CD Project Red appears to be in another dispute with The Witcher series creator and author Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski.
I can understand him being upset that they are making buckets of money from his creation, but he signed a contract and agreed to X amount of money. He can't just change his mind. It is a shame that this might prevent a future deal ever being made for more Witcher content, but I don't see how the developer is in the wrong here.
Agreed. CDPR still have the rights for more Witcher games though (see ThroneBreaker etc). They bought the rights to use the world and characters in games. Mr Sapkowski at the time didn't think games would make significant revenue and sold the rights to the games for a whopping one off lump of... $9,500. He didn't even ask for royalties. 0.o https://www.pcgamesn.com/th...
CDPR offered him royalties and he rejected them for a fixed amount of money. Suck it up Sapkowski.
What's really sad is that the licensing costs is extraordinarily low. Even if its a marginal title that the author didn't think was worth that much, that is a pittance in today's world, even about a decade ago when it was paid. I'd think that 50 grand + royalties would be the minimum to be honest. Maybe 100-250 grand without royalties depending on how well known the series was. Seems to me the author just took a quick payday for something he didn't think was worth it, which makes me question his own confidence in the project, and wonder why he should be entitled to more if he didn't see the potential. CDPR is the one that made the games popular, and they probably could have done it without the Witcher name attached. It's not like the series was well known before they got their hands on it, and they could have made their own story in a similar setting and had it be just as good. The author agreed to the sum though, and while it would be nice of CDPR if they did compensate him some more, they are under no obligation that I know of unless there is more to the contract we don't know about. It'd just be them doing something nice, which isn't beyond them to be honest. But I believe it does set up a bad precedent. Honestly, just seems that the author needs a new agent that understands the value, or potential value of an IP. Otherwise, no use crying over spilt milk. Author could easily spend that $9500 on lawyers and court costs to try and get more money, and still probably not win if the contract is in place.
CDPR vs Sapkowski somewhat similar to George Lucas vs 20th Century Fox. In both cases Sapkowski/20th Century Fox made bad deals in lack of belief whereas CDPR/Lucas believed. I do feel bad for him, and maybe they could have thrown him a bone once it was successful but they were in no way obliged to and it's not like the gaming industry is a risk free business. CDPR has also shown they are willing to bet a lot of that earned money on a new franchise which is pretty gutsy.
It would also be very interesting to see how his book sales spiked after the Witcher games released. I know I bought the books after playing the games. I am sure he has profited off of book sales thanks to the game. The guy is an idiot, and clearly salty because Witcher 3 made so much money. The one thing we should keep in mind though, is that this is a case being raised in Poland. So whilst it is easy to say 'he signed away his rights to the IP', we don't know the ins and outs of Polish contract law. There's some really bizarre wording in the document by his lawyers. But it seems more like a desperate shake down to me.
"The one thing we should keep in mind though, is that this is a case being raised in Poland." - this. There is very clear statement in the polish copyright legislation according to which he has right to demand pay rise.
Besides, isn't Netflix planning to make a TV series of The Witcher. I'm assuming the story will come straight from the book, so how many royalties will he be getting from that? I can understand why you would want a larger cut if you saw something you created being the main reason for someone else profit. And If polish says your within your rights to review this, then sure i would look into it. But you also want to make sure you keep a good relationship with the people that created the winning partnership. Otherwise you risk losing the whole thing. Don't bite the hands that feeds you, but it's also a good idea not to try and shoo away the bloody horse.
@Lynx While that may be so, he's already been paid, so how would a non-recurring sum of payment be later raised, since he has effectively already been paid for a single product of IP rights. That IP right transference was delivered, he was paid, and I can't see how there would be any way he can go back and demand more payment for what has already transpired. That just seems like a legal loophole that could too easily be abused by any dishonest person who sells something at a set price, then decides they want more money. You're right that Polish law is different than other countries, but this seems like a pretty cut and dry scenario for the terms that were given. If he had agreed to only the 3 games + the card game, and I assume some game merchandising rights....as some elements belong to CDPR for their own created work(artwork, their own game scenarios and stories not part of the original text, creatures, etc), then sure, he can ask for much more for any future licensing rights. But licensing deals tend to be final in every part of the world, otherwise they create problems like this. I think this guy really has profited much more off the games in the long run than the initial sum, and he should probably remember that. His IP is now worth a lot more than it was before, his book has sold more, and there is high potential for his IP to be brought up for some other medium, such as movies, TV's, comics, or stories written by other authors....or even himself. He didn't see the value before, so I don't see why he should be entitled to compensation because someone else showed him the way. Some authors understand the value of their IP, even if its not readily apparent, and don't just sign away rights for what is a minimal sum.
Further, while they're making buckets of money, his book sales have likely exploded as well. It's not like he's not getting anything out of this beyond the contract money. I'm sure he's getting money from the upcoming series on Netflix as well.
Reminds me of Chuck Wepner. He turned down a percentage of the profits for Rocky, thinking it would be a bust and instead took a one time fee. Missed out on millions.
The guy is upset because he didn't have the foresight to ask/demand a percentage of royalties on the back end. Boo hoo. The guy had no faith in the developer, and didn't think gaming was a big deal at all, so.........you get what you got. Deal with it. You signed the contract. You weren't duped. The developer put in all the hard work, now the guy wants a second bite at the apple? F up outta here.
I HATE this! They took a relatively unknown series of books (not that it was without its fans), and made it a worldwide phenomenon. They have brought so much attention to this IP. I’d have to read more, but I’m not sure whether he owns any of the IP anymore. If so, get to WORK!!!! You now have a means to money that you never had before. If not, then probably should have been more careful. CDPR was very good with the source material and gave the world something special. Edit: I believe he still maintains rights to his books...so start writing! Make some money and stop trying to steal from others’ hard work. It’s pathetic!
Quite frequently, from what A. Sapkowski has said before, he looks like a real d*ck. He's always bitching and disgruntled about the Witcher game franchise.
Yeah, the books are nice but he needs to get over himself, TW3 is better. I'm guessing he's looking for a paycheck now that the books are mostly finished.
His books are nice? The first few are nice, the last three are amazing.
"Yeah, the books are nice but he needs to get over himself, TW3 is better." I never heard from anyone who read the books that the games are better.
When it comes to total entertainment value, I would place The Witcher 3 in particular above the books yes. Storywriting between the two is a different matter, but I'm talking about the overall experience.
Maybe he looks so, maybe he is. Doesn't matter, the law is the law and makes no exceptions.
As far as I know, contract law is fairly uniform across the civilized world--as it should be, since it's mostly common sense. I agree to give you something valuable; you agree to give me something valuable in return. Signatures, done deal.
He claimed several times that he wanted all the royalty money before CD Projekt Red started making the games. He didn't believe the games would be successful... that's what he signed for and that's what he got. CD Projekt Red paid him and moved on in making the games. ... unfortunately for A. Sapkowski, the games were more popular then he expected... now he wants more money even if it's not on the contract... LOL
Wow, what a disappointment. Sure, he's probably feeling pissed that he didn't ask for more in the initial deal, but let's be honest, the success of the games has transferred into more sales of his novels. Most people hadn't even heard of them before the games came along, it's given him tons of exposure. And as others have said, a deal was made, papers were signed.
I think he disregarded just how much revenue games can bring in. If CDPR somehow misrepresented what was possible, then that'd be one thing, but I think even they didn't expect the success that they had with the series. He thought he'd take a paycheck, there would be one game, it probably wouldn't sell much, then there wouldn't be any more games made. But in that, he disregarded that CDPR could have sold those rights to someone else, and they would have already made it worth more than what they brought it for with the release of the game. There may have been something in the contract which prevented that though. He should have researched it more thoroughly, and when someone came knocking, his agent would should have maybe shopped the IP rights around, because if one person is interested, its likely someone else may have been interested as well. For instance, George RR Martin apparently had an offer for a movie deal with his Game of Throne books. He shopped the IP around, and HBO gave him more money, and more creative control over the show itself. He made a lot more money off it, and it became wildly successful. The situation is a bit different, because his books were quite popular, but at the same time, he understood that his IP was worth money.
Tbh how can you gauge how successful a new gaming IP would be and how to present that in an agreement of this kind?
George are our R r ar r Martin
To be honest, most of Sapkowski‘s works wouldn’t have been as popular and as well known as they have been right now if it wasn’t for CDPR and the Witchers games. So in a way, he should have been thankful to CDPR. If and when CDPR make another sequel to the Witchers, he gonna see even more money coming his way and his works will even be elevated to a higher height. So I really don’t understand why this guy is so greedy.
That is a fact. I read one of his collections. It wasn't bad, but my interest in Geralt from the game is the only thing that really compelled me to continue reading. It certainly wasn't Sapkowski's writing. lol. To be fair, it is a translation so maybe it is better in Polish. Don't know. Don't really care. Fact is, Sapkowski sold Witcher for a song and now he is bitter about it. If the original Witcher had lost money would he had offer to give some money back to CPDR? lol....nope.
I think he's good at crafting a story and world. But I believe the translations fall a bit flat. At least the English one I read. Overall, most people seem to think the books are really good, and tend to get better after the first three.
Are you serious? It was one of the most popular fantasy novels. In Poland it was as popular as Tolkien (and imo is much much better). Sure games give him some advertisement in the world (because we live in the world where most people doesn't read books and most of them surely don't understand how intertextual connections work in culture) but is that advertisement really worth anything if the author doesn't have money from it? Why everybody is supporting big corporation and no the real author here? And why you don't even check how it looks in polish law?
I don’t support big corporations who take advantage of other people. But let be real here. Its Sapkowski himself who signed the contract to sell his work to CDPR. No one pointed a gun to his head to force him to do it. So how does he have any basis to ask them to give him royalty when he straight out rejected it in the first place and opted to get a one off payment instead? Also, it is one thing to hate big corporations, but don’t you think they deserve to be treated fairly too? Because after all, those big corporations are composed of people who work for a living as well. They are not machines.
I would maybe agree, except CDPR did offer him a couple choices. It was his own belief that the games wouldn't go anywhere, and it was his assessment that the IP was only worth $9500. That's a failing on his part to accept the one time payment, and for underestimating the value of his IP. CDPR has always seemed like they were honest and willing to give what was due. I wouldn't even put it past them to actually pay him more money because they made so much. But I also believe that sets a bad precedent, and any author could just sell their IP rights for a quick payday, only to demand more later if something came of it. That being said, The Witcher couldn't have been one of the most popular fantasy novels world wide for it to only net 9500 in IP licensing costs. That's a really low sum, and I don't really know how even CDPR thought that would be a good amount to spend for a game which had such a large budget. I think the series has become more popular through the games. I tend to read a lot of fantasy novels, and I had only heard of the series in passing a few times before the games came out.
Popular fantasy novel in Poland doesn't mean much to the rest of the world, dude. And better than Tolkein? Is that what you said? Because that is utterly ridiculous.
If we don't read books as you just said, why would we support someone we don't read?
What part of "he signed a contract" do you not understand? CDPR offered royalties to him when they offered the contract. Sapkowski DECLINED. He wanted money now instead of later. CDPR honored their end of the contract and they are not entitled to give him another penny. Are you saying CDPR should give him more because The Witcher is popular now? I'm sorry where was Sapkowski when the games blew up in the market? Whose hard work was it that made those games what they are today? Who put The Witcher on the map worldwide? Hint: It's not Sapkowski. Your logic makes absolutely no sense.
I might try anything if I had made such a huge mistake too. Though he should have done his due diligence before selling away all his work. License each game or have a clause for royalties after certain success.
He's been nothing but negative since the beginning, I can recall articles about the very first witcher he seemed jealous of the game being praised as if it somehow took away from the books, every article that is centered around him he comes off as bitter and envious of his own products success, as if cdpr forced him to hand away his rights at gunpoint. At the time your product wasn't as known it was a risk both ways, this game skyrocketed cdpr to the top and I'm sure has made them a pretty penny but in the beginning it wasn't a known series so at that point the agreed upon deal was fair to both you and them, it sucks but no one could have knew it would become this big, no point sitting up being a negative nancy just be humble and when they want to do a sequel that's when you see about money or venture into other lanes the series is big enough now a netfflix series is coming be happy about that lol.
Wait it's on him article taken from 2017 . .they offered this fool future profits he didn't believe in his own product “I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch,” Sapkowski told Eurogamer. “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 foresee their success? I couldn’t.” Lmao they were nice enough to not try to screw you over and you did them the favor by screwing yourself . . most companies would have loved for an idiot like this to come before them . . they gave him a chance to secure his future and he turned it down and now he's mad about his choices lol . . At the very least even if you thought it would be a waste of time why not just say "yeah you know what i'll take 15 percent off every copy sold" this guy sold his life work for 9k . .better yet he sold his livelihood for a 2017 hyundai sonata lol
If he took a percentage of the revenue, then likely they wouldn't have offered him the $9500 also. There is usually less of an initial payout in such cases. CDPR and their producer probably weren't completely sure of the success either, which is the only reason why I can see them offering such a low sum, so a royalty deal for them may have been more attractive at the beginning. Obviously that isn't the case now. Granted, he probably could have gotten more of an initial payout, as well as royalties had he tried, because that seems like a really low sum for a IP license.
What’s next, Aya Nishitani is going to ask for royalties for the future profit of the Shin Megami Tensei and subseries Persona? Once you sign over it in a contract you can’t go back on it Andrzej Sapkowski.
Old fart didn't count on huge succes of a game media. From the start he didnt believed that the game will be something...Here in Croatia is the same case, old folks still dont believe in technology. All are very sceptic about new things. Sapkowski's lack of trust in new media and technology has backfired, now he crying like a baby for more money.
Just because you create something doesn’t mean you own it entirely. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki... Especially when you sign over the rights for it in any way.
Bitter. Old. Man. https://www.eurogamer.net/a...
The games are far better than the books.
Not even close
They offered him a percent of profits but he said no. https://www.pcgamer.com/the... This gonna be an interesting law suit.
Get over it. This guys owes CDPR money for making him and The Witcher beyond relevant! Besides Netflix is coming out with a series he can cash in on.
I want to feel sorry for him, but I really am not able to, after all the things he's said about not just the witcher games, but video games as a medium. Besides, who would sell ANY of your IP's rights away for a mere USD $9500? Even if it is the early 2000's (when CDPR started to work on Witcher 1), you could have made bank on the permanent sellout as Witcher was an established IP (books and TV series). Are you insane? He's jealous (which I kinda understand because the source material is his creation after all) of the billions that the franchise has made for CDPR. Should have taken the offer of the % cut when he was offered. No point crying over spilled milk now.
I don't feel sorry for him, and I don't want to. He walked into his fate with both eyes open. He was offered a better deal. He refused it and took an up-front payment. Now he wants to renege on the agreement. Screw him.
Guy didn't believe in his own work and made a bad deal. I'm tired of this guy getting media attention from it.
Just busted out the Witcher 3 for my 3rd play through. Fucking love this game. The author is a grumpy dude when it comes to video games as a way of expression. At any rate, he signed those papers - I would be pissed at my lawyers.
Actually I feel sorry for him. He should have accepted royalties rather than a one time payment. Seems like he did get much at all. https://www.dualshockers.co... $9500 USD of today's money. Which is nothing considering CD is making a mint off the game. He made a big mistake but it's not CD's fault at all and legally they don't owe him a dime. He seems very bitter about it and has complained about the games destroying his books. I wish CD would give him something more actually as a gift. Not in the tune of $15 million though lol. I'm sure the games helped him make some money as well so he really shouldn't bash them. I never knew of the books till I played The Witcher 3. The game was so good (best of this gen for me) that I bought and read all the books.
Boo hoo. Hindsight’s a bitch. Maybe don’t be so ignorant when signing and making a deal?
In accordance with the law in Poland (I checked - it is clear as a day), he has right to demand aditional royalties because there is too much difference between what he was paid and was what CDPR earn from his work. I'm with the author here - he is a man who invented that universe (his books are 100 times better than the game, btw) and it is a joke to see how little he earn on it.
most people haven't read all the books, they stop at the first one which is by far the worst. It's basically filler. Tower of Swallows, Baptism of fire and lady of the lake are so so good. But I only brought them after witcher 3 TO BE FAIRXD
So couldn't that be applied to any single payment contract? Say I buy a beat up old classic car for $500. Put in a few thousand dollars, then sell it for $20K because its a desirable classic car. Would the person I brought it from then be entitled to demand more than the initial $500? That original owner didn't think it was worth more than $500, or at least was willing to part with it for $500. Me, as the restorer, put in the time and work and money to make it into something worth $20K. If the original owner wasn't willing to do that, and didn't see the worth in it....especially when they themselves admit they didn't see that value....why should they be entitled to anything. The law you mention makes more sense when it comes to recurring payments, but since that doesn't exist here, I fail to see how a product delivered upon at a set price can have that price contested almost two decades later. That may be Polish law, but it seems like a hugely subjective legal loophole that could allow anyone to come back and gain more money after someone else does the work. It means that a company or property owner could take a quick pay day anytime, then come back and try and get more money later after someone else does all the work. Speaking of coming in two decades later to demand more, it discounts the nature of inflation. What if they made a couple duds, or games that only sold marginally well? Then the third came out and it was highly successful. Why should after two decades of work by the license holder putting in a lot of time and effort to make something worthwhile, the original creator be entitled to anything, especially when they themselves have been negative towards the games, thinking they would fail, and never once openly giving support to those that actually created the works which then became successful? I worked for a guy who remodelled homes for a long while on the side, and such a contract would be absolutely terrible if when he brought people's houses for $50-100K, only to put in $20-30 and resell them at $200-250K, that the owner then decided they wanted more. It would slow any closings on the house, and go against the concept of the free market which allows people to buy and sell at whatever cost they deem is appropriate. Allowing the courts to decide the value of something sold or traded between private parties is not capitalism, and if Poland is anything like the rest of the world, I'm sure he had a chance to back out of the deal within a set time frame after the contract was sold....3-5 days in most of the western world. Sure, the author created the universe, but CDPR put in the work to make the games successful. They did what they had to do. The author admitted he didn't even think that was possible. Just because CDPR proved it was possible, doesn't mean he's really entitled to anything IMO.
I am a huge CDPR fan, but at least offer the guy a little respect for the world and characters he created, even if he is a bit of a grouch. Respect for creation goes a long way, no need to break the bank, just a token payment or something. I know this will get downvotes, but credit due for building such an amazing world... I'm old school on this.
I respect his work, but not the man so much. He claims he's entitled to more, but I've never seen him give any support to the game itself. He's been quite critical of it in fact. He's spent time in interviews trying to paint CDPR in a bad light as if they somehow swindled him, despite him saying he didn't see the value in his own work. It's hard to respect the man when he changes his mind later after someone else does something more substantial than he ever did to bring the work into the mainstream. I respect authors that give their support to the licenced work when that work represents their creation well. I also respect the authors who feel derivative licensed work doesn't represent their work well, but don't make a fuss that they deserve credit or compensation not due to them, and they can make a case for why they feel the other work is a poor representation on their own other than the other work sets up expectations that are different than the authors original intent.
Still... Good, old fashioned respect. It's lost in this current world.
Completely understandable. Witcher game series lore, characters and games themselves would not have existed without this man. Heck some would argue that CD Projekt Red we know today, would not be the same, if it weren't for this man's work. However, in defense of CD Projekt Red they did offer him a certain amount of money, for which he foolishly accepted since the man likely did not have much trust in the same game developer (since they did not have ANY reputation before Witcher 1) and game industry overall. End of the day, there is no place for ideologies (as in, him refusing any royalties, and only asking a fixed amount of money, because according to him at the time "Games are stupid") in this kind of business, a lesson this man unfortunately learned the hard way.
I think CDPR could have become what they are today based on their own work. They took the story, character, and themes of the story and made it successful across the world in a big way. Let's be honest, more people probably know of the witcher as a game, and not a book. Thanks true with a lot of movies based on books as well. If they were capable of makjng the games they did with the witcher name, they could have done the same with a new or different ip. They seem to respect the witcher stories, which is why they wanted to make the games, but I don't think it was the biggest reason for their success
Possibly, but it was obviously the Witcher stories that inspired them to want to create an RPG centred around the books. It takes inspiration to create. You don't just suddenly click your fingers and have a gem of a game, film, book or piece of music.
Oh wow, I never knew about the Witcher books. Now that is something I can get behind,
Almost done book 2 and loving the series, but the author is just a bitter loser. He didn't have faith in his IP, and now that CDPR has blown in up in popularity, he's upset he didn't ask for more. The guy needs to accept that he screwed up.
Just give him $10,000 as a sign of good will and hush him up for good
I think that sets up a bad precedent. I also think it would probably be seen as an insult by this author. The series itself had pulled in over a billion dollars in revenue, and while CDPR could certainly afford a few million, or more, when you start doing that kind of thing, it makes the person your paying feel more entitled. I'd say they shouldn't because the author has never been supportive of the games. , and has been critical of CDPR...mostly because he made a mistake on the selling price of the license
Nah let his bitter ass keep talking. He made his choice. Now he has to live with it.
Sapkowski, you can take the cash now or what's behind that special door. I'll take the cash! The cash! Usually the prizes behind the door are crap anyway. Lets see what's behind that special door...
CDPR should give him a gaming rig and everywitcher game to enjoy his creation lol
CDPR is in the right simply because of the contract he signed.