CD Projekt Shakes Down Suspected File Sharers

from the good-guys-dumb-move dept

Earlier in the month, we shared a bit about CD Projekt and how, despite its game, The Witcher 2, being pirated more than 4.5 million times (its back of the envelope calculation), it still stands by its decision to never put DRM on its games. CD Projekt is one of those few rare major developers that understand PC gamers and what they want in gaming. With this philosophy in mind, it really boggled my mind when I learned of what it has done next. CD Projekt is following in the footsteps of Righthaven and other copyright trolls and is suing individual file sharers.

I really can’t figure out what is running through the minds of those in charge. These are the guys who have built up tremendous goodwill with PC gamers through Good Old Games and games like The Witcher. It knows that if it provides quality games that work and don’t harm legitimate customers, people will pay. So why would they go through the trouble of suing file sharers? We all know how that is working out for other copyright trolls. CD Projekt only seems to be targeting European file sharers, where these kinds of shakedown attempts have flopped even worse than in the US. Either way, you would think that CD Projekt would at least learn from the mistakes of others pulling the same stunt.

Not only is this move baffling for such a company, it still has the same flaws that other mass infringement lawsuits hold, that of sending shake down letters to innocent parties. The letters are being sent based on information gleaned from an IP address. This is an extremely flawed method of identifying an infringer as IP addresses can be spoofed, network connections can be “borrowed” and even innocent people’s computers can be hijacked by bot networks. With all these flaws in the method and the danger of losing goodwill with and respect from gamers, what is there to be gained? I guess when there is money on the table, even the most gamer-friendly developers can succumb to temptation.

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Companies: cd projekt

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Comments on “CD Projekt Shakes Down Suspected File Sharers”

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bob (profile) says:

Welcome to reality, CD Projekt

If you take any action to defend yourself, Mike will find fault with it. He still claims to support copyright, he just can’t stand it when anyone uses the rights.

The fact is that for all of the flaws with IP addresses, they’re still much more accurate than any of the evidence we use to enforce murder, rape, robbery and most other crimes. I wish we didn’t need to enforce anything, but that’s called life on earth.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Welcome to reality, CD Projekt

Look at the author, now back at your comment, back at the author, now back at your comment.

Sadly, the author is not Mike. But if you took the 5 seconds it took to make an intelligent argument like Zack you would have respected comments like Mike.

Look down, back up. What is that?  It’s a highly effective counter-troll. Look again, MY COMMENT IS NOW DIAMONDS.

Anything is possible when you think before you post.

I’m on a PC.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Welcome to reality, CD Projekt

You know what else is life on Earth? Reality. A fingerprint or DNA evidence can be matched to a specific individual, not a range of people. It’s either a match or it isn’t. Fingerprints and DNA don’t change every time you go to sleep.

Mike doesn’t have a problem with copyright in general, he does have a problem (I do too) with the way they enforce it.

Blaine (profile) says:

That was close...

Lately I’ve been attempting to put my money where my mouth is and purchase from vendors that ‘get it.’ They don’t waste money on things like DRM that could have gone towards making a better product, they don’t use online validation for single player games, they don’t extort money from people based on something as flimsy as an IP address, they provide a reasonable product for a reasonable price.

I buy a ton of e-books from, I buy my mp3s (not books) from Amazon, I bought the Louis CK video, I probably will buy the Humble Indie bundle when I get home, I don’t buy from EA I probably will never buy another Sony product.

I intended to buy The Witcher when the first post came out, fortunately I saw something shiny and was distracted for a bit.

No Sale.

Jeremy2020 (profile) says:

I was a big fan of Witcher and have actually purchased it multiple times. Once when it came out then again on Steam. It’s sad that they’ve gone through with this.

I didn’t feel that it was worth the $50 to me with all the other games I have to play so I was waiting until it hit $30 or $40 before I picked it up on Steam.

I think now, I’ll just pass on it all together.

Anonymous Coward says:


This goes to show you that no one (even those that respect their customers enough to forego DRM) wants their work taken without compensation. If this site is truely anti-piracy as it claims, it should stop bitching everytime a company fights to defend its rights. These people aren’t being CONVICTED are they? These are threatening letters, if someone is innocent they should be able to prove that their IP address was spoofed. If they never downloaded the game their will be no fingerprints left on their hard drive when the forensics team looks.

WDS (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They shouldn’t have to prove that their IP address was spoofed or anything else. It should be the responsibility of the person accusing them to prove that it wasn’t. While there should be no fingerprints left on their hard drive if a forensics team looked, there should be a lot more required than an IP address to give the forensics team the right to look.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re:

” they should be able to prove that their IP address was spoofed”

Wow, no. You’re talking about stuff you don’t understand. Spoofing an ip address means the traffic never got to the accused’s house. How would they prove it? Hack the local backbone routers to go over packet logs?

” If they never downloaded the game their will be no fingerprints left on their hard drive when the forensics team looks.”

If they have nothing to hide, then they won’t mind some random company examining every detail of their hd, eh? And, since they’re being so reasonable, why not go through the person’s house, financial history, interrogate them about the details of their sexual proclivities, and subject them to a colonoscopy. Maybe the game data is hidden up there, after all, and unless we check we can’t be sure!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Wow, no. You’re talking about stuff you don’t understand. Spoofing an ip address means the traffic never got to the accused’s house. How would they prove it? Hack the local backbone routers to go over packet logs?”

Actually, I have a VERY strong understanding. I have extensive experience reviewing network traffic. Their proof will be in the fact that the game was never on their hard drive.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I do take it you’ve heard of file shredders. They’re decent on elimminating all evidence of a file. They’re better than decent on Nix and Macs, they do a complete job.

This is still a civil case and in no way shape or form ought I to be forced to prove anything. The Plantiff must prove their case that it is well within the balance of probability that I did, in fact, download their precious game. Until that moment I have no obligation to allow any search of my hard drive.

You’re review of networks is LANs or Internet? They are, in case you’ve not figured it out, two different things.

And the fact that a download was attached to an IP at a given moment in time doesn’t prove much of anything as most people attach with renewable IP addresses which can change from moment to moment rather than a nailed down IP address.

You are still plasing the burden of proof on the defendant and not he plaintiff. Try again, please.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just becasue you can review network traffic, (logs using snort etc maybe?) does not mean in any fashion you have the ability to forensically examine network traffic on ALL levels.

Even if you have the forensic experience, this would mean you would understand the evidentiary process involved in first obtaining a courts approval to forensically examine ALL networks and then forensically examine the devices allegedly involved in the retention of any digital ‘footprint’.

You would also understand having engaged in chain of evidence procedures the costs involved in this process both obtaining court approval, and then collecting, storing, analysing, & reporting on any evidence found, not to mention the costs involved of actually presenting that evidence in a manner that the court approves (and understands) of at any trial and these are just the plaintiff’s costs BEFORE any judgement is made.

Though saying all that this whole article was on shakedown letters where the burden of proof under EU law is on the plaintiff to prove all elements (including harm) and that the plaintiff has most likely no thought to spend exorbitant fees on any evidence collecting and only on sending psychologically scary letters of duress.

But of course you would know all of this if you actually had read the article, and had done any network/digital forensic work ever.

ashep5 (profile) says:

From the "we condone piracy" department...

What a terrible article. You begin by saying that CDP has done the right thing as far as DRM goes, showing that they’re not interested in treating paying customers like criminals.

Now that they are going after the ACTUAL criminals, you have a problem with that?

I actually agree with your point that IP addresses is NOT the way to go about this, but you make it clear that you have a problem with that what they are doing in principle which completely baffles me.

If this is unacceptable to you, please explain precisely HOW you propose to deter and/or punish piracy?

ashep5 (profile) says:

Re: Re: From the "we condone piracy" department...

Um well, you know, um, I actually do read the site and articles like this one are a dime a dozen. I can’t recall seeing a single article or post that actually calls out pirates as the criminals they are and applauds or even just supports a company for reasonably defending their rights.

If you can link me to one i’d be more than happy to read it.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: From the "we condone piracy" department...

“reasonably defending their rights”

If and when a company does reasonably defend their rights it will be applauded. Reasonably defending their rights would be taking action against a person or entity who is profiting from the copyrighted work without permission. Copyright is a social contract which grants exclusive control as to who can profit from the protected work.

In this case a company is sending shakedown letters to possibly innocent people based on so called “evidence” which has been shown unreliable on multiple occasions. The no DRM move is the correct approach. Extortion letters to private users and innocent people is the wrong approach and deserving of criticism. Does that help clear things up?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: From the "we condone piracy" department...

This site claims to be be anti-piracy. But anytime an effort is made to crack down on pirates, the post mocks the efforts, critisizes whatever organization or individual initiated the action against the pirates, and goes on to point out how ridiculous the crusade against piracy is. So any attempt to thwart, investigate, accuse, prosecute or punish pirates will be admonished by the people who post on this site.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: From the "we condone piracy" department...

It’s because every attempt so far to “thwart, investigate, accuse, prosecute, or punish” has been foolish, illogical, unethical, unconstitutional, impractical, and ignorant. Up until now, every measure the industry has taken to thwart infringement has been wrought with abuse of civil rights and entitlement issues.

When they learn to do it intelligently, ethically, effectively, realistically, and constitutionally, we will support it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: From the "we condone piracy" department...

“So any attempt to thwart, investigate, accuse, prosecute or punish pirates will be admonished by the people who post on this site.”

No, just those attempts that violate free speech, due process, have wildly inappropriate implications on innocent parties and/or have results that could just as easily be achieved with better business models or practices.

Any attempt to fight piracy backed with real data and that will not do any of the above will be applauded and supported. That fact that your beloved industry is yet to present such a thing is not the fault of anyone writing here.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And here I wonder if this has anything to do with the firm that was talking about selling these lists of accused people to debt collectors.

Mind you these aren’t people who have admitted guilt, they just happen to have an IP address on a list. They get the benefit of debt collectors harassing them for something they might have no knowledge of…
Waiting for the new business model to wash up on the US shores soon enough, there are many shakedown firms with long lists of names of people who refused to settle the claims… we can sell their “debt” off and recoup more money.

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