CD Projekt Red, developer of the Witcher 2, can’t seem to make up its mind about how they want to combat piracy. Soon after the Witcher 2 was released, they announced that they were removing all DRM from the title, saying that although piracy is obviously an issue for them, they believed that DRM was eventually pointless, as it would be cracked at some point, and inconvenienced the fans. Many gamers agreed, and the dev certainly got quite a boost of popularity for that.
In December, though, CD Projekt Red began tracking down supposed pirates of the game and threatening legal action if they didn’t pay up a large sum (over $1000). This smacked of blackmail to a lot of people, and some of the people they were targeting weren’t guilty of anything. Predictably, the internet and the gaming community in general wasn’t too happy with that, and let their discontent be known.
The latest episode in this saga came out today, when co-founder Marcin Iwinski released a statement saying that CD Projekt Red plans to stop this system of contacting alleged pirates and demanding money. It’s a step back into everyone’s good graces, but is it enough? Read the press release below and see what you think.
An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.
Being part of a community is a give-and-take process. We only succeed because you have faith in us, and we have worked hard over the years to build up that trust. We were sorry to see that many gamers felt that our actions didn’t respect the faith that they have put into CD Projekt RED. Our fans always have been and remain our greatest concern, and we pride ourselves on the fact that you all know that we listen to you and take your opinions to heart. While we are confident that no one who legally owns one of our games has been required to compensate us for copyright infringement, we value our fans, our supporters, and our community too highly to take the chance that we might ever falsely accuse even one individual.
So we’ve decided that we will immediately cease identifying and contacting pirates.
Let’s make this clear: we don’t support piracy. It hurts us, the developers. It hurts the industry as a whole. Though we are staunch opponents of DRM because we don’t believe it has any effect on reducing piracy, we still do not condone copying games illegally. We’re doing our part to keep our relationship with you, our gaming audience, a positive one. We’ve heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we’re responding to them. But you need to help us and do your part: don’t be indifferent to piracy. If you see a friend playing an illegal copy of a game–any game–tell your friend that they’re undermining the possible success of the developer who created the very game that they are enjoying. Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won’t be able to produce new excellent titles for you.
Keep on playing,
CD Projekt RED