Game dev tracks pirates, sends mass legal threats

If you’ve been playing an illegal version of the game The Witcher 2, the game’s developers have been watching you.

That development group, CD Projekt RED (CDP Red), claims to have found a fool-proof way to detect who is playing a legitimate copy of its game and who pirated it.

As a result, the Polish company has sent out legal notices to thousands of pirates in Germany, where copyright protection law is among the strictest.

Obviously, CDP Red is not the first to track down pirates en masse. There have been numerous other infamous cases, most notoriously among MP3 downloaders, based on tracked IP addresses.

But IP addresses only go so far and it’s difficult to point them to a specific person, especially to make it stick under the magnifying glass of a federal court.

But CDP Red’s new technology apparently can identify a specific person as a pirate. It has not disclosed the exact algorithm it’s using, but it feels confident enough to be demanding money from thousands of online gamers.

“We’re addressing only 100% confirmed piracy causes that are 100% possible to prove. We are not worried about tracking the wrong people. As this is the trade secret of the company working on this, I cannot share it. However, we investigated the subject before we decided on this move, and we aware of some past complications (the famous Davenport case). The method used here is targeting only 100% confirmed piracy cases. No innocent person was targeted with the letter so far. At least we have not received any information as of now which would indicate something like that,” confirmed CDP Red VP Michael Nowakowski in an e-mail to PC Gamer.

CDP Red has not elaborated on whether it plans to further its legal actions to other countries, but this should be one of the strongest warnings yet that game pirating is illegal and definitively trackable.