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Croatian composer accuses CD Projekt Red of ripping off his music

Published: 20:09, 10 April 2019
CD Projekt RED
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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Elvis Stanić, a Croatian composer accused CD Projekt Red of copyright infringement due to one of his songs being used in The Witcher 3 with no consent, compensation or credit, as it's usually signed Mikolai Stroinski & Marcin Przybyłowicz.

Elvis Stanić wrote and composed the song "Naranča" (Orange) and it was originally released in 1997. Fast forward 19 years and it found its way to one of the most beloved games ever made, The Witcher 3. 

Normally, it would be a dream for any composer to find their song in an iconic game like The Witcher 3, but it turned sour for Stanić. The song was renamed to Widow Maker with no consent from the composer, there was no compensation involved for using his work and all the credit went to Mikolai Stroinski & Marcin Przybyłowicz.

Stanić kept flagging any YouTube videos with the song in them, provided they didn't credit him as the original composer. Furthermore, his lawyers sent a warning to CD Projekt Red, after which the company removed the song from the official soundtrack and their social media.

While it is not an admission of guilt, this move certainly gave Stanić's claims additional weight. On the other hand, CD Projekt Red reportedly kept selling records with Widow Maker on it.

As far as potential lawsuits go, it is sort of a dubious area as CD Projekt Red themselves did not rip Naranča off, but rather the composers the company outsourced the work to. Neither Mikolai Stroinski nor Marcin Przybyłowicz are actual employees of CD Projekt Red although Przybyłowicz worked on several of their titles and is set to compose music for Cyberpunk 2077.

One common point that people often raise is that Naranča sounds like a folk song that cannot be copyrighted. On the contrary, while the song indeed sounds like a folk one, it was indeed written and composed by Stanić.

Just in case you were wondering or were unsure whether the song was an actual rip off, the embedded videos should provide enough material for you to decide. We suggest comparing the section starting at 0:28 in Naranča to the one starting at 1:08 in Widow Maker.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, An Iconic RPG by CD Projekt Red

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