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.