As the creator of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077, game developer CD Projekt won the hearts of millions of gamers.
The anti-DRM stance is laudable but also has its drawbacks. Most notably, it becomes much easier for pirates to copy and share games. And indeed, new GOG games were swiftly shared online, including on a site that even copied its name: GOG-Games.com.
CD Project likely anticipated that their games would be pirated, but seeing a site use its own brand to promote pirated games must have stung. As a result, the videogame company has worked hard to get GOG-Games offline.
GOG-Games Under Pressure
Earlier this week, those efforts appeared to pay off when GOG-Games replaced its game repository with a notice that signaled serious problems.
According to the operators, CD Projekt’s GOG team has been trying to take the site offline since 2011. Since GOG-Games uses a host that simply ignores DMCA notices, results have been limited, but more recently, the admin was contacted directly.
“[S]omeone from their legal team sent a ‘DMCA – final call’ email directly to our site admin email address,” the notice reveals.
The email in question wasn’t directed at the operators of the site directly, but at the hosting company. It notes that GOG-Games violates GOG’s copyrights and trademarks, urging the provider to take action.
“The website is infringing GOG’s word by using it to brand an unlawful operation of downloading both CD PROJEKT Group’s and third parties’ games. The website also infringes CD PROJEKT S.A. trademarks and copyrights related to CD PROJEKT S.A games; The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077.”
“We are extremely determined to take the above mentioned website down and we would like to ask you to treat the situation with utmost importance,” the email adds.
Fearing that the game company could eventually file a lawsuit against the hosting provider, or worse, GOG-Games.com decided to pull the plug voluntarily. At least for the time being.
“We are going to treat this matter seriously. As such, we are honoring the DMCA notice and all the copyrighted content is made in-accessible,” the GOG-Games team announced.
The site’s operators apologized to the people who donated in the past but also offered assurances that this wouldn’t necessarily be the end. The operators were considering a move to the dark web, shielding its hosting location.
GOG-Games Moves to the Dark Web
The plan was more concrete than the message suggested. Just a few hours after the ‘takedown’ announcement first appeared, it was already replaced by another one, noting that the site was accessible again on the dark web.
As far as we can see, the dark web version of the site continues to operate as it did before, offering a library of pirated games.
Commenting on the recent developments, a spokesperson for CD Projekt’s GOG platform informed TorrentFreak that it has a gamers-first approach, while respecting rightsholders.
“Piracy is totally against those values and undermines the great work that developers and publishers do to create games we, and our community, cherish. Having said that, we are monitoring pirate sites that violate gamers’ experience and are taking action, as necessary.
“Each case is treated individually, and the GOG-games.com case is not an exemption from that rule,” the spokesperson added, noting that the company will continue investigating this issue.
Update: GOG-Games is now back on the clear web with a .to domain name.