Witcher author sues CDPR

Steam, Deals & More.
User avatar
Sly Boots
Bar Staff
Posts: 1975
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:34 am
Location: Hampshire
Contact:

Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Sly Boots » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:36 pm

Bit of a shame this really, but it seems that Andrezej Sapkowski, author of the Witcher novels, is suing CDPR for around £12.4m, believing that he should see a greater share of the profits:

https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/cd-projekt-r ... sapkowski/

I say a shame, as it's a series of books I like a lot and a series of games I love, and Sapkowski sold CDPR the videogame rights 10 or so years ago for a set amount, in preference to a percentage share of future profits, claiming then and since that he didn't believe they would make any money out of it. It seems that now Witcher 3 has been such a huge hit he feels regretful over doing such a thing and is trying to get more compensation.

I sympathise to an extent - after all it is his world and his characters - but on the other hand I don't feel CDPR has done anything wrong here... something they clearly believe themselves judging by their speed and strength of their response.

No doubt we shall learn more as this progresses.

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1064
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Mantis » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:45 pm

I don't see how he really has a leg to stand on. If he sold the rights for an agreed level of royalties then he can't just retroactively decide that he deserves more just because the person who now legally owns the rights has made a huge success of the franchise. In fact, it would be insane if any court ruled in his favour for something like that as it totally undermines copyright law.

He just sounds bitter to me.

User avatar
Wrathbone
Posts: 439
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:08 am

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Wrathbone » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:06 pm

If he'd been a struggling author desperate for some quick cash when he made the deal with CDPR rather than badmouthing games and basically telling CDPR that their efforts wouldn't amount to anything, I might have some sympathy for him. As it stands, bollocks to him. Good writer, pretty ignorant person.

User avatar
Maturin
Posts: 834
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:48 am
Location: Kernow

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Maturin » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:26 pm

Does seem a bit bizarre. Perhaps there's an ulterior motive behind it and he knows full well it doesn't stand a chance of being successful in court. Maybe he's hoping for an out-of-court goodwill gesture from CDPR, and his lawyers figure it's worth an attempt.

Although, his book sales must have seriously increased over the last 10 years due to the games. Perhaps CDPR should sue for a percentage of that, since they've basically served as marketers for him. ¬_¬

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:54 pm

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Jez » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:46 pm

How pathetic of him. I'm sure his books got a massive boost from the success of the game. I bought them all myself.

If he signed the rights to CDPR back when he was selling them on market stalls in good faith then I'm not sure what his position will be here.

Surely also he'll be making big bucks from the new TV show which I'd imagine will do well.

Salty twit.
19-10-2003
12072 :-({|=

User avatar
Wrathbone
Posts: 439
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:08 am

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Wrathbone » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:23 am

Jez wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:46 pm
If he signed the rights to CDPR back when he was selling them on market stalls in good faith then I'm not sure what his position will be here.
That's the thing, he was already massively successful in Poland when CDPR approached him. He was regarded as the Polish Tolkien. I don't expect he was super rich but within Poland he was about as successful as any author could ever hope to be. From everything he's said since, it sounds like the only reason he went for a lump sum rather than a percentage was because he doesn't give a shit about games and dismissed any possibility that CDPR might do well with the Witcher rights.

So yeah, sod him.

User avatar
DjchunKfunK
Bar Staff
Posts: 745
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by DjchunKfunK » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:05 am

To a degree yeah it's his own fault, but at the same time it shows the awfulness of copyright. Nobody in their right mind would have taken percentages on sales when CDPR was starting out in the same way writers don't take points on a movie when it is being optioned for a script. The rules benefit the buyer which is fair in a way as they are taking the risk, but it disproportionately benefits them.

Sounds like he should have got a better lawyer at the time. He should have worked out a better deal back then as not only did he lose out on the game money, but also all the money around the merchandising.

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1064
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Mantis » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:14 am

I think it should disproportionately benefit them, they did all the work to turn the franchise into a massive success. I don't think the fact that it was based on a previously established fantasy world would really have made all that much difference, it's the way in which CPDR put it all together as an excellent video game series that generated all the acclaim. Nobody rushed out to buy these games because they were huge fans of the books beforehand, if anything he should be grateful that the games have almost certainly boosted his book revenues by proxy.

It all seems perfectly fair to me. If you're cynical and you make a bad deal then you only have yourself to blame.

User avatar
DjchunKfunK
Bar Staff
Posts: 745
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by DjchunKfunK » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:20 am

I disagree about it being all the skill of CDPR, it takes skill to create a world and part of the reason why the Witcher series is so good is because of the world. They did a good job realising it, but it was built on Saplowski's ideas. The first game after all was pretty ropey gameplay wise and it was the world and characters that saw me through. There have been many, many fantasy RPGs that have been ignored because their worlds were boring and rote. I think if you asked CDPR they would say they owe a debt of gratitude to Saplowski, just not a financial one. :)

User avatar
Wrathbone
Posts: 439
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:08 am

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Wrathbone » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:20 am

His contribution to the success of the games begins and ends at inspiration from his stories. In the original Eurogamer interview he even argued that only he can tell the story of Geralt and his world and that CDPR's take on it is totally separate to his (because according to him, you can't tell stories in games ](*,) ). So I struggle to see how he deserves more than he already got if he's arguing that CDPR's Witcher games are not really Witcher stories.

Again, sod him.

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:54 pm

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Jez » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:52 am

Yeah no sympathy really for him. He seems snooty about his project being used in games despite the clear boost he's had in book sales if not game royalties.

Not saying that CDPR may be blameless here maybe there was a moment in the past that they could have given him something extra to save face especially when the 3rd went bonkers in sales.
19-10-2003
12072 :-({|=

User avatar
Sly Boots
Bar Staff
Posts: 1975
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:34 am
Location: Hampshire
Contact:

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Sly Boots » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:55 am

Indeed, the suggestion from his interviews seems to be that at the time he thought he had got one over on them by getting the amount he did at that time, before then going on to bad-mouth the games whenever given the opportunity since then. It's hard to have any real sympathy. He'd have been a lot wiser to have taken the payment in relation only to selling the rights for a first game, and then to renegotiate for future installments in the series (as I agree at that early initial point it was certainly a gamble).

The sad part is if instead of suing he'd approached them and made a private case for getting something now or a percentage of future royalties then they would probably have done so as a gesture of good faith.

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:54 pm

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Jez » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:07 am

It's not even remotely the same thing but it brought to mind how HBO brought on George RR Martin as a producer/advisor on GoT. CDPR potentially could have done something similar with sapkowski if he hadn't been so pissy about his precious creation being in a game.

If he was so salty about games and blah blah blah why did he bother selling in the first place? Where were his principles when they initially spoke to him.
19-10-2003
12072 :-({|=

User avatar
Stormbringer
Rad Dad
Posts: 774
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Stormbringer » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:11 am

Has Christopher Tolkien not also been a little bitchy in the past toward New Line Cinema in regards to his father's works?
I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.

User avatar
Jez
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:54 pm

Re: Witcher author sues CDPR

Post by Jez » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:41 am

Apparently....


In Polish law there seems to be a provision that protects a 'creator' of a work from their own short-sightedness, and it appears CDProjekt do acknowledge this, but say he is flat out asking for too much money (around 12 million it seems) and are willing to negotiate that.
19-10-2003
12072 :-({|=

Post Reply