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CDPR accused of plagiarism/copyright infringement of a Croatian song

boskee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
286
London
Elvis Stanić, a Croatian composer, has accused CD Projekt Red of copyright infringement/plagiarism of his song "Naranča". The song appeared on The Witcher 3 soundtrack as "Widow-maker". The song has been previously recorded by the musial group Percival, which provided compositions for the game's soundtrack.

After being contacted by the author, CDPR removed the song from the official soundtrack and its social media channels. The studio hasn't, however, compensated Stanić for the unauthorized use of his composition and ignored his repeated emails about the situation.

Stanić said (Google translated):

I'm addressing all the fans of the Witcher 3 game, which includes, among other things, my song Orange, aka Widow maker. You've probably noticed that last year the song was" missing "from the soundtrack of the song tracking software and with all the streaming and download the CD Projects have warned that the problem is likely to be a violation of the copyright of Croatian author Elvis Stanić, and that is true, but despite the warnings my lawyers sent to the CD Project, the CD Project ignored the warning, removed the song but continued to release it unlawfully a song about vinyl releases, a total of ten releases on which my song Naranca is, has been illegally renamed to Widow-Maker and signed by Mikolai Stroinski, Marcin Przybyłowicz, namely, the original composition of Orson's song for the Croatian vocal composition of Putokazi 2000.and duly registered with the competent Croatian (ZAMP) and the International Authors' Center (CISAC).

I recently reported and will continue to report to Youtube all the videos containing my song Orange if it is stated that it is a traditional Croatian song or is listed under the name Widow-maker and incorrectly signed by the names Mikolai Stroinski, Marcin Przybyłowicz since this leads to gross distortion exclusively of my copyright.

As a composer, I'm delighted to have my song found in such a popular game and have so many fans and dresses, but she was stolen, her name was unauthorized, and I was subjected to enormous damage as an exclusive author.
CD Projekt Red, and Percival, so far declined to comment.

Original composition: https://youtu.be/rMi9AiHJgaU?t=60
TW3 version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLNKFNRHONI&t=20

Personal comment - it seems the song is a traditional folk composition, but I'm not an expert. Looks like it's not as "traditional" as it seems, and have been written by Stanić.

Source: https://www.antyradio.pl/Technologia/Gry/Chorwacki-muzyk-oskarza-CD-Projekt-RED-o-nielegalne-wykorzystanie-utworu-w-Wiedzminie-3-30888
Stanić's quote: https://www.bug.hr/igre/hrvatski-skladatelj-se-i-dalje-bori-s-izdavacima-the-witchera-3-za-zastitu-svog-8842
 
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Dest

The Fallen
Jun 4, 2018
4,417
Work
I mean, they do sound similar, but if they're different performances of an old folk song that was never initially copyrighted or is well past the point of being able to, then why bother?
 

Acidote

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,726
The whole lot of songs with "lyrics" in the og Witcher 3 soundtrack has that old folk song influence. Even the famous "Silver For Monsters..." and "...Steel For Humans". Saying that this particular song is being plagiarized seems like a stretch.
 
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boskee

boskee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
286
London
The whole lot of songs with "lyrics" in the og Witcher 3 soundtrack has that old folk song influences. Even the famous "Silver For Monsters..." and "...Steel For Humans". Saying that this particular song is being plagiarized seems like a stretch.
Agreed. I don't see him winning this. Just reporting the story :)
 

JCG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,054
I mean, they do sound similar, but if they're different performances of an old folk song that was never initially copyrighted or is well past the point of being able to, then why bother?
I suppose the argument would depend on whether the specific composition in question has any sufficiently unique elements, or if they can argue that the song as a whole has been performed in relatively similar ways over the years.
 

Sleepwalker

Member
Oct 29, 2017
91
Whoa, Croatian here, I just thought that Naranča is like an old folk song, I even heard other renditions of it. Seems weird to me that you could sue someone based on that, but I may be wrong. Pretty wild to see a local musician try to sue a giant foreign company though lol.
 

TheMoon

|OT|
Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,101
Video Games
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

edit: Stanić seems to be the original composer of this interpretation while the lyrical part is the folk song origin. Or not. google spits out inconsistent info.
 

Mindfreak191

Member
Dec 2, 2017
1,116
Eastern European Slav here, this accusation is straight up bullshit, because pretty much every folk song and old traditional songs use the same harmonies and sound same-ish (one of the reasons why TW3 soundtrack resonated with me).

^
This is what my initial thought was when I read the story, but it turns out that the song was literally written by Elvis (lyrics and all) which actually makes for a copyright infringement case. So it's not like they took an old Croatian folk song, they took a song that was written in 1997 or whichever year...
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,716
So it seems more Percival has been accused of plagiarism, not CDPR. They didn't know that the group they hired, Percival, did this.

This of course, in case the plagiarism accusation is true.
 

Mifec

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,657
They took a song from the 1990s actually written by the guy, if it was just a random folk song they woulda told him to shove it. Instead they did remove it from all their shit basically admitting culpability/ignorance of what Percival did.
 
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boskee

boskee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
286
London
This is what my initial thought was when I read the story, but it turns out that the song was literally written by Elvis (lyrics and all) which actually makes for a copyright infringement case. So it's not like they took an old Croatian folk song, they took a song that was written in 1997 or whichever year...
Oh wow, that's interesting. Do you mind providing a source, so I can update the OP?
 

Mifec

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,657
Eastern European Slav here, this accusation is straight up bullshit, because pretty much every folk song and old traditional songs use the same harmonies and sound same-ish (one of the reasons why TW3 soundtrack resonated with me).

^
This is what my initial thought was when I read the story, but it turns out that the song was literally written by Elvis (lyrics and all) which actually makes for a copyright infringement case. So it's not like they took an old Croatian folk song, they took a song that was written in 1997 or whichever year...
Damn you were faster on that one than me.

Also now that I've googled it it's hilarious that people have covers of the song with its original name and author and credited to the W3 soundtrack.
 

Agram

Member
Oct 25, 2017
191
Croatia
Damn you were faster on that one than me.

Also now that I've googled it it's hilarious that people have covers of the song with its original name and author and credited to the W3 soundtrack.
She uses the original name and author, but maybe she changed it recently.


And the fact that they've removed the song from the soundtrack just confirms it.
 

spam musubi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,214
Removal of the song upon notice doesn’t necessarily mean they’re guilty. They could have just removed it to reduce potential future damages IF they’re found guilty. It can be a precautionary measure by legal as they start looking into the issue.
 
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boskee

boskee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
286
London
Removal of the song upon notice doesn’t necessarily mean they’re guilty. They could have just removed it to reduce potential future damages IF they’re found guilty. It can be a precautionary measure by legal as they start looking into the issue.
They were notified over a year ago, and were selling records (including vinyl release of the soundtrack) after being contacted by him.
 

Ocirus

Member
Dec 4, 2017
283
The song has been previously recorded by the musial group Percival, which provided compositions for the game's soundtrack.
Wait, shouldn't this fall more on Percival then?..

EDIT: Not saying CDP isn't in the wrong here, just seemed like they (until they were made aware of it) may not have known, while Percival may have consciously understood that they were copying.
 
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Budi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,544
Finland
Not an expert on traditional Slavic music so not really much to say here, except pay him if any foul play happened. Though not sure who should be footing the bill.
 

Syriel

Member
Dec 13, 2017
6,748
Not an expert on traditional Slavic music so not really much to say here, except pay him if any foul play happened. Though not sure who should be footing the bill.
Under US law it would be CDPR as the publisher. Their responsibility to clear all rights. CDPR may have a separate claim against Percival, but out couldn't just nope out and point the finger.

Not sure about Polish law.
 

Budi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,544
Finland
Under US law it would be CDPR as the publisher. Their responsibility to clear all rights. CDPR may have a separate claim against Percival, but out couldn't just nope out and point the finger.

Not sure about Polish law.
Polish law might be bit different, since Sapkowski was able to get paid too by threatening with lawyers =D But yeah, would make sense that CD Projekt isn't off the hook. They didn't do their due diligence here.
 

Sleepwalker

Member
Oct 29, 2017
91
Funny how I knew about this song all my life and always thought that it was an old national song. Props to mr. Stanić, the song is real pretty.