never said you did ;) no reason to be so defensive about it.
      6. The article is not making excuses, it’s just pointing out that the logic of how CD Project handles this, is flawed. Whether or not pirates use the same flawed logic as an excuse doesn’t matter. Also, if the logic wasn’t flawed, pirates couldn’t use it as an excuse.

      @Sheng-ji

      It was aimed at the OP.

      But … you can’t be serious … Just because you seem to have a better understanding of law in YOUR country, doesn’t mean you have to be all high and mighty. When I say “Many people have received letters” you want me to actually say, 1391 people have received those letters worldwide? Please. As if that makes a difference in any way.

      “.. or subjective statements like “DRM hurts games more than it helps””

      Oh, but it isn’t subjective. The fact that every game with any kind of DRM has been pirated within a very short time span after the game’s release, factually shows that DRM is ineffective. If it was unpirateable (if such a term exists) it would be effective, it’s not. The fact that even a small percentage of users have problems with the DRM restricitions in place, has a negative effect on the game (however small it is). Thus, my point stands.

      And secondly, I don’t know where you live or where you studied law, but you should know that what applies in county A doesn’t necessarily apply in country B and on whatever level of expertise you may think you are, I highly doubt you have a definite understand of the law system in EVERY country.

      Thirdly, you can talk legal mumbo jumbo all you want, what counts for me as a layman, is that when and if I pirate, I could face charges (be they criminal or civil, what difference does it make in the end?) depending on which country I live in.

      Did you even read the link I posted? In Switzerland, where I live, you don’t under any circumstance have anything to worry about when you download only. Unless you distribute it to other people. ‘Tis a fact, it’s like that and that just the way it is. Read the article.

      “To trespass is not illegal.”

      That depends, doesn’t it. Firstly on what kind of property it is and secondly on which country you live in, like, heavily. At least where I come from.

      “However they are not wrong to send them out”

      I never said they were wrong to send them out, though in my own opinion they are and that practice is shady when it’s not 100% infallible because some people may be frightened and end up paying for something they didn’t actually have to. Great!

      “they are not being sent out randomly, they are being sent out to IP addresses which they have traced torrent activity too”

      Oh but they are. Otherwise everybody getting a letter was actually guilty and everybody who was guilty would be getting a letter, which isn’t the case.

      ” If you get a letter wrongly, and you can convince a judge that reading these letters has caused you damage”

      Again, in my opinion, that’s just wrong. If they believe you did something wrong, they need to prove with hard evidence that you did. I’m glad I live in Switzerland where, by law (whether you believe it or not), I will never be in that position, at least not regarding the downloading of software.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Sheng-ji

      This practice is absolutely not OK and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority agrees: http://torrentfreak.com/bullying-anti-piracy-lawyers-fined-and-suspended-110802/

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      This aint about piracy. It is about EXTORTION. The law firm CD Project has used is threatening to pay up, or drag them to court, using evidence which may be fake for all we know. They are actually not interested in dragging anyone to court (that would be too expensive), but rather, using rather shaky evidence to scare people into paying (if they don’t just make up the evidence along the way).

      Nobody should agree with this practice, whatever his stance on piracy might be.

    • Jabberwocky says:

      I thank Sheng-ji for his posts. It’s refreshing to read an opinion on the subject of piracy which isn’t misinformed pseudo-legalize, bad analogies, or pure “from the gut” emotion, which most people seem to resort to when talking about piracy.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @ynamite

      1: Regarding subjective statements and facts: Let’s focus on this one statement you contend is not subjective “DRM hurts games more than it helps”

      This can only be considered a fact if you can provide conclusive evidence supporting it – note conclusive.
      But first you have to define what you mean by “hurting a game” and “helping a game”

      2. Regarding the law. I know UK an EU law very well. Regarding Switzerland, I’ve checked and there seem to be no international concerns about Switzerlands law, therefore I am quite confident in saying the following applies to all first world countries, including switzerland, most second world countries and even some third world countries:

      There is a massive difference between criminal and civil law – criminal law is when you breach the law of the land – the laws which are supposed to protect all citizens from harm. Criminal actions include murder, burglary, theft, assault and the like. You are prosecuted in a criminal court and can go to prison for your actions.

      Civil law is about the disputes between two parties – for example between an individual and a company.

      Trespass, for example is against civil law because you being on some-ones land is a dispute between you and that person. Here in the UK it is very common to find signs which read “Trespassers will be prosecuted” which is a bit of a joke because you can only be prosecuted of a criminal offence.

      Note that if you are found on military or government land, you are committing a criminal offence but it would not be described as trespass.

      I don’t believe you for a second that Switzerland excludes itself from copyright. Otherwise, I’ll move out there, set up a car factory, producing cars called Ferrari’s. The reality is that Switzerland has just as robust a copyright law as the rest of the world. Of course it’s not a criminal offence to download a game or make Ferrari’s – you won’t end up in jail for it. However it is a civil offence. That gives the person or entity wronged the right to challenge you in court. That is a fundamental right of every law system in the world.

      They have gathered the evidence they feel is required and sent out the letters. They are, by all reports quite heavy handed. They are not being sent out randomly, they are being sent out to the IP addresses which they traced. That’s not at random – not even close, that’s as close to accurate as they can be reasonably expected to do. I accept there may be a language issue at work here, but in english, at random would mean they were literally rolling dice to generate a list of addresses.

      So we’ve established that they have the right to challenge pirates in court in most countries in the world and their lawyers have approved the method of generating addresses. They send out heavy handed letters to those addresses.

      If someone receives one of these letters who didn’t pirate the game and they pay, I’m sorry, they should probably be allocated a carer as I don’t believe they are of fit mind to look after themselves.

      Sure in your opinion, it may be wrong to send out these letters, but fortunately, the law is not made based on your opinion. Fortunately, as I pointed out earlier, the burden of proof in any civil law system is on the person who applies to the courts, not the person they are applying against. Just re-read what I wrote earlier, I don’t want to repeat myself.

      So yes, if you downloaded the game, even in switzerland, I believe you can be sued for it. I doubt it will come close to 1000 euro’s + legal fees – I suspect it will likely be closer to 100 + legal fees.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Yes Sheng-ji, I said crime when I should have said tort since this is obviously a civil case. Thanks for pointing out that mistake as the confusion of the two is obviously bad for discourse. You clearly misinterpreted my post as being directed at you, however, when it was actually directed at the first post in the thread from Sarah83 which absolutely did conflate defending the rights of the accused (accused of a tort in this case) with defending the tort of which they were accused. It’s clear that conflation is the appropriate word to use for this since Sarah83 was, quite literally and obviously, attempting to confuse the two concepts, defending the accused and their rights and defending the tort itself, in their first post.

      I think you are unclear on the definition of ‘illegal’ since the law codifies not just criminal statues but civil as well. It is certainly illegal to download or distribute infringing software in many countries and in the US if the distribution is large-scale enough it can actually graduate into being a crime. I think you may be confusing civil law with common law or laws that exist in practice but are not codified by the law.

      Copyright does not cover cars either.

    • ynamite says:

      edit: @Sheng-ji ^^ looks like your knowledge of international law is mediocre at best if the above is any evidence.

      @Sheng-ji

      1. Well, I simply disagree with you on that. I myself have had issues with DRM and therefore I have conclusive evidence that it hurts more than it helps. I guess we could no go on about what “hurts more than it helps” actually means. But hey, if you want to take that route, feel free to do so.

      2. I hate to break it to you, but you’re simply wrong.

      “therefore I am quite confident

      Good for you, but doesn’t change the fact. You do realise that EU!=Switzerland and, had you read the article, you’d know that Switzerland only reviewed it’s stance on digital copyright etc. because there was an uproar from the EU. This happened recently and was all over the newspapers (here). There has yet to be a case in the entirety of Switzerland where anybody was sued over DRM infringement.

      Yes, yes there is a huge difference between a criminal and civil offense. Again, what matters to me is in what effect a charge of any kind would have on me. Everything else is just semantics.

      Note that if you are found on military or government land, you are committing a criminal offence but it would not be described as trespass.

      There we go with the semantics again. Do I care what the law, the Government or anybody else deems as trespassing? Seriously man, get real.

      I don’t believe you for a second that Switzerland excludes itself from copyright.

      And I said this where exactly … ? Do you actually read what I write or is this a one sided thing?

      They are not being sent out randomly, they are being sent out to the IP addresses which they traced. That’s not at random – not even close, that’s as close to accurate as they can be reasonably expected to do. I accept there may be a language issue at work here, but in english, at random would mean they were literally rolling dice to generate a list of addresses.

      Alright, random may not be the correct term, but as soon as someone receives a letter who hasn’t done ANYTHING, it does seem a little arbitrary, don’t you think?

      So we’ve established that they have the right to challenge pirates in court in most countries …

      Yes, if they can prove that they are pirates, an IP address isn’t proof.

      If someone receives one of these letters who didn’t pirate the game and they pay, I’m sorry, they should probably be allocated a carer

      Wow. Just wow.

      Sure in your opinion, it may be wrong to send out these letters, but fortunately, the law is not made based on your opinion.

      Where did I say the law was based on my opinions? and as I said before, I initially never mentioned my opinion.

      Fortunately, as I pointed out earlier, the burden of proof in any civil law system is on the person who applies to the courts, not the person they are applying against. Just re-read what I wrote earlier, I don’t want to repeat myself.

      But then, why should they be allowed to send out those letters claiming the opposite. It’s a scam because a lot of people will fall for it. You don’t need to repeat yourself, but your post has been nothing but repeated statements of what you said earlier anyway.

      So yes, if you downloaded the game, even in switzerland, I believe you can be sued for it. I doubt it will come close to 1000 euro’s + legal fees – I suspect it will likely be closer to 100 + legal fees.

      Wrong. Period.

      And I’m done here. You want me to take your word for what you think you know, but you are unwilling to even look at the information I’m giving you. As it stands, and this has been discussed numerous times in Swiss media exactly BECAUSE the EU and countries such as America aren’t too happy with it, in Switzerland I can download whatever the hell I want, as long as I don’t make it available to others (especially for a profit) and fuck all can happen to me.

      Believe what you want ey. I’m done.

    • IAmUnaware says:

      Sarah83: “And I’m just surprised that people are always so keen on defending pirates without personally knowing anyone who has ever received such a letter without doing anything wrong. If it was a common thing, I would agree, but it isn’t.”

      You heard it here first, guys. It’s okay to be upset about immoral business practices, blind extortion, and general greed and evil, but ONLY if it’s happening to someone you know personally. Strangers? Fuck those guys, they’re not even really human!

    • datom says:

      @ynamite

      But you’ve already addressed the problem with regards to Swiss law: torrenting is (in most cases) uploading. I presume that’s one fo the reasons that the letters were addressed to torrenters, because on that site users are actively sharing the material, not simply recieving it.

      That’s presumably why torrenters are the target rather than other filesharing sties etc. – because they are culpable of distribution.

    • ynamite says:

      @datom

      Nope, torrenters are safe also, because it’s still a legally gray area you have nothing to worry about. Unless you are found to be providing the complete game (or media) to others (and especially if you’re charging money for it), then you are most likely in trouble.

    • datom says:

      Okay, that makes sense. My presumption was that the reason it was torrenters they were after was because they are by nature distributing software. Maybe that still goes for the rest of Europe though.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @ynamite

      Sorry my words made you so angry. I did realise that switzerland does not equal the EU, hence why I talked about it being a first world country.

      Semantics in this instance is very important. Civil law by its very definition is about disagreements between entities, there are no absolutes. So when I read your link I immediately dismissed it as nonsense because it makes exactly no sense. How can a country make a flat ruling that a certain type of civil disagreement will always, no matter what the circumstances be resolved on one parties side. It can’t legally and unless your current government is flouting the many many years of law it has followed, then all it has done is given judges a guideline to follow. This can and I’m sure will be tested over the next decade or two, lets hope you don’t hold quite so much anger on the issue then as now. If your government has decided to bring into effect a prior decision on such cases – congratulations – you are the new China of the world, flouting international law for your own interests.

      Oh, you do realise that the media often print things which are factually incorrect right – they print stuff that sells – generating emotion sells – they’ve done a good job with you! Our media is just as bad for it too, don’t worry, I’m not being xenophobic here.

      Let me educate you on the issue of subjective statements. Here are some examples:

      One plus one equals two – this is a factual statement. it is correct.
      One plus one equals three. – this is a factual statement. It is incorrect.
      E-books are damaging the sales of printed books. This is a subjective statement. There are two sides and each can provide evidence and arguments to support their theories. It is a matter of opinion if it is correct or not.

      So with the outliers cleared up, lets tackle the meat of your post.

      You stated “Do I care what the law, the Government or anybody else deems as trespassing? Seriously man, get real.”

      I was merely trying to help you understand the difference between civil and criminal law. Given your obvious confusion and given how important that difference is to this debate, I thought a clear example would help you.

      “There has yet to be a case in the entirety of Switzerland where anybody was sued over DRM infringement.” A question from me here: Do you mean no-one has attempted to sue anyone else over DRM infringement or do you mean all cases have failed? How does this affect the WIPO ADR centre, based I believe in Geneva – surely they will have to move to a different country if what you are suggesting is accurate.

      “And I said this where exactly … ?”

      How about here:
      I can download whatever the hell I want, as long as I don’t make it available to others (especially for a profit) and fuck all can happen to me.

      Or here:

      In Switzerland, where I live, you don’t under any circumstance have anything to worry about when you download only.

      Or here:

      I’m glad I live in Switzerland where, by law (whether you believe it or not), I will never be in that position, at least not regarding the downloading of software.

      Or here:

      In Switzerland, where I come from, pirating (copying of software for personal use) is NOT illegal.

      Or from your article:

      unauthorized file sharing is not a significant problem, and that existing Swiss law—which allows for downloading copyrighted content for personal use—is sufficient to protect copyright holders.

      “Yes, if they can prove that they are pirates, an IP address isn’t proof.”

      You do understand that they don’t need proof to send you a letter accusing you of it right? I mean you do get that these letters are not court summons and even then it’s up to the courts to establish sufficient proof.

      “as soon as someone receives a letter who hasn’t done ANYTHING, it does seem a little arbitrary, don’t you think?”

      Not if their IP address was implemented, its sufficient evidence. Not proof, evidence – do you get the difference between proof and evidence?

      “Yes, if they can prove that they are pirates”

      Thats what the court process is there to do – going to court is the end of the dispute process, not the punishment.

      “Wow. Just wow.”

      So you are saying that someone who pays 1000 euros in compensation for something they didn’t do doesn’t need some level of care. Could I point out that I am disabled and have a carer. It is not a point of stigma for me. I’m in a wheel chair and there are certain things I can’t do as well as others, a carer enables me to live an equal life. Should someone have a mental issue which makes them pay close to a months wage for many for something they didn’t do, they need help and urgently.

      “Where did I say the law was based on my opinions? and as I said before, I initially never mentioned my opinion.”

      You implied that because you thought it was wrong, they shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

      But the real rub is that you talk about damage to gaming. Yet that article you quoted even directly points out that money being saved on pirated games is being spent in the cinema, concerts and merchandising and other forms of entertainment. How does that not hurt gaming?

      @tetracycloide

      “Copyright does not cover cars either”

      Really – you think that if I launched a car from a company called “Ferrari” which used Audi’s logo and the model was called the Focus, the body of the car was a BMW replica and the engine was a copy of a renault engine, the electronics were identical to porshe’s I wouldn’t get into some copyright stickiness…

    • Milky1985 says:

      I’m begining to wonder if theres some agenda or corperate connections that this sarah should be disclosing at the moment (this is my opinion and I have a right to express it, reason i have added this will be obvious at the end of the comment :P )

      Either that or this is the greatest ever troll of the RPS community I have ever seen (again, my opinion), because while lots of people here would agree that piracy is bad (although its true effects are still up for debate, simply because no-one has produced any concreate evidence one way or the other), this is not the point in question. The point in question here is the sending out of letters to ALLEGED pirates, demanding money with flimsy evidence (as IP are flimsy evidence as has been mentioned about 100 times, quite simple to spoof and random ips are seeded anyway).

      Oh and as I have seen this in some other places in this comments thread, you cannot say “this person has downloaded the game” you have to say “this person is illeged to have downloaded the game”, if your going to go on about laws and lawyers and money demands how about libel and slander laws? If it can be proved that person X didn’t do this they may have a good countercase (not a lawyer as you can probably tell :P )

      [EDIT] Also on a technical level its perfectly possible to torrent without ever uploading, its frowned upon and results in lower download speeds but it can happen, so again the simple fact that they are part of the torrent does NOT 100% mean they were uploading.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Milky – As one of the only other people here taking a strong anti-piracy and pro-these letters stance on here, I’m sure the same accusation will be levelled at me, so I’ll happily declare my interest, as I have basically written it elsewhere in these comments anway.

      My best friend was once described by Edge magazine as “The most talented character artist in the industry” His studio shut down after a game failed to make a profit and there was not enough cash left in the coffers to allow them to remain open long enough to secure a deal with a publisher. That game, at the time was one of the most pirated games ever. It is still mentioned as a game that should by rights have sold better than it did and people still remember it fondly.

      My friend had a decision to make – uproot his family, leave his friends and find another job in gaming or find a job in a different industry. He now works in advertising after nearly losing his house.

      Now I’m not going to blame piracy here, there is no proof that had his game not been pirated it would have sold any better. But while he was fighting off the bank and scrabbling for whatever freelance work would put food on his table. While he cried himself to sleep at night wondering how he could buy a school uniform for his children and the mortgage company was hauling him through the fires there were people enjoying his game, playing it without having paid for it. That is disgusting.

      Also disgusting is the antics of Ubisoft et al. DRM does not work, it just ruins the game for legitimate customers.

      So I support someone making a stance against piracy which I believe has a chance of actually making a difference albeit a very small difference.

    • ynamite says:

      @Sheng-ji

      I’m not angry at all, just a little tired of you misunderstanding/disregarding almost everything I wrote (on purpose?) and putting words in my mouth.

      You seem to have a superiority complex, can’t explain it otherwise.

    • HothMonster says:

      “@tetracycloide

      “Copyright does not cover cars either”

      Really – you think that if I launched a car from a company called “Ferrari”[trademark] which used Audi’s logo[trademark] and the model was called the Focus[trademark], the body of the car was a BMW replica[patent] and the engine was a copy of a renault engine[patent], the electronics were identical to porshe’s[patent] I wouldn’t get into some copyright stickiness…”

      No, you would get into trademark and patent stickiness but not copyright.

      Copyright covers creative works (books, music games ect) trademark is for branding logos, model names that kind of stuff and patents cover inventions, designs(electrical or mechanical) ect.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Perhaps you have an inferiority complex? I’m merely confident in my opinion and have a good working knowledge of the facts.

      Some questions to ask yourself: Do you have a great need for people to like and admire you? Do you have a tendancy to be critical of yourself? Do you have a great deal of unused capacity which you haven’t used to your advantage? Are you disciplined and controlled on the outside, yet worrisome and insecure inside? At times do you have serious doubts as to whether you have done the right thing or made the right decision?

      I don’t want answers to these, they are just indicators of an inferiority complex.

      But as you clearly no longer wish to debate with me, for whatever reason, I’ll only continue to debate you if you literally ask me a question. If you don’t do an @Sheng-ji with a question inside that section of your posts, I will no longer respond to you –

      I don’t want me being here to deter you from enjoying the website so post away free from me :)

      @ Hothmonster – in the context of my original example, I agree I was being a bit silly but I was being silly to make a valid point, that If Switzerland really has made prejudgements on some copyright cases, people are going to start abusing it.

    • HothMonster says:

      @sheng-ji

      I too find it hard to believe that there is no civil recourse for people downloading copyrighted materials. I imagine there is some confusion over civil/criminal. It is not criminal to download a game if you do not upload it in a lot of countries, infringement without profit and without distribution is not a criminal offense. That does not mean the company you are infringing can not bring civil claims against you. Frankly though I don’t care enough about Swedish law to fact check or argue about it. And again frankly I have a hard time believing ynamite after reading that he thinks you are in the clear if something is legally grey, grey just means there are not strict precedents either way it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t try, but again I don’t care enough to argue to read his links.

    • hungrytales says:

      @Shadram
      Very funny.

      No, it isn’t negligible. And it certainly isn’t because *there’ll usually be dozens of copies and taking it won’t prevent anyone else buying it*.

      If that would render a physical component negligible than I’ll have myself a ferrari. There are for sure more than dozens of copies of those. And then they could only sue me for copyright infringement. Won’t that be rosy?

    • Milky1985 says:

      @sheng-ji

      Nah i wasn’t going to say anything why you are arguing your side of thigns, but ty for being nice enough to give background! Even if i don’t agree with some of the things you say, you are at least arguing the points with attempts to bring in evidence and have given reasons for said things. Everyone has opinions its how things will (and should) be.

      That and I have seen your name before in the comments in other threads meaning its not a brand new account :p

  4. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Ah, the good old german practice of lawyers writing “Abmahnungen”. As old as the www itself, really, and if not encouraged then at least facilitated by german legislature.

    (Incidentally, most german courts are of the opinion that the burden of proof is on the owner of the unsecured wifi that it wasn’t him doing the deed)

    • Ovno says:

      Good to see innocent until proven guilty is still going strong…

    • mendel says:

      “Innocent until guilty” applies to criminal law; seeking damages for unauthorized publication of a game (offering it via bittorrent as you download) is a matter of civil law.

      The plaintiff establishes some prima facie evidence that the owner of the IP address in question has downloaded the game (i.e. track their IP address to their household), and then it’s the defendant’s turn. It doesn’t come down to “beyond a reasonable doubt”, it comes down to who has a better case: if the plaintiff says, “our logs show that IP x.x.x.x offered our game via bittorent on time/date, and ISP told us that IP was assigned to defendant at the time”, and all the defendant just says “somebody else might have done it, but I don’t have any evidence of that happening”, who would you say has the better case?

      Personally, I wonder whether damages (incl. attorney fees) of €911.80 for a €40 game on a supposed upload/download ratio of 1:1 on bittorrent are justified or a case of highwaymanship.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yeah, in Germany, if you have an unsecured WiFi Internet connection, you can be held responsible for the crimes that are committed with it’s help (in addition to the actual criminal, of course).

    • MiniMatt says:

      Curious on this German angle and how it passes European legal standards, unless, as Mendel points out it is only relevant to civil law rather than criminal – otherwise every coffeeshop in the land would suddenly be charged with all manner of criminal charges for illicit conversations, conspiracies and VPN tunnels run through their free wireless.

      A burden of proof requiring the owner to show on balance of probabilities that the actions occuring on their wireless is possibly just about workable but given the ability to spoof addresses, requiring an end owner to prove that “their” IP address was spoofed / inserted in a tracker on the other side of the world etc seems a tad harsh.

      Oh, an while everyone’s quoting “innocent until proven guilty” can I point out that the line should really read “innocent unless proven guilty” – the former implies guilt on the accused, it only being a matter of time to prove it, the latter correctly assumes everyone innocent unless evidence proves contrary.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Well, I am not a lawyer, so I can’t really explain the legal reasoning behind this.

      However, you should keep one thing in mind: All german laws pertaining to the Internet are made by people who have to little to no knowledge about the technology involved, and generally refuse to take expert opinion into account, if it does not fit with their political agenda.

      I mean, these are the people who thought that they could successfully fight child-pornography, by forcing each german ISP to display a special “STOP!”-page, when someone tries to access a page on a special list of “forbidden” pages, maintained by the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office). This was only stopped in the last minute, mainly due to a change in public opinion.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Also innocent “unless” proven guilty does not apply in civil cases. If you comitt a civil offence, you are not found guilty and are not given a criminal record. You are found liable and have to pay damages.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    How about we fix the legal system so that this sort of stuff isn’t possible or as easy? While I obviously appreciate the effort to stop this particular case, if we don’t fix the real problem instead of the symptom this is never going away. Class justice ftl.

    • Theory says:

      You fix this kind of thing by creating an official channel through which it can pass. It’s shared by everyone in the country, has ISP involvement to ensure accurate IP to account holder matching, and has an appeal process.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      I think the problem is bigger than that. If a legal system allows for someone to say “pay X! Or we will take you to court, and even though we will probably not win if you’re innocent, you’ll have to pay much much more!” it’s become a much bigger issue than which industry uses it or how to control it. It basically means that anyone could throw any vague claim around and extort people to make a settlement of some sort, as long as they have the capital to back up their threats.

      That’s class justice pure and simple, and for me goes beyond CDP’s antics. Luckily not every justice system works like this…many European countries make the person who files the lawsuit responsible for much of the legal costs of the trial should the defendant be found innocent (which he always should be on retarded claims such as these).

    • PodX140 says:

      I completely agree with Rinox here. These cases should have the company pay all the court fee’s involved including any lawyer’s paychecks involved if they lose.

      Simple as that, but good luck getting the corporations to back it, and without that, no politician would back it either :(

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      And, sadly, I agree with you too. :-( This isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon.

    • Theory says:

      I suppose I didn’t say this explicitly, but cheaper, non-judicial hearings are also part of the solution I was talking about.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      You can’t fix it because by doing so, you would have to apply your fix fairly across the board – including those in the class you deem already unable to access fair justice.

      It is everyones human right to accuse another of an injustice against them – that is what they are doing here – they are accusing people of downloading their game without paying for it. They are bundling into that accusation their required level of compensation.

      You might not like the tone in which they’ve done it, but by making it more difficult for them to do this – that same difficultly must be applied to you the next time you want to write a letter of complaint to someone.

      For example – I bought a box of coke the other day and half the cans were empty. I wrote a letter of complaint to the company and they sent me a voucher for another box. Simple – I accused them of a breach of civil law, they sent me compensation and I accepted it as adequate. I got a few cans for free and they had done the right thing.

      Now imagine if I had to have my letter approved by a court official. And they had to pay my legal cost on top of the compensation. I would never have complained and they would have lost a customer. Also justice would not have been done.

      The way things are are actually pretty good. Don’t forget that.

      Also, let me emphasise in civil cases, the loser almost always has to pay the winners legal costs.

      And we have had cheap, yet still judicial solutions for a long time – tribunals, small claims courts etc etc etc then for non-judicial solutions, you have regulators, ombudsmen, you can get free legal advice and sometimes action, you can be backed by a union – for crying out loud, lack of money is no excuse not to access justice – for most people it excuses a lack of motivation but in every first world country you can have justice without having to spend beyond your means and if you win, that money will be repayed.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      Clearly it doesn’t work like that in every country, though.

      And even in a system like that, many people (usually on the lower end of the spectrum of society) will not have the knowledge or courage to consult and exhaust all their options, and will just pay up instead. So it’s still class justice of a sort, since they can’t defend themselves properly not because they can’t per se, but because they don’t know how.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      In this day and age, ignorance is laziness. I could pick up a phone to citizens advice and find out all my options. I could walk down to my local branch and be seen in a week. This is the same in every first world country and most second world countries, even some third world!

      If you are so stupid that you can’t do that, then seriously, you should have a carer who can do it for you because I would argue that your stupidity is actually a mental disability.

    • diamondmx says:

      @Sheng-Ji Having had the misfortune to need to contact the CAB twice (landlord/renting issues), I can assure you that sometimes they are incredibly helpful, and sometimes they are completely uninformed. It is very much the luck of the draw which kind your town/city gets.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      @ Sheng-ji

      Fair enough. You’re vastly overestimating the ability of most people (not just the underclass) to do those things, though. Many people have a severe problem with challenging authorities and don’t excercise their rights to the full by any means. That isn’t laziness or ignorance per se. It’s a common known fact for example that, paradoxically, people who are better off tend to be much more efficient in getting the most out of say social security, tax breaks and other welfare measures. A large percentage of people who have a lot more need for these measures fall out of the boat or don’t opt in. Why? Because they do not know or do not want to push for it. Call it ignorance, lack of assertiveness, laziness, lack of education…it doesn’t really matter. What matter is that people should not be punished for being any of these things, which is what exactly what this sort of legislation does: it punishes the weak for not defending themselves.

      Depending on your social views that may be a good or a bad thing, but in my view it’s definitely not good.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I will most certainly agree with you that people, especially those from less privileged backgrounds should be given much more support to get them onto the legal process in the first place, to be shown it isn’t a huge big difficult and expensive thing – yet once someone has made that decision – to challenge the big corporations – the support and processes in place are quite overwhelming.

      But let’s make one thing clear – I come from a less privileged background – My parents were given their first TV around the time flatscreens were just becoming popular. It was a 30 year old, black and white job with a rotary dial to change channels. When I hear that a family has a less privileged background then discover they have broadband, mobile phones, cable or satellite TV etc, I have a hard time believing it. There is a point where people’s ignorance is self inflicted, and yet there is still more help for them! You can indeed lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!

  6. Gothnak says:

    I don’t like pirates, i don’t like these tactics, but saying they shouldn’t do it because people have unsecured wireless networks which other people piggyback off?

    This isn’t 2005 anymore, i am in range of around 20 different networks and none of them are unsecured, every router defaults with a password these days…

    As bglamb suggests, people that have NOT downloaded this game will not pay, however threatened they feel. However, i bet a few pirates will.

    So, overall, i’m slap bang on the fence on this one, not a nice thing to do, but piracy needs to be stopped.

    • KikiJiki says:

      >As bglamb suggests, people that have NOT downloaded this game will not pay, however threatened they feel. However, i bet a few pirates will.

      Not true. The language of these letters is deliberately misleading and designed to strongarm people into paying up or getting whacked with huge legal bills of 5 figures or some such amount. It’s all very mafia-esque.

    • cavalier says:

      You are missing the point. An ip address is not an identification of a person, because it does not prove who actually committed the crime. There has actually been a recent court ruling on this in the US.

      http://torrentfreak.com/ip-address-not-a-person-bittorrent-case-judge-says-110503/

    • Premium User Badge

      CVraden says:

      How does this stop piracy? Actions like these only seem to exacerbate the problem and alienate consumers.

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      Their initial threats about tracking the prates definitely made me think twice about whether to pirate it or not.

      Legal letters would make me think a 3rd time.

    • SquareWheel says:

      I live around old folks and there are plenty of unsecured wireless networks.

    • PodX140 says:

      If you don’t pay, you go to court, pay a lawyer 10x the amount they’re asking, and have to take time off work to do all it.

      Yeah right no one innocent is going to pay, I’d be shocked if anyone guilty or not WON’T pay.

    • vagabond says:

      You’re also ignoring the possibility that they have gone off to the torrenter’s ISP and said “who has IP 1.2.3.4?” rather than “who had IP 1.2.3.4 at the following date and time?” and that 2 weeks has passed between them detecting the download and contacting the ISP and everyone has different IP addresses now.

    • Snschl says:

      There’s more than just unsecured networks around, I know my ISP regularly changes people’s WEP keys to something generic like “12345″ so they wouldn’t have to bother with passwords if they need to make repairs.

      Also, I was about to import it from the UK before I decided to download the game to see whether it would run on my computer at all, seeing as we all know how hardware-intensive The Witcher 2 is. No, there aren’t any game-renting services where I live. Of course, it DIDN’T work, I barely got 2 FPS and then it promptly blew the fan off my graphics card. So no, I will not be purchasing or playing the game, and if I had done it, I would have regretted it. I’m still waiting for my letter, though. :p

    • Balobam says:

      IGNORE THIS.

    • Starky says:

      reply system fail.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I wish people would stop repeating “piracy needs to be stopped/is evil” and its variations as a kind of self-evident truth or religious mantra. It’s no more self-evident than other religious pretentions like “women must cover their hair”.

      Private property of physical objects is natural because we need a good amount of them to survive, and first and foremost a piece of land with a shelter. In the same way freely sharing knowledge and ideas is natural, because as soon as you have uttered them they spread from person to person without anybody losing them in the process.

      Digital information is in the latter category, and it is an utter fallacy to pretend that the copyright models adopted by certain countries are the only morally right laws possible. Even said copyright laws like the american ones recognize that fundamentally, knowledge belongs to the people and copyright is only a time-limited exception granted to authors, so the exclusivity of monetary benefits can encourage them to produce more and better works. This deal should be continuously re-evaluated to see if it is appropriate and if the results obtained are worth the loss of accessibility to culture, entertainment and science; instead some people try to hide half the truth and brainwash the population in accepting those laws like some kind of ultimate truth.

      We might very well need copyright for economic reasons, but we need the minimum possible of it, and it needs to be enforced in a reasonable manner, without turning our governments/justice systems into insane police states in the process.

  7. Premium User Badge

    CVraden says:

    It’s not that they’re losing money to pirates, it’s that they can make more money by prosecuting them. Purely driven by greed the way I see it. Absurd.

    • Sarah83 says:

      Sure, because no pirate would ever buy a game.

    • Premium User Badge

      CVraden says:

      I think it’s safe to say that most people (not all) who pirate a game do not eventually buy that game. Certainly not at full price at least.

    • Gunde says:

      What you think is safe to say is contrary to several scientific findings where pirates spend more money in general on culture than the average person.

    • Premium User Badge

      CVraden says:

      I didn’t know pirates willingly participated in many scientific studies. I’d be interested to know what evidence they use to support that claim. If you know of any studies, I would certainly read them.

    • PodX140 says:

      Sarah, at this point you’re just making a fool of yourself. Why do you think even the humble indie bundle is pirated? Because the convience/actual ability (for countries without easy CC info/paypal) to do so is worth more to them than paying even A CENT.

      This is the staggaring majority of pirates. It’s not that they won’t purchase games, it’s that they only will for developers/publishers that they think is worth both the amount of money and inconvience to pay them.

    • MiniMatt says:

      I didn’t know pirates willingly participated in many scientific studies. I’d be interested to know what evidence they use to support that claim. If you know of any studies, I would certainly read them.

      There’s one linked in John’s article above – following through to this one by the Swiss government: http://www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/dam/data/pressemitteilung/2011/2011-11-30/ber-br-d.pdf

      As stated (everywhere, in John’s article above, and for the record, me too) however, this is not to excuse piracy but rather something to keep in context. Attacking shonky legal practice is not to condone the end behaviour such shonky practice is attempting in a bumbling manner to address.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      @ CVraden: You have kind of a paranoid idea of what a pirate is. Why wouldn’t they participate in surveys? Surveys are usually anonymous, you know?

    • Balobam says:

      Just gonna throw my hat in the ring here, at the risk of being berated by anti-piracy peoples.

      I pirate, but I also buy shit that I’ve pirated if I liked it.

      Subsequently I have so many damn games, tv shows and films that I just have no more space to put them anymore. And I wouldn’t have half as many if I didn’t pirate them first. And whilst I am aware I may be in a minority of pirates here, the whole “not a lost purchase” thing can apply to a fair amount of those pirates, whilst some are just being cheap asses and not buying it.

      But I flick through TPB every now and then and look at the PC games, see things like Arkham City, MW3, BF3 etc and I don’t download them, but neither do I own them, and it makes me think “if I downloaded it, what the hell would the difference be to them? I’d own it, yes, but they are no better off than before”.

      I don’t buy things straight away because I don’t have shit loads of money to be throwing about, but when I do get that spare cash I’ll buy things I’ve been enjoying. So I really don’t see the harm in piracy for a percentage of people that do it, as otherwise I’d probably only have my collection of Wii games and some Valve games if I didn’t broaden my horizons via piracy.

      ALSO, as one last thing, pirating the HIB (which I didn’t, I always pay a decent amount) is probably more beneficial to them than those who pay 1 cent, because that ends up costing them, yet the people that do it obviously do it so they can tether it to their Steam account legally.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Gunde

      That Joe the pirate buys modern warfare 3 (for the multi-player), is small recompense to EIDOS Montreal whom he pirated DX:HR from.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Balobam – I am very anti-pirate and you are the type of person I despise.

      However, I’ll not let that hatred I have for you interfere with my point.

      How would you feel if you made something creative – let’s say you painted an amazing painting. Some toerag takes a photo of it and starts handing out full sized copies of it for free, right outside your gallery.

      Sure, many of the people who are prepared to take a slightly poor copy of it probably wouldn’t have come in and bought one of your perfect prints anyway – and maybe one or two will come in and tell you they liked it so much they are prepared to pay for a nicer copy – but how many people will enjoy your hard work without buying the print from you. Is that OK?

      What if every painting you paint is do or die – if you don’t sell enough prints of this one, you’re going to go bankrupt. And that little prick is still handing out free copies right outside your door. We both know that many people who like your painting would buy a print yet having been given a free one, now won’t.

      You’re telling me you wouldn’t even be a little bit angry at him, want to make him stop?

      It is wrong to take someones work for free, unless they are distributing it for free. That is all.

    • Balobam says:

      Sheng, if I’m the type of person you despise, what about the pirates that don’t buy shit?

      Regardless, yeah I’d be pissed off, but I’m not pirating indie stuff, only things from the big developers, and even then, I’m still buying it no matter whether I pirated it or not, but sometimes I have no idea if I’m going to like something.

      Take Deus Ex for example, I was bracing for it to be a major flop, then the leak came and I played it, I was so amazed by the intro sequence that I stopped playing it and waited for the formal release to buy it. Had I not pirated it, I never would’ve ended up buying it.

      I know plenty of people that don’t pirate because they think it’s wrong, yet they’ll happily download music illegally or buy games second hand, which has just as much effect as piracy on games sales.

      I genuinely do not see a problem with what I am doing, it’s a simple process “Pirate > Enjoy it > Buy it”

      “Pirate > Dislike it > uninstall and don’t buy it”

      I do not see how you can hate that, as without I wouldn’t have spent nearly as much money as I have on games. Even if I bought a game, disliked it and returned it, I’d be in the exact same place had I just pirated and deleted it and they’d be no better off.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I don’t hate what you’re doing so much as I hate the excuse you provide for others who do not ever actually buy games they love.

      I am certain the vast majority of pirates never buy games they enjoy, a certainty which I will not be easily persuaded is wrong, and many have tried – most people I know in real life who play PC games pirate them. Most of them have fed me the same line you did about using it as a demo any buying the games they enjoy, however, this does not match their actions.

      And what exactly is the difference between ripping off an indie and ripping of, say EA? The vast majority of EA employees are paid poorly for their skills and their bonus’ are insulting compared to the actual profits a game brings. Yet should a game do poorly, who loses their jobs? Those guys – it’s them that piracy hurts.

      I know full well that the bosses at EA, and all mega corporations get paid unreasonable amounts of money and my anti-corporation streak resents it greatly. But to have a significant impact on those corporations is not hurting the fat cats, it hurts honest hard-working people, like you or me.

      And sorry if I was a bit strong, I don’t really hate you as a person, I’m sure you’re lovely – I hate the idea that it’s OK to take some-ones work for free, in any circumstance. I would only do that if it was a matter of survival for me or my family.

      If you had bought the game and returned it, you would have my undying praise because you would have sent the correct message. The correct message is “This game is not worth my money – I wanted to give it to you but didn’t” This is not the message piracy sends, it is not the message received and sending that message is not the intentions of the majority of pirates.

      I’m sure if you didn’t pirate games, you would have spent a lot less money on games, but you would have also had a lot less entertainment from games. If instead people who actually do use pirated copies as demo’s only bought games they had played a properly released demo for, more games would have demo’s.

    • Balobam says:

      That’s a fair point. And like I said, I’m fully aware I’m in the minority of pirates here, but I do it because I LOVE having a physical copy of something, I just love the look and feel of it, and if I enjoy a game I want to support the hell out of whoever made it, be it a mega corporation or some guy in a basement.

      I mean, I’ve bought Stalker SoC 3 times now due to extenuating circumstances, and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

      Don’t know if I said this or not, I do not condone piracy as such, I use it literally as a sort of demo trial, unless a game actually comes with one which is unfortunately not the case with the vast majority of PC games. And obviously you’re going to a somewhat more skewed opinion on people saying that due to what you said your friends do, which is perfectly understandable.

      All I’m saying is not all pirates are bad, and in all fairness I probably wouldn’t actually count myself as a pirate, as at this current moment in time I do not have any illegally downloaded games/films/tv shows that I do not also own.

      I guess what I’m trying to get at, is it’s not just a black and white matter as so many people try to play it as, but has a lot of grey area too. It’s a hard thing to defend and argue about because whilst I know my intentions, there are those that do not reciprocate and instead use it to get shit for free, which I do not agree with in the slightest.

    • Starky says:

      Actually Sheng, you’re pretty wrong, there’s been several studies which conclude that the majority of pirates spend more on media than none pirates of simular income levels, when talking pirates from high GDP countries that is.
      Frankly anyone living in a country where buying a single new game represents more than 25% of their monthly income can pirate as much as they bloody like IMO.

      Anyway…
      Every single even half credible study I’ve seen on the subject boils down to the following:

      - Pirates tend to spend more of their disposable income on entertainment products than non pirates (as a percentage).
      - Pirates however tend to have a much lower disposable income than none pirates.
      - Piracy from the US and Europe accounts for around 10% of Piracy (meaning that 90% of total pirates for a game would never have paid for it in the first place – probably couldn’t even if they wanted too).
      - Increased difficulty in pirating doesn’t seem to have any positive effective on sales numbers (games that have had successful DRM – successful as in lasted until a few weeks after launch), likewise games with little or no DRM don’t seem to suffer negative effects.*
      - Piracy doesn’t reduce total video game spending industry wide, only re-prioritise how people spend their budget (the whole, Joe pirate will buy MW3 for the multiplayer but pirate Deus Ex phenomenon someone else in this topic mentioned).

      *I remember one that had a bunch of sales per day over time graphs, with a line showing when each had it’s DRM broken and was available for piracy on major torrent sites – they tended to have a small dip, but nothing significant – wush I could find it to link, but a quick google doin’t find it and I’m too lazy to go a searcvhing just for comment.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Starky – I know pretty much everything you are saying is true – but if I were an artist, I would be galled that someone took and enjoyed my work without paying for it and then excused them self by explaining that it’s OK, I spend more on entertainment than someone who doesn’t pirate (for want of a better word) it.

      So you get my hard work for nothing, yet it’s fine because you also go to the cinema lots.

      That just doesn’t add up for me. It might not be damaging to the industry as a whole, but many peoples lives have been uphauled because piracy has affected their studio and they lost their jobs.

      A close friend, a character artist – one of the most talented in the industry according to Edge, now works in advertising because he didn’t want to move when his studio was shut down. His studio was shut down because it’s last game didn’t make a profit – yet it was one of the most pirated titles ever at the time.

      That’s real talent lost from the industry. Piracy might not have been to blame, yet it was certainly a large contribution.

    • Apples says:

      Sheng-ji: how are you supposed to return a game if you didn’t like it? I don’t know anywhere that will let you return something unless it is faulty. If you could do that I expect piracy as we know it now would go down, but most people would buy something, enjoy it, and then take it back saying they didn’t like it. Which is still piracy. Piracy is the only way right now that I know of where you can decide before paying whether you actually want to pay for the product, but also any way you can do that will be abused.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      To date, I’ve had 17 refunds from steam, and although I have not kept count, probably approaching 40 refunds from Game.

      My advice on obtaining refunds for games legitimately, without lying have been quoted by many major publications including this very site (I have a baby feeding at this very moment so I’m kinda one handed and not going to pull up the link, but it was about the from dust DRM issue, it should be easy to find)

    • Balobam says:

      My stupid internet died so I couldn’t keep up.

      So you say that you get refunds, about 17 on Steam, when you return a game, can I ask what is the difference between pirating and deleting a game and purchasing and returning it? The money made is lost, or there was never any money made in the first place, it’s all a mean to the same end.

      Plus I like to buy a lot of stuff in cases, because as I said before, I like how it looks. But nowadays, you cannot return physical copies to stores unless there was some fault on their end, like a damaged case or disc, and in which case more often than not they’ll replace it or offer store credit.

      And to tie in which what Starky said, out of all my friends, I know one who pirates, he and I spend a fortune on buying DVD’s and games, and out of the ones who don’t pirate, they have no interest in these things, or they do but can’t afford them, and they never get round to getting them. One of my friend buys a game second hand, trades it in to get cashback and then buys another game with the money, and continues that cycle. What he’s doing is completely legal, yet in the eyes of companies, it’s no different from a monetary and sales standpoint than piracy.

      And whilst I get what you’re saying about the artist getting their fair dues, I’m going to borrow your analogy, and say that person was handing out the pictures for free, the odds are if its free a lot of people who would have had zero interest in this painting, may take some notice, I mean it’s free, there’s nothing to lose. Some of these people might then find they actually love this picture and want an original, so they go and buy it so they can hang it up, and it looks fantastic. A sale out of nowhere.

      And someone who had exhibited an interest in buying it, getting a lesser version for free, would probably still work their way round to buying the legit painting because that’s what they wanted, and they clearly have the money to spend and want to support the devs.

      But those who take the shoddy replica and don’t even consider buying the original now, odds are they never had any interest in it in the first place, and just took it ’cause it’s free and why not.

      EDIT: You got refunds from Game? How on earth did you manage that? I only get store credit, which is alright, but I’d rather have my money back to buy things from other places when they’re cheaper there.

    • Starky says:

      @Balobam

      In a very real way buying then returning a product is worse than never buying it at all (or pirating it), especially in physical products. First the retailer takes the hit, then if it is something they can fault the manufacturer for they get a replacement – hell some distributors apply a fine to the manufacturer if a product is faulty (more an engineering thing if a company guarantee’s 100% compliance to specifications).
      It also carries negative long term effects – someone who pirates your game and finds it a bit crap is probably going to have much less prejudice and public anger (and thus bad word of mouth) than someone who legitimately paid for it and felt ripped off – refund or not.

      @Sheng

      I kind of agree with you, and in my industry (electrical engineering) piracy (or to be more exact counterfeiting) is a real problem – we have out own “DRM” – using unlabelled components, using encryption on microcontrollers – but in the end it’s all crackable and reverse engineerable by some company in china that can then sell it at a retail price that matches your production cost (so beating it in price would require taking a loss per unit).

      That said, I’m a IP/patent reform supporter – I think the current philosophies, laws and practices for intellectual property is detrimental to society and advancement of the arts and technology (more so technology – patent law is literally holing back technological advancement by a few months every year.
      I do think there should be some protections, but I think thanks to the dedicated work of industry lobbyists they’ve gotten tangled, and far too much in the interest and power of big business even over the consumer, and even the creator.

      It’s a shame that individuals must suffer – though I seriously doubt piracy was the only issue that caused your friends game not to sell – there are numerous factors – and just because something is popular as a free (pirated product) doesn’t mean it would be as a retail product.
      Contributed, sure – but I would doubt that piracy was ever the deciding factor in any games failure to find a market, or produce enough profit to keep a studio afloat.
      Many things that people enjoy, even really like are not worth a penny – best example off the top of my head are youtube video’s, some get millions of hits but are not worth paying for individually.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      the difference is that I return a game because my consumer rights had been breached. Take From Dust: It was sold as having no DRM, yet it had DRM. Easy refund.

      Take the last settlers game I bought – it was sold as being compatable with my graphics card. It was not. Easy refund.

      Take Dead or Alive 3 (or 2 – can’t remember) bought from game – it worked well but was shockingly poor. I explained that one of the quotes on the box described it as game of the year, yet the matching article in the magazine quoted said no such thing. Easy refund.

      By the way, the key with game is to deal with the store manager. I am always offered store credit, I explain that I am entitled to a full refund and I understand if only the store manager can deal with it. I have spanned 5 or 6 game stores in my life and I have always found the managers excellent to deal with and never argue about full refunds if the law is on your side. Which is almost always is if your grievance with the game is genuine.

      If they ever did deny me one I was entitled too, I would fax their HQ a filled in but unsent application to the small claims court. Only 3 times in my life has that not worked and each time the companies involved did not defend their case and paid my compensation promptly.

      Buying a game you don’t enjoy is hardly ever going to allow you to get a refund, unless it has been missold – but a bit of research quite often turns up a juicy bit of publicity for the game which is horribly misrepresentative at best or inaccurate at worst. A missold product entitles you by law to a refund. My advice is always know the law and do your research. What made you buy the game in the first instance – get that piece of publicity. Show how the actual product doesn’t meet the sales pitch – take your laptop in if you are lucky enough to own one and literally show them. Be confident – of course I have the natural advantage of being female – that always helps!

      Most of all though, be the most pleasant, polite customer they have had in the shop all day.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Starky – hehe, I ,once madke a living as a producer for a team which makes youtube video’s. If we could apply the same business models to games it would be amazing, and to some extent works in app stores – having a free version with adverts.

      I made a publicity video for a game on the app store, the guys who made it were lovely, but they told me they groaned every time someone bought the premium ad free version from the free version because the ads made them an absolute fortune!

      I understand your point though – I am really applauding CDP’s attempt to do something a little differently while making the point that DRM doesn’t work. It might not be the nicest thing to do, there may be a small amount of collateral but as long as no-body who didn’t pirate the game is stupid enough to pay the compensation, the collateral is limited to some hurt feelings. I’d like this to be used more in place of DRM which damages my experience with games.

    • Starky says:

      The problem with these things Sheng, and the reason I am absolutely against them is that they are not designed to use the law in the appropriate way to settle a genuine civil infraction – if that were the case and they had actual evidence that they would take to court and present to a judge in an honest attempt to win the case – then I’d have no issue with it.

      It isn’t the case however (at least it hasn’t been in every one of these threat letter schemes). They Don’t collect any reliable evidence, they don’t care if someone is guilty or not, they 99.9% of the time have no intention of taking the case to court – and I know this for a fact in the Davenport Lyon case, because a friend of mine (who represents the firm I work for and is a pretty damned good IP layer) got involved in the case offering people free advice over skype and free letters.
      And every single person who even sent a letter protesting the charge (signed by a solicitor with a nice letterhead), refusing the threat payment and showing any willingness to allow the case to proceed to court was almost instantly dropped and nothing heard from again.

      These companies don’t want to take this to a judge, they know they have no evidence that a first year law student couldn’t easily dismiss as trivial, they are preying on people who might be guilty of pirating the game (or more often the mother/father of said pirate), and those who are not but are too scared to risk court (and fearful how much worse it could be – the “whole fined up to one million dollahs” lie that gets repeated ad nauseum in all of these types of letter.

      It’s using the law as a sodding protection racket, and even if people are guilty that doesn’t matter because these schemes are not designed to punish the guilty, just to make money.

      It’s dishonest, and it is wrong.

  8. nanophage says:

    If this becomes a normal and acceptable practice I predict it will not be long before games start being leaked on purpose just so companies can go after the pirates. Just look at the recent rash of games leaked on the internet before release. If I was a conspiracy theorist . . .

  9. Suva says:

    It’s a blackmail scheme. They do not even threaten you with jail or whatever, they threaten you by promising to take it into court if you don’t pay up. So whether you are a pirate or not, it might be more feasible for you to pay the £1000 to avoid the whole court stuff which is gonna take a lots of money and time to prove that you are not guilty.

    Let’s set things clear here, it IS a BLACKMAIL operation. It’s not for justice, it’s for blackmailing money.

    If they cared about justice they would have sued the people instead of asking them for money with a threat to sue them

    • datom says:

      It’s also standard practice for many companies (utlity bills, library fines etc) where there is a disputed charge. A letter from lawyers must come with an intent to sue. It’s only blackmail if CD Projekt then don’t ttry to take individuals to court. If they do, it was a threat that they carried out.

      I’m not defending this action, which I see as a waste of time (much better to send out a letter saying ‘we are watching you’, which has the added bonus of notifying those whose IP is being misued). But this is what companies that believe they are owed money do.

    • Suva says:

      Bills and stuff you have agreed to with a CONTRACT. With this they just ask you for an arbitrary sum of money with a threat to make your life miserable.

      If you read up on these cases then they usually do not go to court, it’s expensive for both sides and unless they feel that they can win this they won’t sue you regardless of the original threat. Sometimes they pick couple of people for exemplary hanging.

      This operation is a borderline legal blackmail scheme for extra profit, it has nothing to do with “protecting your IP”.

    • datom says:

      Indeed, with one correction. It’s not a borderline-legal blackmail act, until CD Projekt don’t follow up on these threats, it’s a legal blackmail act, which makes it not blackmail.

      It may yet turn into blackmail, or more accurately extortion, but we don’t know yet.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I’m curious if this would make such headlines if they had merely asked for the current sale price of the game, say 30 dollars or whatever instead of the rather arbitrary 1,000 or so.

      How many people seeing this letter, who are indeed guilty of the piracy in question, would simply pay it to ease their conscious, fears, or whatever rather then see what happens if they ignore it.

      My guess is that CDP would get MORE money out of their scheme, AND looks less like extorting assholes for it all together.

    • Starky says:

      Problem with that is with that low, and reasonable amount these schemes wouldn’t make a profit – and they are utterly about making a profit – not justice, or punishing pirates, not one of these cases ever went to court in which the defendant showed clear willingness to defend themselves (at least in the UK – the only ones that did were a few people who ignored the letters, and then ignored the court summons).

      They have to pay the company that mined the IP’s for them, they have to pay the lawyers, and they have to pay for the materials and postage.
      Say that’s £300 for 1000 IP’s and letters – they might only get a 1 in 1000 success rate, but that is enough.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Saul says:

    Sigh. And for a minute there, I thought they were the good guys. Never underestimate the sales potential of a good reputation.

  11. sharkh20 says:

    I really don’t see a problem here. If you are going to steal, you should go to jail or pay a fine if caught. Is this not how it works with any other kind of thievery?

    • cavalier says:

      The issue is there is no proof that any crime has been commited. They are attempting to extort money out of people by threatening to sue. There has been no formal charge in this situation.

      From what I’ve heard (at least in the US) is that these letters do not typically end in any sort of lawsuit. Its basically like throwing out a bunch of fishing lures and betting that at lest a few will bite.

    • guitarmy says:

      It’s really not that easy…
      I for one preordered the game on steam and I still pirated (boohoo) it a few days before release.
      It’s a convenient custom pre-load, if you want…
      Now… Am I a thief? Do I have to pay millions of dollars of damages?

    • John Walker says:

      Oh please just read the post : (

    • Deano2099 says:

      Sharkh is right though isn’t he? If you steal something, you should go to jail or pay a fine to the state. And return what you stole.

      That’s exactly why this process is silly. I can’t comprehend how people can support this AND take the ‘piracy is theft’ line at the same time. They’re both silly on their own for different reasons, but supporting both at the same time is utterly contradictory.

      What happens if I nick something from a shop and get caught? I get arrested, perhaps jailed, and have to give the thing back. What doesn’t happen is that I get a letter from Tesco saying hey, pay us 300x the cost of the thing you stole or we will take you to court.

      If my car gets nicked, I report it to the police, I don’t send letters to every car thief I know of requesting 100 cars back in return or else I’ll take them to court.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Car analogy to the rescue!!

    • Deano2099 says:

      Exactly. You can’t say “piracy is just like stealing a car” and then say “a fair punishment for piracy is paying the company you pirated off 100x the value of what you pirated”.

      If someone nicks my car I want:

      a) my car back; and

      b) them in jail.

      I don’t want them to pay £300,000 to Ford.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    This makes me sad that I bought the game the other week, and puts me off spending any money on GOG.

    • Premium User Badge

      CVraden says:

      I don’t think GoG should be taking any blame in this scenario… This all seems to be on the publisher.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      CD Project are the publisher, and they run GOG. Certainly they get money from GOG. If I don’t want to encourage their actions, I can’t give GOG money.
      Which is a shame, because encouraging GOG’s model is something I really like to do.

    • absolofdoom says:

      It certainly makes me feel bad I bought the game, especially since I haven’t played it yet.

    • Premium User Badge

      CVraden says:

      Ah, my mistake. I thought the two entities were separate. In that case, I have to agree with you. I was kind of excited to take advantage of GoG’s latest sale, but I don’t think I can support them in good conscience.

    • PodX140 says:

      Was not aware they own GoG. Well, there’s an area never getting any money from me thanks to blackmailing business practices, yaaaay :D

      Unbelievable. Makes me wonder if any of these PR/CEO’s actually know real business. “If we wreck our reputation, make our sole customers hate us, and show that we’re willing to blackmail people for their money, we can make 20 000 dollars! And without any visible side effects!” -_-

    • trevor.longino says:

      GOG.com’s head of PR and Marketing here:
      For all that we’re sister companies, CDP RED and GOG.com are not the same company. GOG.com is the distributor for the Witcher 2, not the developer. We are not currently involved in any legal actions around that title, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on the legal actions of another company.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      @trevor.longino:
      Thank you for the clarification.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Nice to hear, Trevor. And since you are sister companies, you better contact them soon and explain them their reputation is falling through the window at a frightening speed right now.

    • Starky says:

      I specifically have not bought anything from GoG, or baught TW2 (or pirated it for that matter) since CD Project stated their intention to pull a Davenport Lyons style rubbish – which is basically blackmail, phishing and a total scam.
      An opinion of mine which was validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) when it fined and suspended those involved and the firm for it’s shoddy practices.

      It rightfully was raised in parliament by several MPs as legal bullying with disproportionate demands for relatively minor civil infractions.

      I hope that this massively backfires on CD Project and that people will blacklist both them and GoG now and forever.

      It’s a shame because I really like GoG – but as much as trevor above claims they are different companies (and that may be true) GoG is a subsidiary of CD Project – and I refuse to allow my hard earned money to go towards funding this kind of legal bullying and borderline blackmail.

  13. Shadram says:

    “Those who cannot afford/aren’t interested enough/wanted to try first/just wanted without paying/etc etc have not taken something away from anyone to their immediate deficit… Never mind the increasingly abundant evidence piling up that demonstrates piracy encourages sales…”

    As a software developer, seeing you, John, of all people, writing such things makes me sad. You’re supposed to be on our side.

    • RF says:

      Less QQ, moar making things people will buy.

    • Ovno says:

      I know writing about evidence is definitely not something a responsible journalist should be doing…

      Let alone including a bit of balance in the story by mentioning both sides of the argument…

    • Sarah83 says:

      Agreed.

    • Shadram says:

      Plenty of people buy my software. The company I work for is number one in the world for the product we make/sell. Doesn’t make us immune to piracy, though, and doesn’t stop me thinking that anyone who does pirate software is a c**t.

    • Gunde says:

      If you actually believe that, then you are part of the problem.

      Ignoring scientific studies contrary to your view-point simply because you are too obtuse to accept that you are wrong…

    • mrjackspade says:

      What’s the problem? Everything he wrote was completely accurate. Should he give a biased viewpoint simply because some nice people he knows are game developers?

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Although it is true that pirating software is no theft per se (although, atm it is treated as such by German law as far as I know), there actually IS a potential loss of sales. Of course, the ratio of pirated copies to lost sales surely fluctuates and never will reach 1:1, there are bound to be lots of people who would have bought the game if piracy wouldn’t have been an option.

      To take the idea to the extreme, if everybody pirates then there are no sold copies and this of course is a damage done.

      I understand that this wasn’t the idea of the cited paragraph (and I don’t want to imply that it was Mr. Walkers intention), but I felt that it might contribute to the discussion.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m not on anyone’s “side”. I want to discover the truth.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      thanks for reporting on this, john. and thanks for having a sensible point of view.

      also, shadram, go to kotaku if you don’t like people being sensible. they’ll ban anyone mentioning torrents or other similar taboo words, so you should fit right in.

    • Shadram says:

      I see no evidence given in the linked article that piracy encourages sales. Just that piracy doesn’t reduce the amount of money people spend on entertainment, without really saying what type of entertainment. If everyone’s downloading games for free, and using the money saved to go bowling or whatever, it’s still an issue.

      I do agree with the point they make about it being the developer’s responsibility to prevent piracy, and maybe one day they’ll come up with a way that isn’t just more horrible DRM.

    • Gunde says:

      “Although it is true that pirating software is no theft per se (although, atm it is treated as such by German law as far as I know), there actually IS a potential loss of sales. Of course, the ratio of pirated copies to lost sales surely fluctuates and never will reach 1:1, there are bound to be lots of people who would have bought the game if piracy wouldn’t have been an option.

      To take the idea to the extreme, if everybody pirates then there are no sold copies and this of course is a damage done.

      I understand that this wasn’t the idea of the cited paragraph (and I don’t want to imply that it was Mr. Walkers intention), but I felt that it might contribute to the discussion.”

      And also it’s conveniently ignoring the part of the pirating population that never would have bought the game to begin with but subsequently changed their mind after having pirated it. This does happen and happens far more frequently than most would believe. I could also easily say that that offsets the theoretical amount of pirates that would have bought it if they couldn’t pirate it. It could even be a far larger number than that one.

    • mendel says:

      Shadram, let’s say hypothetically that you sold a game for $40, and some pirate had made a 200MB torrent of it, and you knew of a user (not that pirate) who had torrented the game, and while torrenting it, had sent out another 400MB of that game (because that’s how torrent works, you give and take at the same time). How much damage do you think that person has caused you? $40? $120? $900? Something else?

      We’re talking about damages. We’re not talking about fines or deterrent. What would your actual damages be that this one person caused you?

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Gunde: True, it’s hard to judge such things without empirical data at hand. “Could have been” is a bad argument in any case, but seeing that the behaviour described by you (trying first, then paying later) requires quite a bit of intrinsic motivation (which often is harder to come by than extrinsic) I’d guess (!) that these figures don’t balance each other.

      No idea how effective the additional word-of-mouth advertisement may be though.

    • PodX140 says:

      You know, it makes me wonder whether you software developers actually listen/go on pirating websites. I hear from my friends all the time “Hey, you should really try this game, I might even buy it!” You know what that means to me from a regular gamer? Not much. From a pirate? “Holy hell the game must be fantastic, I’ll try it right now!” *Day later* Friend: “Hey man, you buy that game?” Me: “I think I won’t eat for a month, I bought their entire catalogue…”

      And you want to know how often that scenario happens with my friends that don’t pirate? As I thought.

    • SentientNr6 says:

      Whoow dude.
      1st) I am a software developer too. CAD Software. That software costs depending on features 1k-15k€. And it is being pirated. It doesn’t make me happy but I really doubt that if there wasn’t any pirating it would affect me positively. Probably the money would be spend on marketing, legal or some other software development project I am not involved in. Lots of the money that is made on the software is spent on setting up offshoring.

      Hell as a software developer with 15 years of experience I know a lot of developers who pirate. (eg. MS software cause MS is evil!)

      So please don’t make it a them versus us fight.

    • Starky says:

      @SentientNr6

      As an Engineer and heavy CAD user I can tell you for a fact (fact in the my opinion I’m 99.9% positive is fact meaning of the word fact :P) that piracy has done nothing but benefit CAD companies, or any company that sells massively expensive industry level software.

      Hell, almost every engineer I know pirates CAD software, I have loads of CAD/Engineering programs currently on my PC and all pirated (Autocad, orcad, inventor Solidworks, Multisim etc…)
      A few of them, I could have legal licence for paid for by my company (which obviously have licensed copies for us to use) – but it’s often just easier, faster and less hassle to pirate than to bother with DRM hoop jumping.

      Anyway, the benefit (and someone Autodesk realized and got on board with – and now basically give all their software away to single users) is that no single user can afford these products. So when students, learners, and individuals pirate these software they may “lose a sale” they’d have never had – but they gain a massive user base and become industry standard – so when companies are deciding what CAD package to use – and 90% of their CAD experienced staff learned on AutoCad on pirate copies – they’re probably going to get AutoCad.

      Just last month our Engineering department has had a offer from Corel to get a free licence for their CAD software for the office and all the staff for a year.

      Honestly I can think of nothing better for a developer of CAD software to “suffer” massive piracy from individuals and students – because a few years down the line it will make them much more attractive to companies comparing CAD packages.

  14. mipearson says:

    I support them in this endeavour. The carrot was they’d remove the DRM for actual customers. The stick is that they’ll sue the pants of people who use their content without paying for it. If putting the fear of disproportionate litigation into the actual pirates themselves (ie, those who crack / upload the game rather than download it) is what’s necessary to banish the specter of DRM, then I am entirely for it.

    The actual issue aside, your argument re piracy (it’s illegal, but it’s not really theft) is flimsy.

    I am tempted to scrape RPS and offer it as a ‘free’ RSS feed, no advertisements whatsoever, just to make the point. It’s OK, nothing was stolen, and now your site is so much faster to load!

    • Bungle says:

      Copying is not stealing and stealing is not copying.

    • mipearson says:

      It’s alright. As everybody knows, games are pretty cheap to make, it’s OK if some people pay for them and other people don’t.

      Can’t wait for Stalker 2!

    • Gunde says:

      “It’s alright. As everybody knows, games are pretty cheap to make, it’s OK if some people pay for them and other people don’t.”

      Of course it is, or are you suggesting that we illegalize *not* paying for games? I.e. force *everyone* to pay for all games, even if they never wanted them?

      Yeah, that’ll work…

    • thegooseking says:

      Copyright infringement is not formally letter-of-the-law ‘stealing’, but it does fit into the broader informal definition of ‘stealing’. To say it categorically is or isn’t stealing is to misrepresent the semantics of the word, and any argument built thereon is therefore a matter of mere semantics.

    • Suva says:

      Read the article again, they don’t SUE those who got the game without paying.

      They blackmail people who allegedly downloaded it from torrent with a THREAT to sue.

      1) You either pay up the 1000 euros and nothing happens to you.

      2) You will go to court and have to defend your case, you will waste a lot of time and money on defense. Your computers will be taken as evidence and all the HDD contents will be studied. Your internet logs will be analysed by lots of people.

      In either case it doesn’t matter whether you got the game for free or not. You are still going to be taken to legal hell if you don’t pay it. Maybe you tried the torrent version and then bought the legit version. Maybe your son downloaded it secretly? Maybe the IP was mistakenly identified. Nothing really matters, you either pay the money or waste at least next 6 months of your life trying to prove you don’t deserve this.

    • mipearson says:

      Counting down slowly from ten, re-read the article, now a big clarification: What they’re doing isn’t great. That doesn’t make it okay to argue that piracy doesn’t have a net negative effect on content creators, even if that effect isn’t felt at the time (and the jury’s still out on that one).

    • FabriciusRex says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. And besides:

      One has a moral obligation when you want to use a service whether it be something material or immaterial to pay the producer of that service for their effort. One can not simply copy a game just to “try it out”. You wanna play it? Get informed about it, and make a decision if it is worth your money and time. One does not simply copy it without permission. Any man of reason knows this to be true. But just because of the simplicity of pirating games you seek any means to justify yourselves.

      I can not believe what I just read here. A true pc-gamer does not copy games. Nor does he condone such acts or justifies them. He should support the industry.

    • John Walker says:

      Good heavens, how could I have been more clear? I said it was against the law, I said it was a crime! But it is NOT stealing, and this nuance is essential if there’s ever to be any progress in this whole tiresome debate. But so long as one side just willfully ignores any rationale, and interprets “it is not theft” as “it is therefore lawful”, then we’ll not get anywhere, because I may as well argue with a tree.

    • mondomau says:

      You are all missing the point: where CD Projeckt crossed the line here is trying to extort money from people they can’t prove did anything wrong. The issue of piracy aside (It’s factually illegal, get over it), it’s the method of ‘punishment’ that’s under debate here.

    • Sarah83 says:

      I don’t agree that it’s not theft. People have worked for it, they’ve spent time and money on developing the game, some people pay for it and others take it for free although it isn’t. How is that different from theft? Yes, they technically don’t lose a copy but it hurts the developers nevertheless. I don’t get why we have to euphemize it.

      @mondomau: They can prove they downloaded the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      I dunno John.

      With digital works, copying is part of the process at every stage. They don’t sell the game itself. They sell ‘copies’. It’s inherent in the medium. So when they’re selling copies, and you take a copy for free, that’s pretty much stealing in every way that matters.

      I think you’re getting too caught up in legal definitions, whereas common usage of the word ‘stealing’ feels like it should really apply to software taken without permission.

    • Gunde says:

      “Couldn’t agree with you more. And besides:

      One has a moral obligation when you want to use a service whether it be something material or immaterial to pay the producer of that service for their effort. One can not simply copy a game just to “try it out”. You wanna play it? Get informed about it, and make a decision if it is worth your money and time. One does not simply copy it without permission. Any man of reason knows this to be true. But just because of the simplicity of pirating games you seek any means to justify yourselves.

      I can not believe what I just read here. A true pc-gamer does not copy games. Nor does he condone such acts or justifies them. He should support the industry.”

      And (I’ll indulge in some anecdotal evidence here) the vast majority (probably all) of my friends *are* PC gamers thanks to piracy. Or do you believe that in the pre-steam time access to games was easy and cheap for children? Kids who pirate a lot of games and buy the ones they actually afford will eventuall grow up, get a job and money, and pour a shitload more money into the PC industry. So these people aren’t *true* PC gamers?

    • Premium User Badge

      Keirley says:

      @ FabriciusRex

      I’m so very tired of people backing up claims like ‘One has a moral obligation when you want to use a service whether it be something material or immaterial to pay the producer of that service for their effort.’ with arguments like ‘Any man of reason knows this to be true.’

      It’s just tiresome. And obviously it’s not a good way to debate, as it immediately labels anyone who disagrees with you as an unreasonable man. Arguments require reasons, not platitudes to back them up.

      And I should say that I DON’T pirate games, or films, or music, or what have you. I DO from time to time lend a book to my friend, or borrow a DVD, however. I personally think that if you can support the creator of something you find pleasure from then you probably should. I don’t however think it’s a ‘moral obligation’, and I fail to see how you can support that (let’s face it) highly controversial claim.

      Anyway, the main point here is that the way CD Projekt is going about attacking pirates is unacceptable. To simply say ‘well, piracy is wrong, so I support CD Projekt in this’ is to miss the point entirely.

    • FabriciusRex says:

      “And (I’ll indulge in some anecdotal evidence here) the vast majority (probably all) of my friends *are* PC gamers thanks to piracy. Or do you believe that in the pre-steam time access to games was easy and cheap for children? Kids who pirate a lot of games and buy the ones they actually afford will eventuall grow up, get a job and money, and pour a shitload more money into the PC industry. So these people aren’t *true* PC gamers?”

      When I was still preadolescence I played copied games on my Amiga 500. That pretty much made love computer games. I am 32 now. I wouldn’t act like a child even if It meant saving me some money. And I am glad your friends share my interest in pc hardware and peripherals.

    • thegooseking says:

      But so long as one side just willfully ignores any rationale, and interprets “it is not theft” as “it is therefore lawful”, then we’ll not get anywhere, because I may as well argue with a tree.

      Exactly that. Let’s use a car analogy, because everyone loves them. Saying “piracy is not theft” is like saying “reckless driving is not drink-driving”. It’s technically true, but no-one would try to justify reckless driving by pointing out that they weren’t drunk.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Sarah83

      No they really can’t. BT trackers intentionally put in random IP addresses to throw off these traces, so you are certain to have innocent IPs; even if you agree that an IP address is a person.

    • MiniMatt says:

      @Sarah83

      They can prove they downloaded the game.

      No, they really can’t. They have, at best, a reasonable initial line of inquiry. They don’t have proof by even the remotest stretch of the imagination.

      By posting on here RPS operators will have your IP (and mine, and everyone else). Now, if they possess the knowhow (and it really isn’t particularly arcane knowhow) said site operators could spoof your IP and / or insert it into trackers and download a game. By your logic, CD Projeckt now can prove you have downloaded the game. Hope you’ve got a spare 900 euros.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      @Sarah83

      I don’t agree that it’s not theft.

      Afraid legal precident (at least in the US) doesn’t agree with you. As far back as 1985 in the case of Dowling v. United States it was ruled that bootleg phonorecords (i.e. music under copyright, copied and stored on physical media, sold for money) did not constitute stolen property and therefore stolen goods laws could not be applied. While “theft” might be used in common parlance, copyright infringement falls under a different set of laws. Not sure what the situation is in Germany, can anyone enlighten us?

      Regardless of that the central issue here, as stated in the article and by other commenters, is that CD Projekt (or people claiming to represent their interests) are essentially extorting people without any meaningful evidence of wrongdoing and without judicial process.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Copying is not stealing because the harm you dish out to the developer by pirating a game THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BOUGHTEN OTHERWISE (important distinction) is the exact same harm you dish out to them by not buying the game or playing the game or having any interest in the game.

      I should at this point say that I do not pirate games, if I’m interested enough in a game to want to play it, then I buy it. Lest anyone think I’m trying to justify my own habits and thus try to skewer my argument that way.

      It is fact that some pirates sometimes pirate things that they would not have paid for had piracy not been an option. It requires only one piece of anecdotal evidence of the friend who pirates more than they could ever play in their lifetime, or more than they could ever afford to prove this, and most people have a story or two like that. It is unclear what the exact numbers are, that is, how many downloads are actually “lost sales,” so it’s pure speculation to try to put a number on the actual damage being done by piracy. However, at least some pirated copies are not lost sales. They were never going to be sales, or perhaps already are sales (people who pirate when they’ve already got the game pre-ordered to get it early. Again, it only takes one piece of anecdotal evidence to prove that this DOES happen, how often is just guesswork however).

      The thing to remember, however is that a lost sale does not necessarily equal (¬[ ]=) theft. If I go to the store, and I’m looking at two movies trying to decide which one to buy, and in the end I buy movie A and not B, then B has lost a sale. They had the opportunity to make money from me, I was a potential sale, but in the end they didn’t. And in deciding against that purchase (and notably then NOT going home and just downloading the movie) I have done as much harm to the company as someone who pirates a game when they could have paid for it. They decided not to buy the thing, and thus became a lost sale. Anyone who decides not to buy something, when they could have, for any reason, is a lost sale.

      This is differentiated from theft, where something that someone actually HAS is taken from them, so that they no longer have it. People don’t “have” all potential future sales of things they have. If they did, then your deciding not to buy something would be theft, but clearly it’s not.

      Where people get all bent out of shape about piracy, and rather understandably, is that there’s a real sense of injustice to someone being able to enjoy something for free that they should have paid for. It feels wrong. And is. That’s why it’s illegal. However, from an actual “what you have done to the person whose thing you downloaded” standpoint, you’ve done nothing different than just not buy or play their game because you don’t think it looks interesting. They’ve lost nothing other that a possible sale, which they lose every time someone who could have bought their game decides not to.

      We get rightfully mad when people pirate, because they should not have for free that which is being asked money for. It’s not the deal we’ve struck with society. Which is why it is a crime, and looked down upon. But it is not theft, because theft isn’t the having of the thing, it’s the taking of the thing. If I shoplift some candy from a store, and immediately throw it in the trash on my way out, it is still theft, because I took it from the store. The store doesn’t have it anymore. No one checks, or cares to check, whether I HAVE candy I’m not supposed to have, it’s whether I took it. You don’t TAKE anything when you copy something, which is why it’s not theft. It’s software piracy.

      This may seem like a whole lot of pointless semantics and pedantry to some of you. You see all this as trying to wiggle out of calling piracy what it really is. It’s people “taking” things that aren’t theirs for free, so it’s theft, plain and simple. The problem with that, is that this pedantry is important. It’s distinct from theft in some non-trivial ways. It is a meaningfully different action, and should be looked at differently. That does not mean it is any less wrong, just like theft and assault are both wrong, but not the same thing. Rights holders are very keen to brand piracy as theft, because it is a shortcut, a rhetorical shortcut. Everyone knows theft is wrong, so call this theft, and you don’t need to convince them that it’s wrong, the work will already be done for you. However, one should always be wary when someone tries to cheat them out of an argument or explanation. If piracy is wrong, let it be wrong for its own reasons, show why it is wrong. There is no need to piggyback it on established nomenclature. The only reason to do so is because you fear that an honest examination of what piracy is will lead people to conclude that it is NOT wrong; let piracy be vilified on its own merits, to do otherwise suggests a weak hand.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I am tempted to scrape RPS and offer it as a ‘free’ RSS feed, no advertisements whatsoever, just to make the point. It’s OK, nothing was stolen, and now your site is so much faster to load!

      The irony here is that someone already did this at least once that I recall. It didn’t cause a massive uproar around these parts. Oh wait no it did to the effect of having it’s own post. Hypocrisy in action.

      Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I have been happily subscribing to RPS for a while now & intentionally never run any form of adblock (and also read at work & home so they get double the ad revenue for me for both IP addresses) & I certainly wouldn’t condone the aforementioned behaviour, I just think the reaction is hilarious when someone takes *your* stuff compared to when it’s someone elses.

    • Unaco says:

      Malibu… do you have a link? Is it still up? I’d be tempted to use it… I run adblock anyway, and there is SOMETHING on the RPS pages that really mess with loading pages, some Reddit widget or Facebook gew-gaw, that I can’t seem to block totally. It means, if I refresh a page I can’t scroll or interact with ALL of the other RPS pages I have open, until the refreshed page is totally loaded (which can take a while).

      An ad and widget free version of RPS would be so much better than the current one… better service, no?

  15. Bungle says:

    Fight the power.

  16. Bluebreaker says:

    It is really CD Projekt?
    Couldn’t be someone impersonating them for easy money?

    • Nethlem says:

      My guess it’s whoever holds the rights to “The Witcher” in germany, these people are usually seperate to the actual developers.

      And in germany something like this is common practice to make extra money, so i wouldn’t be suprised if the german license holder fo The Witcher 2 didn’t even know of CD Project doing all that “removing DRM crap” and i doubt that CD Project knows what kind of people are holding their lincense over here in germany.

  17. Charlie Brown says:

    I don’t have a problem with them doing this.

    Actually, I would be happy if all developers/publishers did this, if it meant the removal of some types of DRM.

    • PodX140 says:

      You know DRM is mainly incorporated so that used game sales / loaning isn’t possible?

      The more you know.

  18. RF says:

    I pirated the game!

    …After buying it on Steam only to find it doesn’t fucking working.

    There’s also THIS as an issue.

  19. Trashcanman says:

    Bought both the collectors edition of the witcher and the premium edition of the witcher 2. With practices like this however I’ll be sure not to buy any further products of them. Any company that thinks blackmailing is a valid business practice can piss off.

  20. datom says:

    Piracy doesn’t represent a lost sale in any meaningful way? I understand this is a rant, but there’s a logical problem in an argument that makes a statement like this and then says it “cannot be proven that were piracy impossible they would have all paid for a copy”. You’ve jumped from saying piracy doesn’t represent lost sales at all to their not being a 1:1 equivalency in pirated copies:lost sales (which is a strawman if ever I saw one). Everyone agrees with the latter; the former is debatable to say the least. You can make the same argument: ‘Sneaking into a cinema doesn’t represent lost sales in any meaningful way, because very few would have paid anyway”. True, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished for it.

    I was an Amiga user at school. I remember when the school pirate left our school, we suddently had to go out and buy games. Frightening times: had to buy three games that term. luckily, a new pirate was found and we could get back to normal. I’m not saying me and my pals buying 9 games a year (rather than out previous 1-2) would have saved the Amiga, but it couldn’t have hurt.

    • Gunde says:

      And suppose that you never had a pirating friend to copy from?

      Would that passion for games have grown into anything at all?

      The simple fact of the matter is that with piracy, the worst possible thing that can happen to the producer of pirated content is *nothing*, nothing at all. If someone pirates content produced by me, it cannot affect me in the slightest, but the potential upside is a something. They may decide that they want to pay me money.

      So, worst case, *nothing*, best case, I get money. Why the fuck do people still believe piracy is a bad thing?

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      The shoplifting argument is obviously flawed because the shoplifted item represents an immediate material loss in addition to any potential lost sale.

    • datom says:

      I don’t believe piracy to be a bad thing. I do believe it results in lost sales.

      I don’t think we have to be overly emotive, but when I lacked access to pirated games, I bought more. I don’t think that’s a radical or ideological position – just for me a fact.

      I used to have access to lost of other guys’s record collections, and copied their CDs all the time. I spent more on conert tickets then, more on albums now I don’t have access. Record companies are rightly concerned with the latter, I think. My spend was more on the industry, but more into the hands of corporate entities now.

    • datom says:

      I knew the shoplifting argument was a bad idea. What I meant by it was simply because there’s no ability to pay, it doesn’t mean the crime is not a crime. Sneaking into the cinema is a much better example.

    • PodX140 says:

      Gunde speaks truth. Kudos to you.

      Datom: Sneaking into a cinema sadly does not apply to piracy. One: You take up a seat that may be able to be sold. Two: You are interfering with the atmosphere of the cinema (packed cinema vs. empty).

      With piracy, you have affected nothing.

    • datom says:

      No. The worst thing that can happen to a publisher is they lose the opportunity of a sale that they otherwise they could have made. That’s pretty clear, no? If I have two options for obtaining a computer game – one for free, one for cash – and I choose the free one, the company has lost its opportunity to make cash, regardless of whether I’d have bought it otherwise. It’s the loss of opportunity.

      People are getting remarkably emotive about this issue. I have no interest in whether piracy is a crime or not, or morally right, or ethically right. These issues are for individuals involved to judge. I do think that it’s fallacious to argue that because there is clearly not a 1:1 relationship between piracy and lost sales it’s ok to suggest there is no relationship whatsoever.

      As long as we presume that any >0% proportion of pirates a) do spend some money on computer games per year and b) play more games than they pay for in a calendar year, we can presume some relationship between piracy and sales. It could even be a positive relationship for the industry – pirates give more money to good games than bad games – but it still means money is being diverted away from individual publishers. There has to be a loser somewhere.

      I don’t care if piracy is good or bad. I do care when a frankly excellent writer like John Walker puts together an argument that lacks logic. It plays into the hands of the publishers who want to see us all as ‘pirate-sympathisers’ and a lunatic fringe that can be ignored when we complain about DRM.

    • PodX140 says:

      You’re making a very large (and frankly wrong) assumption: That you would have payed for it in the first place. The vast majority of pirates I know spend maybe 200 dollars total a year on games, regardless of multiplayer or whatever, it simply comes down to whether they think the game is worth their money, and they won’t buy it without pirating it first. And it’s smart, because they get to see the quality of the game BEFORE they have to pay for it.

      Long story short, don’t assume that because someone downloaded something they would have had enough interest to buy it. 99% of the time that is false.

  21. Nethlem says:

    Oh come on…
    Stuff like this has been going on for nearly 10+ years over here in germany, CD Project/Atarti are not the only one doing this, basicly EVERYBODY is doing it.

    Even right holders to porno movies like to do this kind of shit, they write people “Hey you torrented the file dirtyDONKEYfuck.avi! We Now demand you pay 600€ or we will meet infront of a court and everybody will know you watch donkeyporn!”.

    Over here in germany this has allready gotten so bad that we call it the “Shakedown industry”…
    These people don’t act on any real legal grounds, they are shaking down people in MASSES and just count on a few of them paying.

    And it’s working… a lawyer office who’s notorious for this kind of behavior recently tried to sell a huge bounch of these “outstanding depts” worth around 90 million euro because they can’t handle the flood anymore.

    This business is like priting money and it has NOTHING at all to do with helping developers getting what they deserve. Because the huge majority of shakedowns like this happen to people that never did anything wrong on their own or ended up accepting some shady hidden ToS on a website that now wants them to pay 200€ a year for cooking reciepes.

    The problem is we as customers can’t protect against this kind of bullshit… the content industry has lobbyists all over the place that enabled them to do this kind of bullshit in the first place. And this shit is getting worse year by year while publishers keep telling us gamers “to put up with it” while they use the whole fucking piracy lie as an excuse to rip off people.

    If you want to know more about how crazy this whole licensing and content stuff has gotten over here in germany you should look up the “GEMA” they are basicly the mafia for musicians… but no musician ever asked them to be that…

    I’m all for paying creative people for their work, but the gaming industry has reached a point where greedy assholes profit from the creative work of other people by using it to BLACKMAIL good unsuspecting people who did nothing wrogn. And THAT i can’t stand…

    • Trashcanman says:

      This. It’s blackmail pure and simple. Any company that decides to adopt a business model based on blackmail is not deserving of my money.

  22. WMain00 says:

    It’s actually very difficult to piggyback onto someone else’s network nowadays. Most new installations of wireless networks come pre installed with either WEP or WPA security, with the customer advised on how to use them. Network access has become wizard-one-click based, so many people who are not tech savvy are finding it easier to secure themselves.

    Further more though, actually connecting onto someone’s wireless network from another location is a fairly pointless exercise. You might see the connections on your screen when you’re connecting to your own wireless network, but neighbourhood routers are some distance away and are usually behind brick walls and wood, which would hamper transmission rates, if you’d be able to connect at all.

    Finally most router Firewalls and Windows itself are able to detect the odd computer trying to connect to the router and will either alert the administrator of a new connection, or just bounce it back.

    • Gunde says:

      Yes. Because piggybacking on WEP is clearly impossible…

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      You try living in a shared house and telling all your house-mates they can’t log onto your mega-fast internet, and need to not only buy their own connection, but their own phone line as well, because you don’t want to be held legally responsible for their downloads.

      Try telling that to your girlfriend too. And all your friends who try and use your wi-fi for their phones when they visit.

      Gonna be a cold and lonely place.

    • WMain00 says:

      “Yes. Because piggybacking on WEP is clearly impossible…”

      If you have an exceptional amount of time, a good amount of tools and patience, then hell, knock yourself out. Personally though I imagine for all that hacking you’re putting into trying to access a WEP connection, you’d be better spent just using your own connection.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Although it is true that handling WLANs has become more and more easy recently, it also is quite easy to intrude poorly secured (meaning less than WPA2) systems by sniffing into the encrypted data, have a program look for the snipped containing the (also encrypted) password – EDIT: to gain knowledge about the participants involved in the transfer – and then brute-forcing the (often very simple) password. MAC-filters might help a bit, but MAC-addresses are easily cloned.

      Given the performance capabilities of today’s PCs (see http://www.lockdown.co.uk/?pg=combi&s=articles) one should consider changing passwords regularly.

    • Gunde says:

      ““Yes. Because piggybacking on WEP is clearly impossible…”

      If you have an exceptional amount of time, a good amount of tools and patience, then hell, knock yourself out. Personally though I imagine for all that hacking you’re putting into trying to access a WEP connection, you’d be better spent just using your own connection.”

      It’s not that time consuming, as long as you’ve got two wi-fi cards in a laptop et c.

      But the ease of it is not the point, it’s that the burden of proof is being shifted towards the owner of the wi-fi network proving their innocence. That’s not the way a functioning justice system works.

      An IP address is not personally identifiable and cannot be used for these purposes of blackmail. And if someone breaks the WEP on someones wi-fi and pirates shit, should the owned be sued into oblivion for it?

    • Milky1985 says:

      “If you have an exceptional amount of time, a good amount of tools and patience, then hell, knock yourself out. Personally though I imagine for all that hacking you’re putting into trying to access a WEP connection, you’d be better spent just using your own connection.””

      I believe WEP encyrption is basically pointless now because its been rainbow tabled (and has other security issues to dow ith packet sniffing), so cracking the encryption on it days minutes rather than anything (and can be done while just sitting there).

      WPA 2 is better but certain versions of that are cracked, basically all wireless is possibly breakable atm (given enough time, and enough time here isn’t years its months, unless the new WPA-2 has solved that)

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      On cracking WEP – from a 2007 academic paper.

      Abstract: We demonstrate an active attack on the WEP protocol that
      is able to recover a 104-bit WEP key using less than 40,000 frames with a
      success probability of 50%. In order to succeed in 95% of all cases, 85,000
      packets are needed. [...] On a IEEE 802.11g network, the number of frames required can be obtained
      by re-injection in less than a minute. The required computational
      e ort is approximately 220 RC4 key setups, which on current desktop
      and laptop CPUs is negligible.

      Higher-bit WEP encryption doesn’t help much – the protocol is inherently insecure and computers get more powerful all the time. WPA and WPA2 are better, but no security system is unbreakable.

  23. Artojas says:

    It is perfectly clear to me why people always remember „You will never steel a car“ add, when defending themselves and comparing what’s real, with what’s virtual. They do it, before they usualy does not create anything valuable enough to be stolen this way. It’s rather strange to hear such arguments here, though. If I understand correctly, I’m quite allowed to copy whole content of RPS and dump advertising prices for example. Or maybe release russian version of it. I won’t be taking anything from you, all your content will remain in tact. Russian version won’t even impact your stats. Can I start tommorow?

    „It seemed an all-round sensible way to behave, and despite piracy they sold over a million copies of the game.“ This line is ignorant. All of us know that sales had to be bigger (in general and in comparison), but of course it is not clear in this situation if piracy is to blame. Inexperience in marketing on major markets might be a case as well. But still… There’s lots of pirated Wiedzmins out there.

    Legal pursuing and attempts to take actions is always unpleasant. Even if those are done with strong evidence. For example when taxmen send notices of unpayed taxes and demands cash, nobody feels that they are doing the right thing. Everyone actualy has arguments about how poorly their taxes are being used, and how there’s no reasons to pay up. It’s natural humane reaction, as it’s natural human behaviour to pursue any chance to get cash, you believe is yours. Perhaps CD Project could do it in a more subtle or sensible way, but hey… I wouldn’t go ranting and calling them names, while no one except them is hurt. Because there is a fact that game is pirated and there’s no proof of any legal misconduct.

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      Am I the only one who saw that advert and thought:

      “I would totally download a car!”

    • PodX140 says:

      Reading RPS without ads: Sure, go ahead. Nothing legally wrong with it, and if you don’t feel their writing is worth the advertisements by all means do so. Hell, I have an RSS set up and I admit I often only click the posts I’m interested in. Maybe some people would morally object, but legally? They don’t have a leg to stand on.

      Copying RPS to Russian: Without crediting them, you’ve now commited plagarism, and if you’re profiting off of ads, you’re now also stealing their money that they may have gotten from russian users using Google translate or whatever. Point is, you are now profiting off of their work, and by extension, are losing them money.

      Two VERY different scenarios (Piracy vs Selling pirated copies).

    • Artojas says:

      Torrent sites are usually profiting from add’s and donations, especially those with registered user systems.

      Every person using torrent with upload/download measurements profits from uploading files, since only this way they are allowed to download more.

      By the way it’s pretty much the case in Lithuania where I come from, since our largest torrent sites have registered user system and tracks upload download ratio. They are popular because of speed, you can have whole witcher 2 on your HDD in few minutes, so everyone is downloading everything, especial most popular files. For example non gamer, movie fan might have witcher on his HDD just for seeding, because he needs to level his ratio to download more movies. If you fail to maintain upload/download level you are entitled to „donate“, so by seeding you’re actually saving those „donations“. And I’m pretty much sure it’s more or less the case of profiting in every other case. I don’t believe in some community only interested to share (even what’s not theirs) only because of good will. Pretty much everyone get’s something out of it, perhaps not in cash, but satisfying your needs while using someones work/property is a kind of profiteering too.

  24. mondomau says:

    There was a bit of a shitstorm about this on reddit a few days ago and I got into it with a particularly thick-headed chap that called me all the names under the sun for daring to suggest CD projekt have a right to protect their work and did not, as several people on the thread seemed to believe, give up all rights to their IP by removing the DRM. I was flabberghasted at this bare-faced entitlement and said so. This immediately branded me a a nazi apparently, though I was careful to express my own disgust with the methods CD Projekt have used in this instance.

    My point is this – we must be careful not to mix up why they are doing this with how they are doing it. Otherwise we end up with instances like these kneejerk accusations of RPS being pro-piracy because they do not support such spurious prosecution methods.
    Conversely, the tone of John’s article does at times seem to be implying that CD Projekt have somehow ceded the moral highground to pirates by instigating this (loathsome) practice, which is not a logical argument either.

  25. Xaromir says:

    People whine about high/unfair prices* and DRM, CDP cuts out both, i wonder why people still DL it as a torrent. CDP should sack it and find a better way, i approve of getting to those that seed though.

    *I like to point out that when a game costs 60$ we over here pay 60Eur which is 80$, CDP doesn’t do that.

    • Nethlem says:

      The joke about all this is that most of these people probably didn’t even download it.
      The anti-piracy companies who track down this stuff have a VERY poor record of delivering solid evidence on who did what.

      Problem is: Most people don’t care they did nothing wrong, they see a letter with a 500€ fine threatening them “If you won’t pay this will go to court and we will label our damages as high as 100.000€!” and they get scared and just pay up 500€ even when they know they did nothing wrong.

      Simply because they are scared of facing off infront of a court against a corporation that has unlimited funds while you as a regular citizen have to pay for all your legal fees and the damages are labled as high as 100.000€.

      And yes in theory you might have the law on your side, that is if the right holders didn’t game the system like they allways do.

      All these cases for example allways end up infront of the same few courts and judges, and these judges are known for completly ignoring technical realities because they don’t understand them. So these judges will never question that poor evidence the anti-piracy companies deliver.

      Anybody who thinks this is something “good” or should happen “more often” should read up more on the situation. This whole practice is far from beeing uncontroversial…. but there is so much money in it right now that all the right people are willing enough to just look the other way.

    • Xaromir says:

      I agree. With “they” i meant CDP, i edited that. Well, it’s sad indeed, i also posted in the official forum telling them to cut it out. Threatening people doesn’t do much, aside from ruining their reputation real quick. Sorry if that sounded wrong.

  26. cavalier says:

    This is why you use direct downloads.

  27. winterwolves says:

    You know John, I’m not sure that quoting TORRENFREAK as a reliable source of the theory that “piracy helps sales” is a wise move LOL

    • Belsameth says:

      And Torrentfreak actually links to the source sudy, tho it’s not in english…
      While pro piracy, they actually do cite a source in their claims. Unlike those involved in these silly shakedown attempts.
      Legalized Theft is what it is, regardless of the fact that piracy in itself is wrong as well.

    • John Walker says:

      No, why consider their meticulous and sourced journalism because they keep on doing pesky things like asking questions. Good point.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      I wouldn’t call TorrentFreak meticulous journalism, they present a lot of evidenced points, but they’re not above using logical fallacies or misdirection to support their arguments as well. And I say that as someone who agrees with a lot of what they say.

    • MiniMatt says:

      As pointed out, Torrentfreak quoted a study by the Swiss government:
      http://www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/dam/data/pressemitteilung/2011/2011-11-30/ber-br-d.pdf
      (also available in French and Italian if you can’t read German).

      Now while Torrentfreak may or may not be a biased source, claiming the same of reports commisioned by the Swiss government in this regard is perhaps a little harsh.

    • Starky says:

      Agreeing that there is nothing wrong with quoting torrent freak, sure it may clearly be a biased report (but then ALL news reports are biased – been written by people who have opinions and biases), is often guilty of jumping to the pro-piracy viewpoint – but it doesn’t hide it’s bias and it sites it’s sources.

      Which is all that is needed for any journalism to be considered reliable really – to freely admit any bias and site sources.

  28. monsterZERO says:

    “Again, so you guys personally know a few people who got a letter like this without downloading anything illegally?”

    YES. They exist; I’m one of them. Why do you think this is such a big deal? I live in a house with 4 roomates who each have girlfriends. That’s 8 other people in my house ALL of the time, not to mention their friends. I got a letter saying I downloaded some random porno movie (the internet and phone are in my name). I sure as hell didn’t download it, but I have to take the fall. Not fair.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sagan says:

      So there are three things you can do here:
      1. Either the person responsible steps forward and pays the fine because he is a nice person.
      2. Otherwise if your roommates are cool you should probably split however much the fine was among everyone. Since everyone is sharing the internet connection, it isn’t fair that one innocent person would have to pay this.
      3. If everything fails you cancel the internet and say that you will no longer have the internet under your name and one of your roommates has to do it instead. That may mean that you are without internet until someone is willing to be responsible for it. Just do it. Despite all your fears you will find that you actually can live without the internet for a couple weeks. It just takes some getting used to.

      In any case you shouldn’t just take the fall for someone else doing something illegal with your connection. Whoever was responsible will probably just continue doing what they’re doing if you do. Don’t think that they feel sorry for you having to pay the fine. Since they were pirating stuff in the first place they probably don’t have much of a conscience.

    • mendel says:

      Go talk to an attorney! If you can produce solid evidence that these people use your internet access all the time, yours could be one of those cases with a solid enough defense.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Do these things even work in court? I’d probably just trow the letter in the trash.

    • ankh says:

      Yeah I would just throw the letter in the trash too. I’ve done it before, I got a letter from my ISP saying I’ve downloaded House M.D.. i didnt read any further.

    • PodX140 says:

      Great! He has a solid defense! Now he only needs to pay a lawyer, take time off work, and hope he wins! Nothing wrong here at all!

      I’m sorry, but the sheer- I can’t even speak anymore, I’m unbelievably dissapointed RPS, I thought we had better here.

  29. ulix says:

    Good that I pirate all my games nowadays from One-Click-Hosters :)

    • MichaelPalin says:

      I despise the ethics of people like you! Piracy should be done through P2P, so you are actually “sharing” and promoting a horizontal and democratic transmission of culture. Booh!, I say, booh!

    • ankh says:

      Apartheid

  30. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    Seems pretty reasonable to me. Release the game without DRM so that paying customers won’t be punished. But then go after the people who you catch torrenting.
    It doesn’t even matter whether the pirate represents a lost sale or not. They were doing something illegal. If you believe in copyright, then surely it is fine to fine people for breaking your copyright.

    That they choose to ask people for more than 900€ is a bad move though. I’d be interested in how they come up with that number.

    That they have false positives is also unfortunate. But a) the article presents those accusations without any evidence. Not even a quote from a person saying “I have never even heard of the game,” and b) what are you going to do if you were CD Project? You watch traffic and as far as your evidence is concerned that connection is doing something illegal. You can’t then just sit back and do nothing. There is pretty much no other option except to sue the person who owns that connection.

    As far as I am concerned this is exactly how this should be handled. No DRM for paying customers, but if someone is torrenting, sue them. The only thing that they should have done differently is having a lower fine.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Holding the IP account liable for a crime is no different from prosecuting the owner of a toll road for a traffic offence.

      The logical conclusion of this is that free wifi will become a thing of the past. Is that a good thing?

    • mendel says:

      “it is fine to fine people for breaking your copyright” — no, it is not. They are seeking damages, which is civil law and not criminal law, and they’re supposed to only get those damages that you actually caused (their attroney fees etc. also count as damages). If you’re a bittorrent user on DSL, your torrent upload/download ratio is probably less than 1, so if you downloaded teh whole game, you probably published (unlicensed copy!) even less (mathematically, the average ought to come down to 1:1 for everyone), so the damage should be at most twice the value of the game, plus fees. If CDproject sends out letters to hundreds of users, then tracking fees and the attorney fee to write up that one letter once shouldn’t amount to much. So how are they legitimately claiming €900 in damages, is what I’d like to know.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sagan says:

      @DodgyG33za:
      I don’t think your example makes sense. Here is another one: “Holding the IP account liable for a crime is no different from prosecuting the owner of a disco because someone was openly dealing drugs in his establishment.”
      Which is an example that makes slightly more sense to me. You probably knew what was going on but did nothing to prevent it. Yes, maybe it wasn’t your fault, but chances are you were at least complicit.

      As for free WiFi: The companies that offer free WiFi would not pay the fine and take this to court instead. Where they would say “we have an open WiFi, therefore it wasn’t us,” and they would win in court. This would happen once or twice, then the company that CD Project has hired for this would know not to waste their money suing places that host free WiFi.
      Also most companies that offer free WiFi don’t set it up themselves. I don’t know much about network administration, but for example at my old school bit torrent was blocked. I imagine the companies who set up WiFi for businesses would also know how to do that. Yes, there are probably ways around that, but most people won’t know how to do that.

      @mendel:
      I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. How do you calculate the damages when it comes to copyright? Let’s say I post an article from a website with a paywall somewhere else. How do you even calculate how much money that caused in damages? What about copying an article from a website that makes money through advertising? If I do it repeatedly you may eventually be able to prove that I cost them a couple dollars. But you probably will want to be able to do something against me way before that.

      Also what about punishing the person who committed the crime? If I can only sue for the value of the game plus fees, then you have pretty much just purchased the game for a little extra. (assuming mass mailing of this stuff so fees aren’t a lot) In that case there is an incentive to pirate the game because I get it for free, with a small chance of having to pay the full retail price because that is the most that I can be sued for.

    • scorcher24 says:

      DodgyG33za

      In Germany, the owner of the Internet Account can be held liable. It is called “liability for interference”, roughly translated. He might get not get a penalty from a court when it is about criminal law (since copyright infringments are a criminal act in Germany), if he can bring evidence that it was a child in the household or someone else using the wide open WLAN, but he might have to pay the fee and be held reliable in civil law.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Sagan

      The unfortunate fact is that the methods they use to find these IPs will ALWAYS return some IPs that didn’t download anything. BT trackers intentionally put these innocent IPs in to defend against copyright enforcers.

    • mendel says:

      @Sagan : If you stole a car, the most you would be liable for was the cost of the car – if you gave it back, the incidental cost of not having the car for a few days. That’s what you’d get in civil court; you’d get fined in criminal court.

      So if I produced 3 unlicesensed copies of your software, the maximum damage seems pretty clear to me.

      If you post an article from a site with a paywall, the damage is usually what you would have paid for a license to repost; failing that, it shouldn’t be more than the number of pageviews times the page price, don’t you think?

      If you want to punish the person who commits the crime — if there is a crime, last I heard violating copyrights privately, without intent to gain from it, isn’t much of one — you need to apply criminal law. Personally, I want the people charged with administering criminal law to spend their efforts on more important matters.

    • Josh W says:

      Hang on a second, Bit torrent trackers put random non-participating IP addresses in?

      If that’s true, then the link cannot be assured. You might not be the person referred to. You could be “framed”. Doesn’t that count as reasonable doubt?

  31. ronniecross says:

    Whilst I myself am not a pirate, this is terrible practice! I mean, ok. So firms go after pirates, that’s a given. But CDProjekt, through numerous press releases were practically encouraging it! Yes, they did announce before hand that they would release it DRM free and later go after those who have pirated it. But this wasn’t highly publicised by the media – ok, can’t blame them for what the media publicise – but nor was it highly publicised by themselves.

    What WAS publicised were numerous claims at several points that they feel unharmed by the pirates due to the sales that they actually ARE getting (I think the above statement, “It cannot be proven that were piracy impossible they would have all paid for a copy, and it is of course obviously nonsense that they all would.” expresses this well) whilst being able to assure that the quality of the game isn’t dented by the effects of DRM.

    The whole article does actually make me think this was a very well thought out scheme by CDProjekt to make a fast load of cash. What they have failed to realise is that a fast cash boost is in opposition to a constant cash stream, and this could severely affect their future.

    I personally haven’t purchased… or downloaded The Witcher 2, though was planning to do so at some point when I have the finances to do so (sometime after christmas) purely through word of mouth and inspiration by their ways of thinking forward about how DRM punishes the buyers more than the pirates. Personally the game had no appeal to me – I’d have given it a go, but it would have been more of a ‘kudos’ purchase.

    On second thoughts, scrap that.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Bozzley says:

    For a company that made a website that sells old games without DRM and with bundled extras to entice purchases, going after suspected pirates by demanding relatively vast amounts of cash shows a distinct lack of using the imagination they clearly have available. Surely they can think of a better way of getting more customers? Or is GOG getting too popular and they want to lose some of the goodwill they’ve accrued up to now?

    Thinking about it (and please feel free to correct me if I’m spouting bullshit); isn’t one of the benefits of buying off GOG is all the extras you get with each game? If pirates gonna pirate, why not sell Witcher 2 with the bonus bells and whistles, and ask the torrent sites to remove any torrents that have them bonuses included? That way, pirates get the basic game only, customers get the game and bells and possibly whistles too, and CD Projekt / GOG get to see just how many more customers they get when trying to turn pirates into customers nicely.

  33. Apples says:

    I pirated the game because everyone was raving about it and I didn’t like it. Got rid of it after playing for a few hours. Glad I didn’t pay for it! That’s why this kind of thing will end up punishing people for the company’s own mistake (i.e. not releasing a proper demo).

  34. Trashcanman says:

    Frankly I am amazed that CD Project decided to go ahead with this ponzi scheme. It’s a great way to sour customer relations and create a public relations nightmare. Not to mention what this will do to their reputation.

    No. I am not against devs defending against piracy. I am however against devs using dodgy legislation to take part in what has become a homegrown German industry. The shaking down of people through legal threats. Its blackmail. Pure and simple.

  35. Premium User Badge

    grobitbox says:

    I dont realy care about the whole “the ip addreas may not be that of a pirate” argument, the fact is that threatening anyone with such a large fee, even a “pirate”, is a horrible thing to do. What bad thing have “pirates” done to deserve such a thing anyway? They have chosen not to pay and thats their choise. They have not made a positive or negative effect on the company.

  36. PodX140 says:

    Mr. John Walker, you deserve more than a beer, you deserve a damned keg for your ability to stand up to the sheer idiocy surrounding piracy and the stupid practice of charging 100x the value of a single product.

    Sorry to tell everyone, but a pirated copy is NOT a lost sale. God knows how many hypothetical pirated copies of games that I would legally own I would store, due to fears of drm and whatnot. And you would call me a thief/lost sale?

  37. MichaelPalin says:

    Wow!, a game journalism site mentioning that Swiss study on the effects of piracy. My respect for RPS has increased a few points right now.

    By the way, “According to his own accounting some 4,5 million copies were shared on BitTorrent alone. Although this is a few million more than TorrentFreak’s tracking systems report…” Anybody knows what the TorrentFreak tracking system is about?

  38. Zeewolf says:

    I really wish you hadn’t waded into the dumb debate about what piracy is and isn’t. It takes away focus from the main issue, which is the awful practice CD Projekt are employing to “fight” piracy.

    Though I did like the final bit, which I’ll “quote for truth”:

    “This is a grotesque practice, and one that seemed to be waning after the disgusted reaction from the masses in 2008, which saw Atari (publishers of The Witcher) eventually backing down from their actions. To hear that CD Projekt may be pulling the same awful scheme is a tragedy. They should back out of it immediately, and apologise, to save any face they still have.”

    I haven’t visited GOG since I found out about this. I’m not planning on boycotting them forever, but I’ll think twice before buying from them until CD Projekt publicly states that they’ve stopped doing this, (and preferably adds that they’re sorry they were such shitheads in the first place).

    • monsterZERO says:

      “I haven’t visited GOG since I found out about this. I’m not planning on boycotting them forever, but I’ll think twice before buying from them until CD Projekt publicly states that they’ve stopped doing this, (and preferably adds that they’re sorry they were such shitheads in the first place).”

      Same here. Well said…

  39. RevStu says:

    Oh for god’s sake put a sock in it, you embarrassing bunch of pious, goody-two-flippers wankers who’ve never broken a law in your lives.

    Piracy does NOT damage the videogames industry. Never has, never will. It’s a flat-out myth. Videogames have never been more pirated than they are now (did you ever see a bootleg Atari VCS cart?), yet the videogames industry is vastly larger and generates vastly more money every year.

    The only even vaguely serious practical research ever done into piracy suggested that the number of “lost sales” is approximately ONE for every THOUSAND pirated copies.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17350

    And if your company goes bust because it only got 99.9% of the money it would have made if there was no piracy, then it would also have gone bust if your second graphics artist got the flu and missed two days of work. Shut the fuck up.

    • AbyssUK says:

      I agree you you, man every other industry has to deal with shit much bigger than this, that causes much more damage… perhaps you know game companies could stop paying your designers so much money and stop making such fancy offices… then shit you’ve recovered your money already!

    • Premium User Badge

      Sagan says:

      Well but this is in an environment where piracy is illegal.
      I believe that if the stigma attached to piracy was less strong, the situation would change drastically. Many more people would pirate games and you would start losing way more sales. I think that once people start thinking “piracy doesn’t really hurt sales” more people will pirate games.

      Also the analysis is missing reasons for why so few pirates would otherwise buy the game. If you discover that for every 1000 pirates playing your game, only 1 would have bought it, I’d be really curious about those numbers. What is the reason for why the other 999 people didn’t buy the game? Obviously they were interested enough in your game to play past the free trial. So why aren’t they interested enough in buying it?

      Wasn’t it Valve who said that if you offer better service than the pirates, a lot of people will actually buy the game? I mean if that is the reason that pirates aren’t converted to purchasers, then those people are potential customers.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      This is one of my standard riffs, so apologies for people who’ve heard it before.

      That 1000-1 research shows absolutely no details of how they reached the 1000-1 figure. As far as we know, they could have pulled that number out of thin air. If it was saying there was a 1-1 results, the comments threads would have tore it to pieces, but since it supports the argument it’s entirely unexamined.

      (If memory serves, the figure emerged circa the World of Good Piracy is 92% (and later, extremely conservatively 82%) number turned up. That one was torn to pieces for anything in its methodology, whilst the 1000-to-1 figure has never had a serious critique I’ve ever seen)

      Generally speaking, the industry is hopelessly pro piracy-is-a-problem and the consumers who actually *care* are hopelessly pro piracy-isn’t-a-problem. I wish there were commentators interested digging into both sides of the debate with equal determination.

      KG

    • Guvornator says:

      @ Kieron Gillen Well said. Personally I think the games industry fucked up big style when they decided to make the issue about game sales numbers. Regardless of whether or not that’s the issue, it made them look greedy. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, only 4% of video games actually make a profit*, which is why they’re after the lost earnings from piracy, which are potentially substantial. There is a vast market for pirated software outside the western hemisphere and not all of it goes to folks who are interested in making an (relatively) honest buck. THAT to me is a better reason to avoid piracy.

      *according to the industry and I’ve no idea if they’re including freeware games, which would obviously skew the figures

    • mendel says:

      Kieron, did you catch teh followup article on Gamasutra (linked to in the comments of the article cited above) where Reflexive gave more of the numbers? They’re also “the industry”, not the gamers, so your assignment of sides on the issue and who provides which numbers is not very accurate.

  40. Sinnorfin says:

    Also, downloading torrents is not allways illegal, i could’ve downloaded the witcher 2′s warez version because a site said that it is free..in this time of free things i could’ve believed it is a free version..How could they know that when i saw that it needs cracking and whatever i did not delete it?
    Also how do they know if i even unpacked it from the rar? or even knew what’s inside Rld-Wthc2.rar?
    or what an .iso file is?

    Not that i am not fully aware of all of this myself , but i can picture lamers download something like this.

    • mendel says:

      “i could’ve downloaded the witcher 2′s warez version because a site said that it is free.” — If you have a dated screenshot of that site, the judge might even believe you. If you have no evidence, why should he?

    • PodX140 says:

      And why is it that he must show he is innocent? I thought it was innocent until proven guilty? The accuser should have to prove that the above case was NOT the case, not the other way around.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Pod

      All the accuser has to do is prove you committed the crime. He doesn’t have to prove that you didn’t have a good reason for it.

    • mendel says:

      @podX140: “Innocent until proven guilty” is a rule from criminal cases. We’re talking about a civil action, where different rules apply. The plaintiff needs to show he suffered a damage, and that you wree liekly the one who caused it (prima facie evidence). To defend yourself, you need to explain how you were likely not to blame for it: in this case, you’d need to actually be able to show the site and convince the judge that you had teh impression it was a legal copy. However, if the plaintiff show that somebody offered teh game via bittorrent, and which IP offered it, then they’ll already have shown the damage, i.e. somebody distributed their game without a license. Typically, they’ll have received a hash of that torrent from the torrent user, and then they’ll connect the IP of that user with an actual subscriber, and that’ll be enough prima facie evidence that probably the subscriber caused this damage. The burden of proof then shifts to the defendant to show that he didn’t do it, or rather that somebody else could equally likely have done it.

      Don’t get your legal eductaion from TV, even Wikipedia works better in that respect!

  41. JCJensen says:

    Actually, a car analogy is completely wrong when it comes to stealing video games. Car as a product is an object, a physical form, while a video game can be classified as an entertainment; in marketing product is classified in many forms, like a service, information, you can sell an event (concert for instance), even a person (Elvis Presley name is selling millions even after his death, and his name is copyright)..

    You can easily put a similar analogy with a visit to the Disneyland: if you jump over the fence, you wont be arrested because you didn’t pay for the ticket as a piece of paper, but because you consumated the entertainment inside without paying for it. DVD cases, and discs itself, have no value, it’s just a way of transporting what’s important, a content inside it, and when someone consumate it without paying, he is stealing..

    Also, I don’t agree with the thought that a pirated copy doesn’t equal lost sale. I know at least ten persons who would’ve bought Witcher 2, if they could not have it for free..

    P.S. Sorry for my english. I was in a hurry..

    • Belsameth says:

      10 people is a rather small sample group. Even besides the fact that it’s actually already widely proven to be untru. The fact that a download = a lost sale, I mean.

  42. Nim says:

    Would it not be a better idea to simply make the pirates customers instead?

    This entire situation seems like a PR-killer because anyone even receiving these letters are going to talk shit about CD-project for quite some time. This move even makes paying customers talk shit about the company. The amount brought in from these pirates in this manner have to make up for the future potential loss of customers resulting from this move.

    A much better solution even if blackmail letters had to be sent out would be to demand that the alleged pirates purchase and show proof of a legal copy of the game instead. Such a move would have been fair. Instead of paying 1000+$ or similar or going to court the pirate would have paid like anyone else, received a legal copy in return and there would be a ton less shit-talking about CD-project.

    EDIT:
    Furthermore, I pirated both Witcher 1 and Witcher 2. Since then The Witcher EE box set rests in my drawer which I paid 50€ for and The Witcher 2:Assassins of Kings is found in my steam library which cost 30€. Am I a filthy pirate or a paying customer? Should I get one of these letters as well?

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      “A much better solution even if blackmail letters had to be sent out would be to demand that the alleged pirates purchase and show proof of a legal copy of the game instead. ”
      All that really changes is the amount they are extorting. The complaint here is that innocent people are being threatened. Changing “pay €900 to settle” to “pay €40 for this game” doesn’t make it any better, when the person is innocent.

    • Nim says:

      Yes, innocents should not be made to pay a single cent. The manner how guilt is determined is up to the company trying to send out these letters. I could have been more specific earlier. What I proposed should only affect those who can be proven guilty without any doubt of downloading and using the product without a valid license.

  43. Nighthood says:

    Boy, I sure am glad all developers release demos, otherwise we wouldn’t be sure if we could run/enjoy certain games!

    Wait, they don’t? Oh.

    Boy, I’m really looking forward to game X!

    Wait, it’s on steam, and steam is blocked in my college. Oh.

    I pirate, and feel no regret.

  44. playthatfunkytuba says:

    It’s the claimed fee that really kills me when I read stuff like this – if it IS a lost sale (not my own opinion, I hasten to add), why not just demand the price of the game at release?

    EDIT: @Nim got there first…

    • Nim says:

      When you alone come up with an original idea, it’s often a stupid one.
      When you and many others come up with the same idea, it’s often a brilliant one.

    • Apples says:

      I think the reasoning behind charging silly amounts of money is that the pirates were sharing (uploading) as well as downloading. Therefore they are not only responsible for one lost sale of however-many-euros, they are partially responsible for many many others as well.
      It doesn’t really make sense because you only upload part of the game, unless you seed properly (nobody does this come on) so arguably you have just uploaded some gibberish data. But they don’t see it that way.

      edit: well that’s not the whole reason obviously, part of it is just to try and scare people.

    • NathanH says:

      It makes sense to require more money that would have been paid to acquire the product as a penalty. The option “pay for the game” is clearly dominated in money terms by “pirate the game and pay for the game only if you’re caught”, so it’s reasonable to want to make the penalty higher. Maybe not as high as they are going, though. You shouldn’t be able to get away with saying “OK, you caught me being crooked, but I paid it all back now so that’s fine”. Unless you’re a Member of Parliament, then that seems to be OK.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I woudl agree with some of hte people below saying it should be a bit more than the cost of hte game (to stop the peopel who will say “i’ll download and just pay if caught”)

      But it should be that, a bit more than the cost of the game ,maybe the game cost x2! Not the game cost x 200 which seems to be the current asking price.

      Oddly if they looked into the cost of these things they would probably get a better return on there letters if they lowered the cost :P

  45. Skyhigh says:

    Dont know if this has been posted before but as far as I know in germany, the companies who think they have been pirated and their lawyers, take the case to court right away, then they convince the court that the “pirate” has pirated commercially, meaning the pirate is making money with the stuff he downloaded, even though it is clear that is not the case. Then they blackmail the “pirate”.

    In germany there has been a court ruling from 2008 or so that says that the maximum amount of money that can be charged from someone who did not pirate for commercial reasons (or downloaded a single song/movie) is around 100€, in order to protect the people from this ridiculous blackmailing scheme.
    The companies that feel pirated circumvent this ruling by saying the “pirate” downloaded for commercial reasons and the courts in germany always seem to follow this argumentation, although, as I said above, in most cases it is clear the “pirate” did not download stuff to sell it on the blackmarket or whatever. So when using bittorrent, one usually has to upload in order to download, and what they use as evidence that the pirate is pirating commercially is data that shows he was uploading stuff, even if it was only for a minute with 10kb/s.
    So it is a money making scheme in my opinion and many people also download stuff they already own on DVD/CD, but it is the uploading part that gets the companies who try to protect the copyright of their product all excited, at least in germany as far as I know.

  46. SentientNr6 says:

    If I would pirate I would pirate content I wouldn’t buy anyway. And some content that I buy I don’t even play.

    What’s ironic in this case is that I bought the Witcher 1 but stopped playing it due to its sloppy inventory management and an announced patch that would fix that. When the patch was released you had to register. Mhmm no fun. But also a problem because my box didn’t contain a registration code. (ordered via play.com) So I contacted Atari, the publisher, never heard anything.
    Moral of the story: I bought a game from CDProjekt and got screwed, but do I threaten to take legal action? Of course not: I am a reasonable guy. Unlike this company. (Ok I am also a small guy with limited power, who alone cannot achieve anything against companies, and it only cost me 35€)

    Anyway Never considered Witcher 2.

    As a software developer myself I have no love for Pirates but the practice on display here is loathsome.

    • NathanH says:

      You didn’t really get screwed though, did you? The Witcher was a perfectly serviceable game before the extended edition patch. Let’s try to be reasonable shall we.

  47. Rudel says:

    I bought the game legally (loved it btw) but people who use torrents today to download stuff do not deserve better… it’s like shoplifting stuff and leaving your ID in the store.

    • Tams80 says:

      Only that ID could be the ID of the one of the old couple down the road, or anyone else.

    • greenbananas says:

      Only that stuff you shoplifted would still be in the store after you took it.

      For Pete’s sake, you’re a smart person, you know how electronic devices work well enough that you can use one to post a message on RPS, now can you please stop doing the copyright owner’s “job” in trying to perpetuate this idiotic notion that copying equals theft?

  48. Maldomel says:

    I’m surprised to hear of such a case from one of my favorite studio. I mean, they’re asking for a lot, and considering the whole IP stuff where you can have free wifi from unsecured networks, I don’t know if it can go far. Also, that is one way of shooting yourself in the foot, by passing for the bad guys here.

    I don’t defend piracy, I have downloaded illegaly many games in my days (but I stopped for several personal reasons unrelated to the rights and wrongs of being a pirate), but this kind of stuff is a bit extreme, and won’t really solve anything at all…

  49. kuddles says:

    What is it called if you take someone’s car out overnight and return it to them the next day in the same condition you found it? Theft. What if you copied a corporation’s ideas for a new product but left all the blueprints and plans in their office. Theft.

    Piracy is stealing, and stating otherwise is ridiculous. But then, so is saying “piracy is not a lost sale”, which I don’t understand how anyone can continue saying that without their brain bubbling out of their head. Yes, if tomorrow pirating movies, music and games were impossible, I’m sure millions of people who push the piracy-to-sales ratios unbelievably high would just say “Well, I guess I’m not going to watch any movies, listen to any music or play any games anymore.”

    Also laughable is the incredibly poorly researched “study” that torrent sites love to quote, which just shows that defenders of piracy will throw any excuse at the wall in hope that it will stick. “Pirates would never have bought the game anyways! Also, they actually do buy more games than regular consumers do as well! That’s totally not contradictory, and we know it’s true because we asked pirates who weren’t anonymous and they said they totally purchase things all the time!” Give me a fucking break.

    • Sic says:

      Not only do you provide completely ridiculous examples/analogies that has no merit in this discussion, you’re even blatantly wrong about what “theft” is.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      if i break into an authors house and steal the only copy/manuscript for a new novel he has written, that is theft.

      if i break into his house and photocopy that manuscript and leave (leaving behind the original), that is copyright infringement.

      same thing with games.

      THEFT is to deprive someone of their property permanently.

      edit.
      ignoring the breaking and entering part obviously!

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      “Piracy is stealing, and stating otherwise is ridiculous.”

      Stating otherwise is pointing out the FACT that they are treated differently legally. Most of the people pointing this out don’t claim that this makes it okay, just that it makes it different, and that difference should be accepted if we are to have a useful debate.

      “That’s totally not contradictory”

      Can you point out how it is contradictory? Pirating something is not mutually exclusive with purchasing it. The argument is that the greater exposure to content made possible by piracy leads to people being aware of the quality of something they might otherwise have been unaware of and purchasing it. Do you have any evidence to oppose this other than baseless assertion?

    • Deano2099 says:

      “What is it called if you take someone’s car out overnight and return it to them the next day in the same condition you found it? Theft.”

      Err, no actually. In the UK it’s called TWOC or Taking Without Consent, and is an entirely different crime to theft. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWOC

    • kud13 says:

      As a second-year law student, I can competently inform you that majority of elected law-making bodies around the world tend to use different words to define “theft” and “copyright infringement”

      Copyright infringement ==piracy
      Copyright infringement=/=theft

      therefore

      piracy=/=theft.

  50. Persus-9 says:

    I really hate this tactic. DRM hurts people who pay for the product a little but those people have a vested interest as consumers in the health of the games industry so I’m willing to put up with it as long as it doesn’t get too insane like requiring an internet connection for sp. This tactic on the other hand hurts a few people who are completely innocent and completely unconnected to industry very badly. The few non-tech savvy people who receive this letter out of the blue without having pirated the game are entirely innocent and they should not be subjected to trauma of threats of legal action for crimes they don’t understand.

    There will also be two other classes of people who are hurt by this those are child pirates and their parents. I would imagine a great deal of piracy is done by children in their early teens, now I’m not saying parents don’t have a moral responsibility to know what their kids are doing on the net but the fact is that it is a very hard challenge for a lot of the non-tech savvy parents of tech savvy kids. I don’t yet have children but thinking about it I’m daunted by the prospect of how to protect them without grossly violating their privacy, restricting their freedom to much or turning looking through browser histories into a full time job. It doesn’t seem fair that some parents are going to receive this entirely disproportionate letter when their only crime was not understanding technology and having a child who understands technology well enough to do something which although in many cases wrong is widely considered morally acceptable by their peer group.