Andrzej Sapkowski is reaching into CD Projekt RED’s pocket, and he does his best to benefit from the popularity surrounding The Witcher gaming franchise. After Mr. Sapkowski – the author of The Witcher saga, which the games were based on – sold the rights to The Witcher universe for a one-off payment of 35,000 PLN (around $10,000) more than a decade ago, he now figured he could go for more. Namely – $16,000,000. That is how much Mr. Sapkowski has requested from the developers, and he did so through his lawyer.
What’s more, Mr. Sapkowski’s claim is lawful. It is supported by Article 44 of the Polish Copyright Act, which states that the creator of any intellectual property is eligible for making more profit off such property should his current share pale in comparison with the money the company holding the rights makes. Considering how much of a financial success The Witcher 3 was, it seems like the case, and it should come as no surprise that Mr. Sapkowski would try and grab a piece of this pie. If Mr. Sapkowski won in court, CD Projekt would have to pay 6% of the money they made off the gaming franchise. An exact amount remains unknown.
More peculiar, however, is the fact that CD Projekt RED have supposedly also tinkered with a few other copyright laws. The lawyer for Mr. Sapkowski said that the legal aspect of The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3 licensing process was “questionable,” and that the developer paying $16 million would be the most plausible solution - for both parties.
But CD Projekt RED could not agree less. Mr. Sapkowski’s claim is, according to the developer, “unfair,” and the compensation would be “too high.” Any previous agreement they signed, the developer insists, was legitimate. All of them were also settled in the spirit of mutual respect. Instead of paying Mr. Sapkowski, CD Projekt wants to deescalate the situation, resolve the conflict peacefully, and stick to the agreements already made.
It is not the first time Mr. Sapkowski appeared in the spotlight – in a notorious way. The Polish author is known for his hostile approach towards gamers, and was already critical of The Witcher games in the past. But the franchise’s warm reception (to say at least) among the western audience – and the profits that came with it – made him board the hype train. Or rather – try to rob it.