Despite selling over a million copies of “Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” worldwide and releasing the title DRM free, CD Projekt’s copyright lawyers are now targeting BitTorrent pirates.
Most video games include some form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to protect the code from being easily copied, hacked and released on BitTorrent web sites for free download. CD Projekt, the makers of “Witcher 2”, removed the DRM altogether in a move that appeared to support the game’s piracy.
CD Projekt’s Agnieszka Szostak stated, “we will track illegal file-sharing, [in the hope that] people will find the game good enough to actually change their mind and be willing to pay for it”. This seemed to support the methodology that Valve has taken, where lots of software is given to consumers for free in the hope that the gamers’ allegiance will earn them sales later on down the line.
But this could not be further from the truth, as CD Projekt has begun a devious phishing campaign through their copyright lawyers in the hopes of strong-arming game pirates to pay heavy fines for the PC game.
CD Projekt has acquired the services of a torrent tracking company and a law firm, and they have begun sending out threatening letters to unsuspecting IP address owners that might or might not have downloaded “Witcher 2” illegally. In the last few months thousands of alleged BitTorrent users in Germany were asked to cough up 911,80 euros ($1230) to pay off their supposed debt to the [game] company.
The total amount of BitTorrent downloads of “Witcher 2” could number as much as 4.5 million unpaid copies, and that is a lot of potential targets for CD Projekts new campaign. The company could even make more money through threats than actual games sold, if their “pay up or else” scheme is successful.