CD Projekt Listens To Fans, Abandons Piracy Witch Hunt
from the winning-fans-for-life dept
You may remember that back in December, CD Projekt (the developers of The Witcher 2) had been sending out legal shake down letters to suspected copyright infringers. This move was not received very well by the gaming press and more importantly CD Projekt’s very fans. The major concern over this was that it is nearly impossible to prove that a person illegally downloaded the game based off just an IP address. We now learn that CD Projekt has listened to its fans’ concerns and has ended its shake down program. In a letter sent to the gaming press, CD Projekt states:
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.
Too many entertainment, and in this case gaming, companies, get so caught up in fighting piracy that they ignore the concerns of their fans. As of December, it had looked as if CD Projekt, the poster boys of DRM-free gaming, were headed down that path as well. Based on this letter, they have seen the folly of that path and have decided to put their fans first. I am so glad to hear this news. You will never win fans for life by brushing aside their concerns. I am also glad to see that CD Projekt has recognized the damage that false positives can have on a community.
While the concerns of copyright infringement are a very real thing, and CD Projekt has some idea of its scope, it has never resorted to DRM in order to handle the problem. It stands by that business decision. This promise to stop pursuing suspected copyright infringers is the next step toward building on the good will of its fans. While it may take time for some former fans to forgive, they will be happy with this change. However, CD Projekt wants to make sure it is clear. This move does not mean that it condones copyright infringement:
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.
I think that is a positive message to express. This is a human response to the problem of copyright infringement. We have seen such pleas succeed in turning a pirate into a paying customer, and there is no doubt that this honest plea for support will garner CD Projekt more sales and more fans. This honest apology and plea for support has certainly made a fan for life out of me.