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CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt

CD Projekt announces it is now the official distributor for Codemasters in Poland. On a slightly related note, Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a statement from CD Projekt RED saying they are ceasing the recently revealed process of directly contacting file-sharers they suspect of pirating The Witcher 2, in spite of their confidence in the infallibility of such accusations. While continuing to decry piracy, this open letter from CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski says they have heard gamer's concerns, and that these direct contacts will cease immediately:

An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED

In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.

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.

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.

Keep on playing,

Marcin Iwinski
co-founder
CD Projekt RED

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51. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 23:14 Mordhaus
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jan 13, 2012, 07:29:
The problem is you're trying to compare actions, that can and may kill a person, group or group of people. And may, with due cause cause actual loss of physical property and inflict bodily or grievous harm on various parties. With something that may, may not, or even have a positive monetary impact for a company. In many places underage drinking isn't a crime, neither is speeding. They're both considered offences, and non-criminal. Meaning that at worst, you pay a fine and go on your way. Though piracy is considered criminal.

The laws do not reflect the acts, or actions, or even intent. Nor do they weigh the loss, benifits, gains, or anything else. At the end of the day, piracy isn't theft, nothing is stolen. The original is still there. The value hasn't increased, or decreased. Anymore than what it was being sold for before. The intrinsic value for which it was being sold for hasn't changed. The only difference is, there's a copy which wasn't paid for. And depending on where you are in the world. You 'buy' that copy, you don't license it. And that in itself is another whole bowl of wax.

So would you consider plagiarism to be perfectly ok, since the original still exists, it may or may not affect the company producing the item, and the intrinsic value hasn't changed? What about someone stealing a copyrighted or patented idea?

Stealing a copy of a piece of software or a song is still taking something that doesn't belong to you without paying for it. You cannot deny that and it renders your concept that intellectual value cannot have a price set for it null and void.
 
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50. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 16:58 Jerykk
 
(2) Go Steamworks 100% for your next launch. You can still sell your software through GoG, boxed retail, as well as Steam. Didn't Skyrim do exactly that--go 100% Steamworks? Their sales numbers were through the roof as a result. I cannot believe you missed that.

Faulty correlation there. Skyrim sold well because it had more hype and marketing than any of the previous Bethesda games. Steamworks games regularly get cracked on day one, Skyrim included.
 
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49. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 16:40 Julio
 
As a heavy GOG customer, I could care less if they catch pirates. But I highly doubt they can be accurate at who they're catching. Being falsely accused for anything sucks.  
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48. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 13:27 Prez
 
How can you possibly think $1100 fine is unreasonable?

I dunno. Maybe it's because if your caught speeding, something that can actually result in the deaths of others, the fine is typically one-tenth of that? I don't really care what any law says the punishment is; laws are often stupid.
 
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47. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 12:59 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Krovven wrote on Jan 13, 2012, 12:01:
Stealing clothes from a retailer can kill a person? If you are going to cherry pick quotes, pick the right one. The speeding analogy he used was pertaining to the enforcement aspect of it.
Funny story time, well maybe not so funny. So I work in a 'law' related field. Names and all that left out and all that. And every once and a while these float up on through. A guy was running through a mall escaping a mallcop, where he'd stole a pair of pants from a store. Cop waiting outside as he'd gotten a respond call and he'd been starting a 13 at the time. He see's the cop walk in the mall door, panics, runs over the railing kills himself. Fell two stories.

And yes, speeding 'enforcement' does kill people. Yes I have "seen" people smear themselves down a smiling patch of highway, after the bar goes on. On various vehicles because they've thought they can outrun a cop. Motorcycles seem to be biggest offenders, but sometimes cars do too.

No cherry picking required, just the reality of the world.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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46. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 12:01 Krovven
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jan 13, 2012, 07:29:
The problem is you're trying to compare actions, that can and may kill a person, group or group of people.

Stealing clothes from a retailer can kill a person? If you are going to cherry pick quotes, pick the right one. The speeding analogy he used was pertaining to the enforcement aspect of it.

 
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45. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 11:57 Krovven
 
Prez wrote on Jan 13, 2012, 00:38:
A $1100 fine if proven guilty (as they were suggesting) for software piracy hardly seems unreasonable.

It seems outrageously unreasonable to me.

What would be a suitable punishment for the crime? Because this is a crime. Making them just pay the sticker price would be ludicrous. if that were the punishment then everyone would pirate everything and only pay the sticker price if they get caught. The whole point is that it's a punishment for a crime and is to deter them from doing it again.

In British Columbia, Canada this is the penalty for shoplifting.

Under Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code, for a theft where the value does not exceed $5,000, the maximum fine is $2000, and the maximum jail term is 2 years.

How can you possibly think $1100 fine is unreasonable?

This comment was edited on Jan 13, 2012, 12:05.
 
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44. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 09:43 WaltC
 
What follows is somewhat of a rant...and somewhat of an Open Letter to Marcin Iwinski...

Frankly, I am disappointed in CDPR because this entire policy they've had up to now relative to how they handle piracy is really stupid--almost incomprehensible, in my estimation. I'll list a few reasons why I think this way...

First a disclaimer...;) I am not a software pirate-I buy the software I run--always have, and that is not about to change. IMO, there's no excuse for pirating software. I'm what's known as a "good customer"--a "loyal customer," even--and I am really sick and tired of the fact that many software companies today spend several times the energy and time on invisible, inimical, and supposedly ubiquitous software pirates as they do on customers like me. Whether it's the RIAA, the MPAA, or various software developers, the fact is that all of these entities feel entitled to use the convenient phantom of the "software pirate" as an excuse to manhandle their paying customers. I'd prefer to be treated much better than this--I'd prefer not to be insulted every time I turn around, for starters.

Does Marcin Iwinski really think that there is one living soul on this planet who is unaware of what a software pirate is and why the activities of same are harmful to software developers and game publishers? Why this constant lecturing and posing? Why the pretense of being "on board with gamers" even while he's claiming to sue bit-torrent users by way of dubious IP addresses? That activity has nothing whatever to do with being "on board with gamers"--gamers *buy* your software, Marcin. Gamers are *not* your problem. Please try and distinguish your customers from your pirates. I think you can do it if you really try.

First order of business is to own up to the fact that all of this publicity you've generated about "watching bit torrent" is melodramatic and has not been cost-effective for you in the slightest, and so you have wisely decided to drop the pretense and the sham while posing as a "friend to gamers" when the real reason you are dropping it has little to nothing to do with popular opinion (if popular opinion was ever your goal you'd never have implemented this policy in the first place.) You are dropping pursuit of these activities, assuming you ever did actually pursue them to any notable degree in the first place, because they cost you more than they net you and would have continued to do so in perpetuity. Dropping this foolishness was very wise--fibbing about your reasons for doing it is very unwise, however. It does nothing to enhance your public-relations profile. People are not so gullible--especially your *paying customers,* who are intelligent enough to have been able to amass the disposable income necessary so as to purchase your software--like me, for instance.

If piracy is a real concern of yours, though, allow me to make a couple of simple suggestions that would be immeasurably more effective that anything you have done to date:

(1) Come out of the starting gate with a software MSRP at least $10 less than the $49.95 that software developers and publishers have enshrined into a kind of religious mantra over the last 25 years. Why? You'll sell more copies. When game software MSRPs originated @$50 ~25 years ago, the entire worldwide computer market was ~2-4 million computers sold each year. Today's computer (not counting consoles) market is ~100x that size, with sales volumes approaching 400M a year. Does you a lot more good to sell 2M copies @ 39.95 than to sell 1M copies at $49.95. Do the math. The only certainty about it is that you will without question sell more copies of your software at $39.95 than you will @$49.95, and more copies at $49.95 than you will at $59.95, etc. Yet this simple point seems to elude so many.

(2) Go Steamworks 100% for your next launch. You can still sell your software through GoG, boxed retail, as well as Steam. Didn't Skyrim do exactly that--go 100% Steamworks? Their sales numbers were through the roof as a result. I cannot believe you missed that.

If you followed the above two steps I'll wager that you would have cut down dramatically on piracy during the first critical month of sales, and that you could have done so without suing, or claiming to sue, a single bit-torrent user anywhere. I'm really baffled that I can think of these things as a paying CDPR customer--but the co-founder of CDPR apparently cannot.

But really, it all comes down to greed, doesn't it? I'll take brains over greed any day, but that's just me...;) It's greedy to, like the RIAA/MPAA, fantasize that every single pirated copy on earth is a lost sale, is a retail customer whom, if he could not pirate the game, would have bought it and would have paid whatever you asked him to pay for it. That is not true--and it seems everyone except the people who would benefit most from this information already know it. Greed blinds.

Secondly, dropping the MSRP out of the starting gate means "lost money" to the greedy, because the greedy wholeheartedly believe that MSRPs are irrelevant and that just as many people would pay $49.95 as would pay $39.95--were it not for their ability to pirate software. Of course, every known law of economics disproves this lamentably erroneous theory. But that's what greed does--it blinds people.

Greed is also the main reason CDPR would not wish to do a 100% Steamworks game release--CDPR would not wish to sacrifice revenue to Steamworks. Greed makes people foam at the mouth in thinking about all that dough slipping through their fingers. Brainpower, however, would cause a developer/publisher to look at the kind of first-month volume a Steamworks release allowed Bethesda to rack up with Skyrim, and imagine that it could just as well be his game, too, breaking all kinds of volume sales records.

My copy of Witcher 2 was purchased through Steam, btw. Software piracy is an evil that will never be entirely eradicated. Instead of opposing this reality at every turn, as is true of the RIAA/MPAA in the US, it is far more productive for companies to concentrate on how they can sell more copies of their software! Instead of spending 50% of your time wringing your hands in frustration and weeping about "the sale that got away," (you think, maybe), far better to implement a strategy that will wind up breaking volume sales records--as opposed to suing bit-torrent users! Bethesda had the right ideas--CDPR, unfortunately, did not. I think the sales volume numbers categorically prove it.

Seriously--I wish CDPR the best of luck as I love the Witcher games and have bought W1 and W2, as stated. I have to tell you though that all of your posturing about being "against DRM" and being a "friend of the gamer" is sounding utterly ridiculous at this point. OF COURSE you are a "gamer's friend" because the product you are selling is a GAME...;) Heh...;) I mean, what? You want it known that you are not the gamer's enemy? Eh? Let's hope not!

Here's hoping you guys get your heads in the right place because CDPR is every bit as capable as Bethesda in creating record-breaking, jaw-dropping, sales numbers for its games! But if your head stays in the RIAA/MPAA space of "look what we're losing" (only possibly) instead of "How can we sell the most copies of our software it is possible to sell?", CDPR is unfortunately never going to get there in my opinion. Stop the condescension and start using your brains, is my sincere advice...!...;)


 
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It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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43. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 09:05 necrosis
 
Ruffiana wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 16:28:
necrosis wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 15:33:
Ruffiana wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 14:16:
nin wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 14:12:
Rob wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 14:06:
And what happens when those servers go down?

Remember people not being able to play Spore? Or Assasin's Creed? Or Bionic Commando Rearmed?


And we've come full circle! Everyone back to the "Diablo III in February" thread!


It will function exactly as MMOs have for 2 decades now. Occasional outage, miniscule inconvenience, thunderous fist-shaking, and then people will get back to their digital crack a few minutes later.

More OT, this is an insult to the term "witch hunt". Unlike piracy, witches aren't real. And the standard test for determining whether ot not someone has illegally distributed copyrighted material is not 'toss them in a body of water and see if they fail to drown'.
But these are not MMO's. They have no solid need for constant internet access. Yes I know you need internet for multiplayer (duh) but why the hell do I need a constant internet connection (or even one at launch) for a single player/the single player portion of a game?

Also it is like the witch hunts of a time long past. They are searching for people and prosecuting them for something they have little (if any) solid proof of.

It's a semantics arguement. A great deal of the time, MMOs are played exactly like single player games. ArenaNet took the Diablo II battlenet model, made one minor tweak to it, and launched a genuine MMO game.

Just because something isn't required for every aspect of a game does not mean it will fail. Requiring a persistent online connection for gameplay is what MMOs have been doing for a long time. It's when single-player developers jump blindly into this structure that things go tit's up. But Blizzard has a ton of experience with it and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they can provide a smooth, stable online experience for Diablo III.

Don't like it, then don't buy it. The market will undoubtedly be there without you.
Why do you keep bringing up MMO's when we are not even talking about MMO's? Why do you continue to assume everyone on the planet has a perfect or at least 90% uptime internet connection in every single location they want to play a game? Also why do you think that a always on internet connection is needed for a game that has no need for it?
 
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42. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 07:29 Mashiki Amiketo
 
The problem is you're trying to compare actions, that can and may kill a person, group or group of people. And may, with due cause cause actual loss of physical property and inflict bodily or grievous harm on various parties. With something that may, may not, or even have a positive monetary impact for a company. In many places underage drinking isn't a crime, neither is speeding. They're both considered offences, and non-criminal. Meaning that at worst, you pay a fine and go on your way. Though piracy is considered criminal.

The laws do not reflect the acts, or actions, or even intent. Nor do they weigh the loss, benifits, gains, or anything else. At the end of the day, piracy isn't theft, nothing is stolen. The original is still there. The value hasn't increased, or decreased. Anymore than what it was being sold for before. The intrinsic value for which it was being sold for hasn't changed. The only difference is, there's a copy which wasn't paid for. And depending on where you are in the world. You 'buy' that copy, you don't license it. And that in itself is another whole bowl of wax.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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41. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 04:19 Mordhaus
 
The problem with piracy is that much like some of the other lesser crimes, such as underage drinking or speeding, it is hard to enforce against and the punishments are light enough to be negligible (unless you are distributing the product). Additionally you will always have a segment of people who feel that the legality of stopping it is questionable, just like people who feel that you shouldn't legislate the aforementioned examples.

The thing is most of the same people who support more 'freedom' from laws would be the first people to backtrack on their position if they were more directly affected. For instance, if an underage drinker was driving while intoxicated and speeding, leading to the death of someone the previously mentioned anti-legality supports cared about.

A simpler example would be the person being told by their employer that they were being let go or not able to be given a raise due to economic loss in their business. For instance, if you work in a supermarket and due to the amount of loss from shoplifting the store had to take drastic measures to stay profitable.

You can rationalize it in any form you like, but piracy is the theft of something that doesn't belong to you. You can get away with it much easier than other forms of theft and at the moment the punishment is negligible, but it is no different than stealing a car or a clothes from a retailer.
 
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40. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 00:38 Prez
 
A $1100 fine if proven guilty (as they were suggesting) for software piracy hardly seems unreasonable.

It seems outrageously unreasonable to me.
 
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39. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 00:17 Jerykk
 
Furthermore, CDP announced shortly before the release of the Witcher 2 that they were discontinuing use of geo-IP on GOG and letting users use the location options in the Account Settings. So your argument is moot.

I think GOG had to recently start enforcing region blocking due to Namco's lawsuit about distribution rights.
 
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38. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 23:07 Prez
 
I didn't say that anywhere. I said stealing is stealing and software piracy is a form of stealing.

Yeah, sorry - I screwed the pooch on that one. It was said in a discussion you were involved in, but not by you. Really sorry about the error. That's what I get for posting while distracted.


 
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37. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 20:48 PHJF
 
As PHJF has pointed out elsewhere, everyone breaks the law.

I didn't say that anywhere. I said stealing is stealing and software piracy is a form of stealing.

That being said, the monetary "damages" claimed by these companies is always stupidly outrageous. For physically stealing a movie from a Wal Mart you may face a few hundred dollars in fines, but download the movie and suddenly the MPAA wants $50,000.
 
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36. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 20:39 shponglefan
 
Krovven wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 12:21:
Kinda shocked at some peoples attitude. They didn't use DRM that effects legit customers. They go after individuals in a way that doesn't effect legit users and people still complain. Do they not have a right to defend their software and business at all without catching shit from the masses? They need to be very thorough when making their accusations, but the masses should bud the fuck out when it comes to CD Projekt defending their property* that doesn't effect legit customers.

^ This. Companies really can't win at least the way current copyright laws are. We need better laws.
 
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35. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 20:03 Krovven
 
Prez wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 19:52:
I don't consider my or anyone else's lobbying for more reasonable action rather than storm-trooping over pirates to be "bullying".

Your comments and opinions may have not been "bullying" but it was certainly out there. I'm not basing my statements solely on things you or anyone on these boards has said about this matter. But there was a lot of misguided hate towards CDP at the time this first broke. People that throw out "misguided hate" shouldn't be the ones having influence over CDP's legal actions.

Prez wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 19:52:
Reasonable responses for minor infractions are always better.

A $1100 fine if proven guilty (as they were suggesting) for software piracy hardly seems unreasonable. So I don't know what you would consider reasonable. It's not like the RIAA where they were seeking tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from individual users that had already proven they didn't pirate the music.

 
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34. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 19:59 personman_145
 
"So we’ve decided that we will immediately cease identifying and contacting pirates."

You mean SUSPECTED pirates... Guilty till proven innocent, gotta love it. Might as well use DRM.

Edit: At any given time, I could hop on 2 or 3 different unprotected wifi connections and pirate whatever I wish.
 
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33. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 19:54 Krovven
 
Acleacius wrote on Jan 12, 2012, 19:16:
Humm, is it possible GoG is region lock or blocked in some countries forcing some to buy from other locations?

It took them 10 days after release to patch out the DRM from other releases. Furthermore, CDP announced shortly before the release of the Witcher 2 that they were discontinuing use of geo-IP on GOG and letting users use the location options in the Account Settings. So your argument is moot.

Point was, briktal was saying the digital versions all had DRM, which is completely false.

End result is, I firmly believe that CDP has championed on behalf of the end-user over the last many years with regards to DRM and those very people turned on CDP in a blink of an eye.

 
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32. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 12, 2012, 19:52 Prez
 
What anger? I'm not angry, this ultimately doesn't effect me in any way other than the potential longer term ramifications to the industry as a whole. Or, it could maybe mean CDP's next game won't have any DRM free options. I just disagree that CDP should be in turn bullied by what were probably mostly people that never even bought the game.

Well, you sure write like you are angry, but apologies for the unintentional misrepresentation.

I don't consider my or anyone else's lobbying for more reasonable action rather than storm-trooping over pirates to be "bullying". And I do so not to protect pirates, but because I believe it is in CD Projekt's best interest.

Still doesn't change that they broke the law, stole or helped to distribute the software. Using "I was broke at the time" isn't an excuse.

Sure it's an excuse; it's just not a very good one. As PHJF has pointed out elsewhere, everyone breaks the law. EVERYONE. Be it speeding, fudging just a little on your taxes, underage drinking, what have you. Doesn't make them the devil. Reasonable responses for minor infractions are always better.
 
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