[Eurogamer] Witcher author demands more money from CD Projekt - Page 2 - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Eurogamer] Witcher author demands more money from CD Projekt

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post #11 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 08:44 AM
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What may hold up (Law effective in 1994, prior to contract signed in 2003):

Article 44.
In the event of a gross discrepancy between the remuneration of the author and the benefits of the acquirer of author's economic rights or the licensee, the author may request that the court should duly increase his remuneration.
What's ugly (from request letter):
Both we and you are, after all, fully aware of the fact that even going public with a copyright claim may
negatively impact the Group’s reputation and further growth. This is particularly true if the claim concerns
your core activity and your most important product... We can reasonably expect that the negative
consequences of the fact that Mr. Sapkowski has not received his due compensation, and furthermore,
that the validity of your copyright contracts has been called into question, may translate into a decrease
in stock prices significant enough to exceed the demands formulated in this notice.

This is why, as of now, we have not publicized the fact that we had undertaken the matter in question,
and, naturally, the type and extent of the claims themselves. We believe and assume that you will
appreciate this circumstance and that it will help us conclude the matter in a short time
That letter is more a threat than a request. I enjoyed the books in addition to the games, but this is going to make memories of the books turn sour. Urgh.

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post #12 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 08:47 AM
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Not even the argument that the license was only for the first game stands, he only first talked about it almost two years after the Witcher 3 came out (the first interview last year linked in the source article); by then the Witcher 2 had already amassed some success and came out even more years before. Of course, the success was not to the extent of the third one, but that's telling of when he or money hungry lawyers counselled him to do this, but I don't think that it has any merit and to be frank, nor do I think that they think that; their wording carefully avoids any mention of courts or anything even implying it in case there is no successful resolution, they know that they don't have anything to stand on other than going public and hoping that the audience sides somewhat with him, now that he's getting the Netflix contract, and thus has even more mainstream audience.

As others said, you can't just walk back on your word more than ten years after the fact, even more so as you publicly admitted that they even offered you a percentage of the profits and you declined because you didn't believe that there would be any. It doesn't get any clearer than this. And it's not even a matter of having made the wrong decision then, it seemed like the right decision at the time, because in order for the game to be successful the game devs have to start from scratch in many ways and success is pretty much unknown at the time, even less so predicting that a sequel and then a third game would be even better and supplant the success of the books themselves.

All in all, the success of the Witcher series of games is in great part due to CD Projekt Red's efforts, and it didn't even pay off immediately on a worldwide scale, the first game flew under the radar for most people, it was only more than three and a half years later with the sequel that it gained worldwide traction and then even more with the third. The Witcher books didn't have anywhere near the worldwide audience that the second and third games have, so who actually benefited more from this deal?

Last edited by tpi2007; 10-02-2018 at 09:22 AM.
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post #13 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 08:50 AM
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"Give us money or we'll say bad things about you and make your stock value drop"?

That's a real dirtbag move right there, and possibly borderline illegal in itself.

They might be able to argue that the author only sold rights sufficient to make the first game, that would very much depend on the wording of the original contract, but that would be tricky to do.

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post #14 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 08:50 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Offler View Post
That contract apparently happened sometime in 2005-6. The Witcher series became mildly known in Central Europe and Sapkowski got a name as "polish Tolkien". What is (and was problem back then) is that people here are used to pay and get paid a fixed sum of money, instead of negotiate for royalties.

After the 2nd games it became known globally, and it needed 3rd one to get the attention it has now. And the name is apparently still selling. Gwent, Thronebreaker, etc...

Tbh, i dont like the "sort of fame" Sapkowski gained (as he used to show up drunk on festivals), but i have to agree that he deserves even financial appreciation.
The way you explain what happened, it sounds like his books weren't really super popular before the CDPR games took off? Maybe the game series being successful was then good for him? He was perhaps able to sell a good amount more books than what he would have managed to do by himself. CDPR's work was then great marketing for him. Maybe CDPR should turn it around and ask him for money instead.
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post #15 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 08:53 AM
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I want well for the author because of his great mind and story telling, and to CDPR for creating it into a beautiful game series, but man, it sucks to see this happen between the two parties. As we all say, "business is business". I guess you can't expect a happy partnership all the time for every IP out there.

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post #16 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 09:27 AM
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No one can honestly say that this game series is not at least partially successful due to this mans literary work. The books are some of the best that can be found in the fantasy genre and create an excellent focal hero and plotline for a RPG series.

Having said that I do not believe that he is entitled to 17 million or anything along those lines, but if his initial payment was in fact this low then I personally believe that CDPR should in some way re-imburse him to some extent. What that final figure is, I personally believe should be between him and CDPR, the studio has had monumental success from the series and while it is from their hardwork the entire basis of the games was this man's invention. To not acknowledge this or believe that 7000 usd was adequate compensation is simply not realistic and not the behavior that we expect from CDPR, who many of us believe to be the best developers in the industry now.

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post #17 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 09:34 AM
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Was he even part of the game development like Mike Pondsmith is for CP2077? He is an old-school author which does not believe in games. He should get not money for a media he cant comprehend.

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post #18 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 09:41 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by deepor View Post
The way you explain what happened, it sounds like his books weren't really super popular before the CDPR games took off? Maybe the game series being successful was then good for him? He was perhaps able to sell a good amount more books than what he would have managed to do by himself. CDPR's work was then great marketing for him. Maybe CDPR should turn it around and ask him for money instead.
Well back in 2005-6 gaming studios from Europe just started to build their names. Some of them are now renowned artists (artwork, motion capture, writing) , some other vanished into obscurity.

At that time it was CDPR who wanted to capitalize on a renowned author. (even when he was not much known in the West at that time).

I agree that it opened a way for Sapkowskis work in much bigger market in the west, but most people in Central Europe had no idea whatsoever, how big the market was already back in 2006. They still lived in a world where computer games are a niche medium for weirdos.

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post #19 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 10:00 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by KenLautner View Post
The success of Witcher games is thanks to CDPR.
The source material is really quite good and Sapkowski deserves acknowledgement for it. I'm not sure CDPR would have remotely as successful a franchise had they used their own IP.

However, as he says, he was foolish to license his work for what turned out to be a pittance.

Quote: Originally Posted by tconroy135 View Post
If he would have taken the points they had offered to him I'm pretty sure he would have made in excess of 14.
Almost certainly.

Quote: Originally Posted by Newbie2009 View Post
Give him a million bucks and be done with it.
They don't need to give him anything and they'd be foolish to. They were done with him the moment he signed rights over.

Quote: Originally Posted by mouacyk View Post
That letter is more a threat than a request. I enjoyed the books in addition to the games, but this is going to make memories of the books turn sour. Urgh.
A piece of art can stand on it's own merits. Doesn't need to matter one whit who the artist was.

Adolf Hitler could have written the books, in the blood of his victims, on to rag paper made from their stolen money and clothes, and they'd still be generally better than the games.

Quote: Originally Posted by deepor View Post
Maybe the game series being successful was then good for him?
Of course it was.

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post #20 of 55 (permalink) Old 10-02-2018, 10:52 AM
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Surely the deal with Netflix comes with a ton of money, that never would have happened without the success of the games.
Andrzej Sapkowski neither has any reason to complain nor does he have any conceivable right to dispute his original contract.

All that he's accomplished here is making sure I have no interest in buying any of his books.
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