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The Witcher author demands £12m additional royalties from CD Projekt

CD Projekt has received an official demand for additional royalties from author of the Witcher series, Andrzej Sapkowski, amounting to 60 million Polish zloty (£12.4m).

The studio has denied said demand in a statement on its site, calling the claims for additional royalties ‘groundless’.

CD Projekt also took the decision to upload Sapkowski’s initial correspondence supporting his claim, as sent by legal representatives, detailing his arguments. The figure of 60 million zloty was reached by factoring about six per cent of CD Projekt’s profits as a ‘conservative’ payment, and the letter states the amount of money Sapkowski has so far received for the Witcher’s copyright ‘is too low’.

“Considering the specific relationship between you and Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski,” the letter reads, “The Author’s nature and character, and also your own standing and business interests, we are prepared to settle the matter in an amicable – and more importantly – expeditious and quiet manner.”

The claim then goes on to intimate that this information being made public would negatively impact CD Projekt’s stock price, hence it being kept quiet by the claimant when the letter was sent. CD Projekt’s subsequent decision to publish the letter in full, then, shows where the publisher stands on that.

CD Projekt’s response in the above-mentioned statement dismisses the claim, saying: “The notice indicates that Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski expects payment of additional royalties beyond what had been contractually agreed upon between himself and the Company.

“In the Company’s opinion 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. All liabilities payable by the Company in association therewith have been properly discharged.”

The publisher statement says that the company will maintain its approach in efforts to reach an amicable resolution of the dispute: “However, any such resolution must be respectful of previously expressed intents of both parties, as well as existing contracts.”

We will update should anything further emerge from the claim, or if indeed Sapkowski does move to litigate in the courts.

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