CD Projekt Is Going Nuclear On Alleged Pirates

CD Projekt has gone on record (and still believes, apparently) that DRM only winds up hurting legitimate customers while doing nothing to prevent piracy. That’s obviously true, which is why it was unquestionably good when they took the DRM out of Witcher 2. However, in the months since doing so, as piracy has increased dramatically, they’re pissed, and they’re letting their freak flag fly.

Torrent Freak broke the news. It seems CD Projekt’s new anti priacy plan involves tracking torrent usage to identify those who appear to have illegally downloaded or shared Witcher 2, then billing the sh*t out of them. Suspected pirates, numbering in the thousands, have received letters from CDP lawyers offering them the chance to settle their ‘debt’ for stealing Witcher 2 by forking over a very reasonable €911.80, or approximately $1230.00 for those of you still using American currency.

Note, these aren’t people convicted in a court of law for piracy, they’re people CD Projekt merely suspects of having done so. To make matters worse, the trace works by looking through IP addresses which is kind of useless unless you’re using some kind of sci fi tech that hasn’t been invented, since many people can access the interwebs through a single IPA. The result: “Aside from targeting many people who indeed downloaded and shared the game without paying, CD Projekt’s lawyers are also wrongfully accusing people who have never even heard of the game.” Damn.

Naturally, this is producing some outrage. CD Projekt has responded via Eurogamer with a statement that

As you know, we aren’t huge fans of any sort of DRM here at CD Projekt RED. DRM itself is a pain for legal gamers – the same group of honest people who decided that our game was worth its price, and went and bought it. We don’t want to make their lives more difficult by introducing annoying copy protection systems.

Moreover, we always try to offer high value with our product – for example, enhancing the game with additional collectors’ items such as soundtracks, making-of DVDs, books, walkthroughs, etc. We could introduce advanced copy protection systems which, unfortunately, punish legal customers as well. Instead, we decided to give gamers some additional content with each game release, to make their experience complete.

However, that shouldn’t be confused with us giving a green light to piracy. We will never approve of it, since it doesn’t only affect us but has a negative impact on the whole game industry.

“We’ve seen some of the concern online about our efforts to thwart piracy, and we can assure you that we only take legal actions against users who we are 100 per cent sure have downloaded our game illegally.”

Hoookay. But how is it possible to be 100% sure when there hasn’t been anything resembling a law enforcement investigation or legal trial? “We’re addressing only 100% confirmed piracy causes,” Michal Nowakowski, CD Projekt VP of Business Development told PC Gamer. “We are not worried about tracking the wrong people.” Oh, well that’s good. How, pray tell, are they so certain? “As this is the trade secret of the company working on this,” Nowakowski continued, “I cannot share it. However, we investigated the subject before we decided on this move, and we aware of some past complications (the famous Davenport case). The method used here is targeting only 100% confirmed piracy cases. No innocent person was targeted with the letter so far. At least we have not received any information as of now which would indicate something like that.”

So there you go. Based on an investigation using secret techniques they refuse to disclose, they are 100% certain they’ve located evildoers and thus, can inflict punishment on them without the benefit of a trial. I’ve checked and I have not been able to find any proof that CD Projekt has any connection to the Levin/McCain amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, but this is proof that they’d have a really great future in Washington.

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11 Comments on CD Projekt Is Going Nuclear On Alleged Pirates

Luther

On December 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm

From what im guessing, when you load the game it logs your ip so if you pirate the game and you are online while playing then they know your ip, using that ip and matching it with torrent ip’s if they catch two matching then they probably use that pair of ip’s as Proof.

Plus you have dates and times at which you’re ip’s are logged on so they have a mountain of information piling up maybe?

Ron Whitaker

On December 16, 2011 at 5:52 am

@Luther – I’m not sure they’re using IPs. After all, they are such an unreliable identifier with the vast number of people who are not on a static IP. I’m sure that whatever they’re using, we’ll all hear about it once one of these cases goes to court.

MAdMaN

On December 16, 2011 at 6:04 am

Yet again a completely unreasonable amount to pay for pirating something. The game only costs $40, yet they’re charging over 30x more.

G.A.R.B.A.G.E

On December 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

I agree MAdMaN. The game has been as low as $19.95 USD on D2D. CD Projekt has just gone from being a respected developer by me(for removing DRM), to being on my list.

Maybe they’d like to just go ahead and charge everyone $2460.00 for not pirating or buying or playing their game period?

And what happens when people wait for the inevitable $2.50 Witcher 2 sale in the years to come? Do they come in after the fact and demand those people pay $4920.00 for waiting for a $2.50 sale?

Robin

On December 16, 2011 at 10:16 am

I’m very against pirating games, and I’ve been on these forums saying so, but I don’t know what is the point of CD Projekt doing this. Obviously they have no legal strength for billing people, so I don’t know why they would think charging something unreasonable would be the way to go. If they’re going to bill people, why not put it at $50 bucks? Or $60 or whatever. For all I know, some of those pirates may have bought the game at one of the bargain prices that have been floating about at a later time. In any case, they’re not going to get any money doing what they’re doing, nor are they building good will.

In the end, though, Witcher 2 is a great game and there are many bargains available right now, and I encourage pirates and non-pirates to get themselves a copy. You’ll have fun!

JD

On December 17, 2011 at 6:38 am

After removing the DRM “piracy has increased dramatically” ?

Care to substantiate that, or even link to something that so much as insinuates it? You link to something that does nothing to back that claim in any way whatsoever.

Nevermind that it doesn’t make any sense at all since the DRM was rendered useless before they removed the DRM, obviously.

Ross Lincoln

On December 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

Sorry for being unclear. I was referring to the fact that Witcher 2 has been pirated more than 4 million times. I was not, however, blaming the lack of DRM, and I apologize for implying causation when in fact I was merely pointing our correlation.

Ross Lincoln

On December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Also, if it isn’t clear, I am anti DRM.

Shock2k11

On December 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

G.A.R.B.A.G.E you’re just as your name says garbage but also an idiot

Shock2k11

On December 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Garbage seriously, get a life if you think pirating the game is alright when the game is really great you’re one sick puppy. People would of bought the game one way or the other because it is a work of art!

You’re on my “ list”

Red Menace

On December 18, 2011 at 12:07 am

EURO SUCKS! USA! USA! USA!