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Regarding The Witcher Plagiarism controversy

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Reinart der Fuchs View Post
    @voiceofreason467,

    Hi there. Do you really need an official proclamation from Mike in order to make a decision? Why not evaluate the situation for yourself? This legal stuff take decades to sort out. After like 40 years of Chaosium abusing what was lent them, they were resolved thanks to Universal. On 12-11-08 Mike said:

    I guess nothing's more flattering. Buggers! We're currently talking to Universal about this. But Uni are probably distracted by the cuts there! Maybe we should just spread the news of the rip. Maybe I should write something about it somewhere. You do your best to make something as original as possible and one day the world is covered by xeroxes...
    Does anyone need anything more to make a decision about what to buy? Do you really need a legal authority to make a judgement in order to play a game?
    I did evaluate the forum and I did see that, I also saw that he seemed to drop the issue after a fan pointing out that it was more of a homage than anything else.

    You see the reason why I am having problems with coming to a definitive conclusion is because people from the side calling it plagiarism make a pretty compelling point but others who say its not make claims about Moorcock dropping the lawsuit after reading the Witcher novels, which would seem to compel a definite answer if I could find such a post to come a conclusion.

    Also, it's not about me buying a product, it's whether or not by me buying the product I would be abetting plagiarism. If it was such a superficial thing as whether or not to buy a game, I wouldn't have made this thread to begin with.

    I do appreciate you giving me some much needed context though regarding the legality of an earlier issue that took about 40 years to get resolved. I did not realize that it takes such a long time for authors get control of their own product again after it being abused, but then again given the corporate environment we live in, not surprising.

    If I sound passive aggressive then I apologize, it's not my intent, I am just trying to communicate to you my dilemma here. Unlike most gamers, I actually care about the issue of plagiarism of authors works. Which is why I got pissed off at how a lot of fans of the game reacted by going to amazon and one-staring Moorcock's books simply because they wanted to have a Witcher sequel instead of investigating the matter like I am trying to do

    If Moorcock can't comment on it, then that's fine, I will just have to be content by being in the position that this is an issue I may never find the truth out on and I will just have to push it to the back of my mind.

    Oh, and I don't want a legal authorities answer, I just want to know which side is actually telling the truth about why Moorcock dropped the suit or if he didn't, then that would be enough for me to make my conclusion either way. A simple word from the man himself would suffice, although it is more of a request than a demand, as I realize he has no obligation whatsoever to put my mind at rest, but I will say this, if he does I will make sure to begin my adventure with fantasy novels with his work first.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by opaloka View Post
      I played the game and in my opinion, like pretty much every CRPG, the plot is stuff tacked on to the running, hunting and gathering, no matter how well finessed the cut scenes are.
      You missed out shagging there, opa'. ;)


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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      • #18
        others...make claims about Moorcock dropping the lawsuit after reading the Witcher novels
        I'm sure Mike will correct me if I'm wrong but I very much doubt he's read any of the Witcher novels. (Let's not forget, by his own admission, Mike hasn't even read his own Hawkmoon novels!) Whether he's had people read them *for him* (in order to form a legal opinion) is another matter entirely.


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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        • #19
          [QUOTE=David Mosley;274572]
          Originally posted by opaloka View Post
          I played the game and in my opinion, like pretty much every CRPG, the plot is stuff tacked on to the running, hunting and gathering, no matter how well finessed the cut scenes are.
          You missed out shagging there, opa'. ;)

          What games are you playing, David?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by voiceofreason467 View Post
            If I sound passive aggressive then I apologize, it's not my intent, I am just trying to communicate to you my dilemma here.
            You don't sound passive aggressive to me. My opinion is that it's not much of a dilemma. In that thread Mike voiced his opinion that it was a pass-off, a rip-off. Now decide if you agree or don't. Go with your conscience.
            Infinite complexity according to simple rules.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Reinart der Fuchs View Post
              Originally posted by voiceofreason467 View Post
              If I sound passive aggressive then I apologize, it's not my intent, I am just trying to communicate to you my dilemma here.
              You don't sound passive aggressive to me. My opinion is that it's not much of a dilemma. In that thread Mike voiced his opinion that it was a pass-off, a rip-off. Now decide if you agree or don't. Go with your conscience.
              Upon further examination of the issue, it appears you're right. He even says that "It's a 'passing off' situation rather than a copyright one." So apparently he answered the question of an issue of copyright, it was just too ambiguous for me to tell. Thank you, I appreciate it for point it out.

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              • #23
                I actually recorded the video in question.
                For the record: My claim was never that Michael sued anyone. It was that he had contacted his lawyer. Which - in the original Witcher plagiarism thread - he stated that he had.

                I respect Michael's decision not to file, though I absolutely still feel the level of plagiarism on display warrants it, and that he would win. People have been sued, and lost, with far less blatant similarities. The more I compare the written works of both authors, the more lifting seems apparent. Just last night, I was re-reading 'The Bane of the Black Sword' and got to around page 41, where the following passage from the siege of Nikorn's fortress, when the Wind and Fire elementals are warring (invisibly, I've always presumed) in the sky, smacked me in the face...

                "…the men of Imrryr were aware of disturbing movements in the atmosphere, but only Elric, with his Witch Sight, could see a little of what was happening…"

                For those unaware, as part of his enhanced 'Witcher Senses', Geralt of Rivia has enhanced 'witcher sight'. And it is one of the recurrent game mechanics in the most recent Witcher title. He uses it to track men, beasts, and it makes him aware of the supernatural. This is also true of Geralt in the novels.

                As for others? Yennefer of Vengerberg seems a bit of a composite of several Elric love interests, most obviously Myshella of Kaneloon and Cymoril. Both share her physical appearance, (as does Zarozinia - Elric loves the brunettes, after all) and all three wind up being frozen in some form of stasis. Cymoril and Myshella in their 'magical sleep'-stasis for an undetermined amount of time... and Yennefer for 40 days via 'artifact compression'. (i.e. "We shrunk her down and made her a rock") Dandelion bears more than a passing resemblance to Moonglum.

                Geralt also, rather notably,


                As someone mentioned in another thread, The Salamandra Order in The Witcher wear uniforms emblazoned with the white 'Chaos' symbol. There's sort of Multiverse-lite elements in the story, as well. The Conjunction of the Million Spheres is explicitly referred to. Runeswords - particularly in the most recent Witcher game, The Wild Hunt - are heavily featured.

                Then, of course, there's the cosmetic similarities we're all familiar with. Same appearance, same nomenclature, similar story tone and sardonic attitude. Both augment their abilities with the intake of drugs. They are both swordsmen and occasional mercenaries who, nevertheless, regularly engage in the use of magic. ("Spellswords" would be the common distinction) I could obviously go on to list further similarities, but these forums are already rife with them.

                Many Polish Witcher fans have argued that Andrzej Sapkowski couldn't have possibly been inspired by Elric, because he was living in an Eastern Bloc country that had banned all but the most rigorously-censored fantasy literature (The Polish government-approved version of Lord of the Rings is infamous) when the story was conceived during some nebulous period in the late 1980s, yet he didn't conceive The Witcher in isolation. Sapkowski belonged to a group of emerging Polish fantasy/sci-fi authors who were all inspired by fantasy stories that were outright banned. Conan? Battlestar Galactica? Star Wars? Just a few of their inspirations. Somehow, these authors were getting a hold of contraband fantasy/sci-fi stories and comic books. There's no question - particularly given the renaissance of popularity Elric was enjoying in the '80s thanks to comic adaptations, musical tributes, new novels, etc. - that Sapkowski would have had access to these stories or their graphic adaptations. Now, factor in that communism in Poland was near collapse, anyways? It seems more than likely. It seems probable.

                Now, the most damning of all:
                Andrzej Sapkowski cannot feasibly claim ignorance, as he has, on at least one documented occasion, mentioned Elric by name.

                In his wildly pretentious 2001 treatise 'Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon's Cave', Sapkowski establishes a definitive "canon" of fantasy fiction. As you can plainly see, without once citing Moorcock as an inspiration for his own Witcher novels... he nevertheless includes Elric. Maybe Michael - or for that matter, his lawyer - will differ with me on this, but I've always considered the chief difference between 'inspiration'... and 'plagiarism'... to be 'citation'.

                Sapkowski, while apparently compelled to include it as an important work of fantasy fiction, appears to go a few miles out his way to avoid giving credit where it's due.

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                • #24
                  Originally posted by Acerbus View Post
                  For those unaware, as part of his enhanced 'Witcher Senses', Geralt of Rivia has enhanced 'witcher sight'. And it is one of the recurrent game mechanics in the most recent Witcher title. He uses it to track men, beasts, and it makes him aware of the supernatural. This is also true of Geralt in the novels.
                  The thing is "witch sight" and similar phrases come from the real world, or at least the mythology of the real world.

                  The English word "witch" comes from the Gaelic word "wicca", and "wicca" means wise. So it is "the sight of the wise", or put another way "the sight of those with the knowledge to understand what they are looking at". This concept is widespread in much mythology, and definitely occurs frequently in European myth.

                  Tolkien, Lewis, Lee, Le Guin, Pratchett, etc, etc, have all drawn ideas from folklore and myth to build their narratives, Michael has done the same, and so has the author of the Witcher stuff.

                  I tend to agree with you about "Geralt" when it comes to stuff like his nickname, "white wolf" is too specific and too well known to pass without comment, but whenever you come across a "plagiarised" idea in a fantasy story ALWAYS check to see whether it has been drawn from myth, rather than stolen from another author.

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                  • #25
                    Im not sure what I think. But if I don't play the Witcher won't I be stuck playing Hobbit rip off games?

                    This thing is starting to bother me. I was just thinking that Moorcock is one of the few S+S authors I enjoy reading outside of Fritz Leiber. The Witcher is like the only video rpg I enjoy as well. This must mean that I really want an Elric video game to play...???
                    Last edited by milkthing; 10-04-2015, 02:53 PM.

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                    • #26
                      Originally posted by milkthing View Post
                      Im not sure what I think. But if I don't play the Witcher won't I be stuck playing Hobbit rip off games?

                      This thing is starting to bother me. I was just thinking that Moorcock is one of the few S+S authors I enjoy reading outside of Fritz Leiber. The Witcher is like the only video rpg I enjoy as well. This must mean that I really want an Elric video game to play...???
                      I fear you're playing a bit of a Hobbit rip-off if you play The Witcher, too. Many fantasy authors borrow liberally from Tolkien (elves, dwarves, etc.), but Andrzej Sapkowski is one of the few fantasy writers brazen enough to swipe the idea of hobbits and put them in his Witcher novels.

                      As for wanting an Elric game: I wholeheartedly concur.
                      The stories being written in the episodic, anthology format they are, with a strong sense of forward motion and action, they uniquely lend themselves to a game, particularly an RPG. The first time I read the Elric stories, I was really struck by how quickly they moved. I suspect that would adapt well fictionally.

                      The ideas and concepts of Elric are already present in hit video games, even beyond The Witcher (which at 6 million units sold, is doing quite well). I really hope someone with a genuine vision pitches a great idea for an Elric game. It could be both fun, and a creatively fulfilling endeavor, if approached as artfully as some other RPGs on the market. The folks at Bethesda Softworks have peppered Elric references throughout their games for years. They would be ideal, in my opinion.

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                      • #27
                        Despite reservations about one of my fave authors being ripped off, I must admit that Witcher 2 is one of the best RPG's I've ever played and 3 looks even better, although Dark Souls is still a hundred times better.

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                        • #28
                          are you saying Dark Souls looks better or what? I've got 0 games that I'm interested in.

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                          • #29
                            I have watched the series on Netflix, and I think I had not seen any clear plagiarism. Although I think I said something about it somewhere in the past and I cannot find where.
                            The series on Netflix was good and even inspired my youngest son to read the books.
                            "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                            "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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                            • #30
                              Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                              I have watched the series on Netflix, and I think I had not seen any clear plagiarism. Although I think I said something about it somewhere in the past and I cannot find where.
                              The series on Netflix was good and even inspired my youngest son to read the books.
                              I have also watched it on Netflix.

                              In the light of one of the first scenes, to me, the character looked a little like Elric.

                              As far as I remember, the series mentions The White Wolf,
                              and at least one characters says, "The Conjunction", but they did not add, "Of The Million Spheres."

                              There was a lot of original material, as far as I know, to the story, but the show did seem to walk very close to the line to Mike's creations.

                              And, Spoilers, I think the short story Red Pearls by Michael Moorcock:

                              (it may have been a different Elric story)

                              Last edited by lemec; 02-01-2020, 04:55 AM. Reason: I had a little more to say, and I had to correct my Spoiler tags.

                              "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                              - Michael Moorcock

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