“Grand Theft Auto” modders defend themselves in opposition to Take-Two Interactive

“Modder” lawyers say that Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City were unplayable without modifications.

Lawyers for a group of programmers who tried to reverse engineer Grand Theft Auto’s source code have responded to a lawsuit brought by the game maker Take-Two Interactive Software.

According to Kotaku, the defendants “flatly” denied allegations of wrongdoing and said their work was protected as fair use under copyright law.

Kotaku notes that the lawsuit was filed earlier this year after several “modders” released re3 and reVC, which were reverse engineering the source code for Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, respectively.

Both projects aimed to address and change longstanding problems with the Games; They also gave other programmers the opportunity to port Grand Theft Auto to new platforms like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Vita.

However, two weeks after re3 and reVC were released, Take-Two Interactive posted DMCA deactivation notices.

While the programmers initially responded by removing their content immediately, they later counterclaims, saying the removal was a mistake.

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After re3 and reVC were re-uploaded, Take-Two Interactive filed a lawsuit for more than $ 300,000 in damages, saying the newly created games did “irreparable harm” to the company.

Now a lawyer tells the modders that their work is protected by federal law.

“Everyone complained [sic] of copying and copyrighted material, if any, was made to allow software interoperability and to fix ‘bugs’, ”the defendant’s filing stated. “Such actions that involve reverse engineering are transformative uses.”

The same document states that neither Take-Two nor GTA developer Rockstar Games have released any patches for Grand Theft Auto III or Vice City, both of which are now decades old.

In addition, both games are not even legally for sale: they have long been removed from the publisher’s store, as have third-party game sales platforms such as Steam.

“To the best of our knowledge and belief, any complaint about the copying of copyrighted material has not, if at all, affected the market for the offending software,” the document says. “Any complaint about copying of copyrighted material, if any, has not been made for profit or commercial purposes.”

The modders also claim that in the past Rockstar has allowed and encouraged programmers to “modify” its games.

Now the modders say that Rockstar’s prior permission granted them an “implicit license”.

Kotaku notes that Take-Two’s lawsuit “comes at a time when the gaming community’s opinion of the company is already at an all-time low” after the company released Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy.

The trilogy, says Kotaku, was an “unlimited catastrophe of bugs and glitches”.

Ironically, Kotaku suggests that the trilogy is barely playable without the use of mods.


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