Witcher Author Demands $16 Million From CD Projekt Red

Witcher Author Demands $16 Million From CD Projekt Red

The author is claiming owed royalties from the popular video game series.

Polish author Andrezej Sapkowski and writer of The Witcher series has put in a demand of payment to CD Projekt Red asking for 60m PLN, which is about $16.1 million USD. CD Projekt Red responded by publishing Sapkowski's demand online and calls it "groundless with regard to their merit as well as the stipulated amount."

In a letter by Sapkowski's lawyers, the writer's legal team claims that according to Article. 44 of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights which can be invoked "when the compensation remitted to the author is too low given the benefits obtained in association with the use of that author's work."

Sapkowski's lawyers also claim that the original agreement only covered the first Witcher game, and that subsequent sequels require additional deals. Something CD Projekt Red refutes in its blog post.

Sapkowski told Eurogamer in 2017 that when CD Projekt Red approached him for the rights to make video games based off of his novels, that he accepted a lump sum, and rejected royalties from the game believing that they wouldn't sell well.

"They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said, 'No, there will be no profit at all – give me all my money right now! The whole amount. It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn't believe in their success. But who could forsee their success? I couldn't."

Sapkowsky apparently believes in their success now and is coming after what he apparently believes is his, royalties for the use of his series for CD Projekt Red's video game series.

The Witcher 3 sold over 33 million units since launch.

CD Projekt Red, which rejected the claims made by Sapkowski and his lawyers, still wish to be on "good relations" with the author, though it's not clear if this means the company intends to settle. Sapkowski's lawyers are also open to an "expeditious and quiet" settlement.

"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."

The outcome of this dispute is still developing and Sapkowski's lawyers have given CD Projekt Red an October 19 deadline to begin negotiations.

In the meantime, both CD Projekt Red and Sapkowski are pursuing other projects. CD Projekt Red is working on Cyberpunk 2077 based on the classic tabletop series, while Sapkowski, perhaps thinking about his deals with CD Projekt Red, is working with Netflix on the upcoming live-action Witcher series starring Henry Cavill.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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