The Witcher series and subsequent games like Gwent are big money for CD Projekt Red and the world’s original author Andrzej Sapkowski. It would seem, then, that those big money totals are fueling a Witcher rights dispute between the dev studio and Sapkowski, as CDPR has flatly refused to pay additional royalties.
While Sapkowski initially sold the rights to the Witcher for a lump sum amount, his legal team is now demanding an additional payment of 60 million Polish zlotys – approximately $16 million US – for subsequent games released under the IP. In a demand that was initially privately sent to CD Projekt Red, Sapkowski’s lawyers argue that the lump sum agreement was only for the first game and not additional titles or sequels.
CD Projekt Red has very publicly said no.
“The Company had legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company. All liabilities payable by the Company in association therewith have been properly discharged.
“It is the Company’s will to maintain good relations with authors of works which have inspired CD PROJEKT RED’s own creations. Consequently, the Board will go to great lengths to ensure amicable resolution of this dispute; however, any such resolution must be respectful of previously expressed intents of both parties, as well as existing contracts.”
It would seem that the legal counsel hired by Sapkowski is prepared for any extended legal battle that might come out of this demand. “We wish to assure you that the case has been under preparation for a fairly long time,” reads part of the demand. “Even more importantly, both we and the Author are determined and prepared to see this matter through to a fully successful conclusion.”
It’s important to bear in mind here that this isn’t an actual legal filing so much as a private missive. That said, it’s interesting that CDPR would publish this demand. Which could mean one of two things: either they’re calling Sapkowski’s bluff, or (more conspiratorially) they’re hoping for a legion of fans to aggressively get on the author’s case.
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