Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
PC Games (Games) Piracy Games Your Rights Online

Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine 724

Posted by Soulskill
from the dodging-legal-threats-now-a-valid-gameplay-mechanic dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Eurogamer: "Gamers who download upcoming PC exclusive The Witcher 2 illegally could receive a letter demanding they pay a fine or face legal action. If gamers refuse to pay the fine, which will be more than the cost of the game, they could end up in court, developer CD Projekt told Eurogamer. 'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,' CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiski said. 'In quite a few big countries, when people are downloading it illegally they can expect a letter from a legal firm saying, "Hey, you downloaded it illegally and right now you have to pay a fine." We are totally fair, but if you decide you will not buy it legally there is a chance you'll get a letter. We are talking about it right now.' Interestingly, The Witcher 2 will be released free of digital rights management – but only through the CD Projekt-owned digital download shop GOG.com. That means owners will be able to install it as many times as they like on any number of computers – and it will not requite an internet connection to run."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine

Comments Filter:
  • Intended Reaction? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:30AM (#34313954)
    A DRM-free game released by a publisher that intends to hunt down pirates. Am I supposed to cheer them on or cry foul? I'm so confused :(
    • by black6host (469985) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:40AM (#34314028)

      Games should be released DRM free, publishers should be free to utilize what means have been approved to protect their work. At least that's how it would work in my perfect world....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordLimecat (1103839)
      Honest question: why would you cry foul? I would be interested in knowing precisely the rationale behind condemning their plans.
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:09AM (#34314212) Journal

        Two major reasons: firstly, IP addresses don't map directly to people and (depending on the gathering method used by the companies) can be trivial to spoof, secondly (and more importantly) defending a civil suit can easily bankrupt even an innocent person - offering a pre-set 'settlement' in this situation is very close to blackmail.

        As I mentioned [slashdot.org] further down, though, I'm withholding judgement here until I see a bit more information. I still feel it to be a poor choice, mainly for the reasons above, but I can see why they're doing it and I don't feel any real sympathy for a person getting something akin to a parking ticket if they have in fact been illegally downloading games.

        This sympathy for the copyright holder is normally somewhat tempered by the fact that I would like to see the bunch of mindless jerks in charge of the companies under the *AA umbrella first against the wall when the revolution comes[1] as penance for the harm they've done us all in infinitely extending copyright, attacking net neutrality, pushing fines and penalties far beyond the reasonable, attacking fair use, attempting to mandate pervasive network surveillance, and kicking puppies[2].

        In this case, though, the copyright holder seems to be more or less reasonable, so I'll be interested to see how it plays out.

        [1]This is exaggeration for humorous effect, alluding to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [wikipedia.org]. Sometimes also known as a joke [wikipedia.org]. Not to be construed as a threat [guardian.co.uk] under the Communications Act.

        [2]See above disclaimer.

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          Can you explain which gathering method makes it trivial to spoof IP addresses?

      • "Honest question: why would you cry foul?"

        I cry foul as well and I am perfectly willing to tell you why.

        Remember when game releases were preceded by a demo release? What ever happened to that? I'll tell you. People didn't buy games that were obvious pieces of shit, but SOME would if you didn't give them a chance to test it first. So, gone are the demos of yore.

        Unless there is a playable demo available to test the game, I have zero way of knowing if the game is actually finished (in terms of development), ha

    • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:49AM (#34314086)

      I'm cheering, tentatively.

      My "Ideal Future" is no DRM whatsoever, with the game companies selling their product through digital downloads, and possibly brick-and-mortar/snail-mail retailers for those who want physical media.

      I want this future specifically so that I can be sure the games I buy today are still good to go fifteen years from now. Not as unreasonable as it sounds, when you consider that my own collection includes titles like X-Com (1993), Fallout 1&2 (97/98) and the Infinity engine series (late 90's), all of which work, or can be made to work, on a modern PC.

      The biggest resistance to the "DRM free" approach comes from the fear of piracy. I don't think this is a particularly rational response to the problem on the part of the devs, as only a single game copy needs to be cracked and torrented to make the DRM irrelevant - you can't reasonably stop that without complete control of the box that runs the game, something you can only partially achieve with consoles, and arguably not even then.

      Is suing the pirates in lieu of DRM any more rational? Debatable. But I've no doubt it's an improvement. After all, DRMing the games causes problems for me, the legit user, while anti-piracy suits do not.

    • A DRM-free game released by a publisher that intends to hunt down pirates. Am I supposed to cheer them on or cry foul? I'm so confused :(

      Cheer. DRM punishes non-pirates more than it prevents piracy. The pirates are in some ways on our side with the DRM vs no DRM argument, but that doesn't mean pirates have a peg-leg to stand on with all arguments.

      I don't expect someone to make a good game and then be happy people are playing it without paying them, no developer is claiming to be a charity, and good revenue for good games means more good games. If devs want to specifically punish pirates, that's a good thing in my book.

  • Leaking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Formalin (1945560) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:32AM (#34313966)

    'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,'

    That makes it sound like they are going to seed the torrents, making it available. I can't see that being airtight - If the copyright owner is making the torrent available, a leacher should be able to assume that they were granted permission to download it, no?

    Seems pretty bent to me either way.

    • I wouldnt be too sure about that; intent certainly figures into things when the law is concerned, and I think youd have a tough time convincing the courts that you thought being offered a single chunk from a "torrent sneaking firm" constituted permission to download the game; nor how you would convince them that you had the foresight to see all this in advance.
      • Re:Leaking (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:52AM (#34314108) Homepage Journal

        >>I think youd have a tough time convincing the courts that you thought being offered a single chunk from a "torrent sneaking firm" constituted permission to download the game;

        How about pointing to TFA? The company itself put a version of their software up on a torrent site for people to download from freely. How can they then say said downloads were illegal?

        As copyright holders, they have the right to put their software up for free download, but they can't complain when people take them up on it.

        • by Tharsman (1364603)

          This can potentially be tracked with custom made software that request data but tosses it out as it recieves it, never storing or sharing it back. This software would then log the IP address and time of all packet transactions.

          I'm sure they dont just go out and run a torrent and seed stuff and occationally look at the IP list, this would result in them not catching a lot of seeders or leachers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          How about pointing to TFA? The company itself put a version of their software up on a torrent site for people to download from freely. How can they then say said downloads were illegal?

          I may have just missed something here, but I've just read both links available and I can't see anything where it says that they have uploaded a version of their software, or created any torrents. Where is it written that they did? I don't mean this as a troll as I may have just overlooked it somehow..Or has that juicy little bit of information been removed from the article since its initial publishing

          Just to note, if they did upload/create their own torrents then I completely agree with you. That is them ef

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IICV (652597)

      CD Projekt is a Czech company, so it's entirely possible that the meaning of "torrent sneaking companies" got lost in the translation. I can think of a few ways you could identify the IP addresses of people downloading torrents without uploading any material yourself, so they might be using some of those.

      Or, you know, they're a Czech company - copyright law doesn't mean the same thing over there as it does here*, so this may be above-board in certain countries.

      *cue ACTA lobbyist saying "Yet"

    • Not really. You have to download the torrent before you can start downloading the content. Being that the user was going to downloaded it without caring where it actually came from anyways, setting up a honeypot to log users is a smart move.

      If I had a product that was being pirated, I would do the same thing if I could get justice in return for my effort.

    • by Ziekheid (1427027)

      You can get swarm information (IP's, percentages, etc) without seeding yourself. The problem here lies with the fact that they'll have to know for sure that the content beeing shared between peers is their copyrighted content, for this they would have to download it at least once. I don't think this would be a problem since they would be downloading their own content.

  • And somehow I have a feeling that their ire is about the wrong thing. If it were possible to have reasonable certainty about who actually downloaded the file, this would be worthwhile, but I dont think theres really a good tie a WAN address to a LAN address from the outside yet.

    That issue aside, id be interested to see the objections raised-- I suspect theyll boil down to "I cant have whatever I want? No fair!".
    • As someone who's had plenty of people raise objections to me (I happen to be firmly planted on the other side of the debate), I can tell you they almost always boil down to one or more of the following:

      1) There's nothing wrong with sharing/copyright is bad
      2) Sharing is only bad when companies do it (though I've had real trouble getting anyone to be able to justify why that is)
      3) OK, sharing is bad/copyright is fine, but I still don't like companies suing people
      4) I can't have whatever I want? No fair!

      Althou

      • 2) Sharing is only bad when companies do it (though I've had real trouble getting anyone to be able to justify why that is)

        Sharing copyrighted material for profit is bad, how about this?

        What I mean is - it is difficult to prove or disprove that somebody who downloaded the game for free would have bought it, after all, there is a huge price difference between free and $50 and I have a limited amount of money and could buy a limited amount of games, while I could download much more games (depending on the hard drive size and connection speed). However, if somebody bought the game from a pirate it is more likely that they would ha

        • Sharing copyrighted material for profit is bad, how about this?

          Ah, yep. That's the one I mean.

          What I mean is - it is difficult to prove or disprove that somebody who downloaded the game for free would have bought it, after all, there is a huge price difference between free and $50 and I have a limited amount of money and could buy a limited amount of games, while I could download much more games (depending on the hard drive size and connection speed). However, if somebody bought the game from a pirate it is

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        I know that, in general, my personal views are tempered by the fact that current copyright law (and associated odds and ends - the DMCA, ACTA, etc.) as pushed through by the big media companies does significant harm to the very works and artists that they claim to be protecting, as well as to our ability to communicate freely in general (attacking net neutrality, attacking fair use, attempting to mandate pervasive network surveillance).

        Not that this justifies infringement, of course, but I think it may expl

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      They don't need to know exactly who used the computer, they just need the external IP address and the time of download. With that they can contact the ISP and get the household that was doing this.

      If the people download it from their work computers, IT will get a notification, from there it may be hard to track down the actual user. But at a household, it's not hard to just know it was the household.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:43AM (#34314050) Journal
    I must object to the use of the term "fine". A "fine" is a monetary penalty imposed under color of law as punishment, or part of a punishment, for a violation of the code of laws, demonstrated in a court of law according to due process.

    Calling a private party's essentially extortionate demand to pay up or face (ruinously expensive even if innocent) legal action a "fine" is acccording it far too much legitimacy.

    Sure, as a matter of probability, not all the threat letters will miss their mark, and some percentage will in fact be sent to people who downloaded and/or uploaded the game in violation of applicable law in their jurisdiction; but even those cases will hew to no established standards of evidence or due process. Given the known sloppiness(and clear perverse incentives involved) of these sorts of things a fair few won't even be accidentally correct, they'll simply be pure extortion without even coincidental overlap with justice.

    No matter how much you hate copyright infringement, conflating vigilante 'justice' with process of law is dangerously sloppy. I don't know whether the CD Projekt spokesweasel is simply internally sloppy, or engaged in deliberate spin; but it is unacceptable.
    • by pookemon (909195)
      A similar discussion is currently before the courts (or will be soon) in Australia where by a "class action" (populist term, not sure if that's an applicable term for Oz law) has been taken against our banks for imposing "penalty fees" for a wide range of reasons (like overdrawing your account - which the bank could just stop you from doing, but instead they make you pay a penalty "fee"). IIRC the argument is that these amount to "Fines" which the banks have no right to impose as they aren't allowed to "fi
  • torrent sneaking? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by intellitech (1912116) *

    What the hell is "torrent sneaking?"

  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:55AM (#34314128)

    I know I'm off based but shouldn't the only person that receives the fine be the one who posted the copyrighted content on the torrent site?
    The internet is about sharing content if you put your own copyrighted content out on the web I would assume you are granting the public access to it unless stated in a disclaimer attached to the link to the file.
    Since most torrent sites have a disclaimer saying DO NOT UPLOAD THIS UNLESS YOU OWN THE RIGHTS TO IT. Doesn't it mean that either the person who uploaded the file is acting on behalf of the owner with their knowledge and permission or they are violating the copyright of the item? And since I cannot issue a court order to get the persons name of the ip address of the person who originally seeded the torrent how am I to determine if the file is legally there or not? And even if I did have the original seeders name how am I suppose to know he doesnt own the copyright of the file?

    I've got a idea. I will make a music cd rip it and let my (friend) have it for free... but he might not be the friend i thought he was and uploaded it to the torrent servers.
    Now since he is somewhat still my friend but i'm pissed at him I will take him off my friends list on facebook.
    But any dumb fuck that dared download my audio cd I will find you and sue you into the ground.
    Btw did I mention every month I will have my name legally changed to whatever the current best selling artist is?

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:55AM (#34314130)
    I understand pirating games with DRM (why pay a company to screw you over), but since the game is DRM-free, there's no excuse to pirate it. I just bought a few games from GOG.com the other day and seeing as how their most expensive game is $9.99, that eliminates the "but it's expensive.." argument too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Totenglocke (1291680)
      Update on price - I just logged into GOG.com and saw the pre-order information, it's $44.99 (I thought $9.99 seemed insanely low for a new game, but you never know).
  • What if the offender posts a video wearing a monk's robe begging forgiveness for the misunderstanding?

    Oh, that's also stealing their IP? Shucks.
  • You can also get it on Steam and D2D also with the 10% pre-order discount. The big deal about GOG having it was that it's the first time they've had a brand new game available first day in their store. Although CD Projekt owning GOG helped that. http://store.steampowered.com/app/20920/ [steampowered.com] http://www.direct2drive.com/10030/product/Buy-The-Witcher-2:-Assassins-of-Kings-Digital-Premium-Download [direct2drive.com]
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:24AM (#34314318)
    I remember getting a letter from Direct TV years ago because I had supposedly pirated their satellite signal. Their sole evidence was that I had purchased a USB smartcard writer. Because, as everyone knows, Direct TV invented smart cards and were the only company on earth to ever use them for anything. They promised to forget about the whole thing if I coughed up the small sum of $10k. My lawyer found it very funny and sent them a letter in return asking for contact information for our counter suit. Strangely they never replied.
  • by bmo (77928)

    If I turn the chair 'round and use the neighbor's wifi (because it comes in spectacularly if I do that), who gets the letter?

    Not like I'll do it (and really, i have better things to do).

    --
    BMO

  • Hahaha (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by X.25 (255792)

    Ok, so all those people still think they can change human nature using laws and papers...

  • Or are you sure it won't be released via steam as well?

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/20920/ [steampowered.com]

  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:53AM (#34314830)

    ...on Linux?

    I kinda wish it did. I really like to support people who release games DRM-free (The Humble Indie Bundle was straight awesome), but since I haven't owned a Windows box since 2007, well, will I actually be able to play it?

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

Working...