Late in 2018, an unexpected lawsuit was launched against CD Projekt by Andrzej Sapkowski, the Polish author of the original Witcher novels. In the Witcher lawsuit, Sapkowski and his lawyers demanded millions of dollars in royalty payments; despite the fact that Sapkowski had sold the video game rights to the Witcher for a single sum, rather than through a royalties contract. Fortunately, the lawsuit now has a resolution with an amicable settlement between the two parties.
Author Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Lawsuit Against CD Projekt
Andrzej Sapkowski has in the past made public comments about his unhappiness with his relationship with CD Projekt. This unhappiness doesn’t seem to stem from the way that the company has treated him. Rather, it stems from his own decision to sell the rights to the Witcher franchise for a lump sum. Back in 2017, the author told Eurogamer that; “I said, ‘No, there will be no profit at all – give me all my money right now!’ It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn’t believe in their success.”
Unfortunately for Sapkowski, the decision proved to be very unwise, and that seemed to be the basis for his lawsuit. The author demanded roughly $16.1 million in royalties and claimed that his contract only covered the first Witcher game. CD Projekt quickly made a public statement refuting the legal basis for the lawsuit; “In the Company’s opinion,” it states; “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, insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company.”
The Metro Author’s Comments on the Witcher Lawsuit
As an interesting aside, the lawsuit prompted Metro author Dmitry Glukhovsky to call the Witcher author an ‘old fool.’ Glukhovsky has long been a proponent of gaming, and the Metro series in particular, with which he has been deeply involved. Speaking about the lawsuit, he compared the two series; “Without the gaming franchise, the Witcher series would never get this crazy international readership that it has,” he said; “And it’s not just about the gamers but the gaming press and the buzz it creates, and just the feeling of something great and massive and impressive coming out. This got people hooked. He [Sapkowski] would remain a local Eastern European phenomenon without this, but he would never break into the West. And the same goes for my Metro books. […] He is just an elderly man, he missed his chance, and well, what can you do?”
The Witcher Lawsuit’s Resolution
Now, the lawsuit has a resolution. As reported by Polish newspaper Puls Biznesu, CD Projekt has agreed an ‘amicable settlement’ with Sapkowski. The details of this arrangement aren’t public, but it seems highly unlikely that the company paid the amount which the author demanded. More likely, they reached an agreement to pay a smaller amount in order to settle the case quickly. The studio has previously stated that it seeks; “to maintain good relations with authors of works which have inspired CD Projekt Red’s own creations.”