It appears that the writer of The Witcher books, Andrzej Sapkowski, is demanding $16 million from CD Projekt RED, beyond what had been contractually agreed upon contract. From the looks of it, Sapkowski never believed that The Witcher games would be such a success and as such, he did not originally agreed for a percentage of CD Projekt RED’s profits. Instead, he sold the rights for a video-game for a fixed sum. However, and now that these games have sold millions, the writer wants a piece of that cake.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen authors selling their IPs for pennies, in both video-games and movies. And it all comes down to the contract that Sapkowski and CD Projekt RED signed.
CD Projekt RED claims that the demands expressed in the notice are “groundless with regard to their merit as well as the stipulated amount. The Company had legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, i.a. insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company. ”
According to the demand, Sapkowski’s and CD Projekt RED’s clause is unconditionally binding and it may 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.
Furthermore, the original deal is said to be only for the original The Witcher game, and not for its sequels. The demand suggests that “careful reading of your contracts concluded with the Author might lead one to conclude that, if the company did effectively acquire any copyright at all, it concerned only the first in a series of games, and therefore distribution of all other games, including their expansions, add-ons etc., is, simply speaking, unlawful.”
Remember that CD Projekt RED has acquired the rights for a Cyberpunk game based on the Cyberpunk 2020 novels, so the aforementioned statement may also apply to that game too.