GTA modders hit back against Take-Two copyright lawsuit, claim work falls under Fair Use exemption

GTA modders hit back against Take-Two copyright lawsuit, claim work falls under Fair Use exemption

Given the debacle that is Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy, Rockstar parent Take-Two Interactive is far from gamers’ favorite company right now. It’s also come under criticism for a copyright infringement lawsuit it launched against four GTA modders earlier this year. However, the four are fighting back by claiming the changes they made to the games were protected by Fair Use under the Copyright Act.

Earlier this year, the modders released ‘re3’ and ‘reVC,’ enhanced versions of Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, respectively, which had been created by reverse-engineering the source code.

Take-Two responded a week later with a DMCA takedown filed at Github. The repositories were removed, but the modders filed a counternotice, and the files were restored. In September, Take-Two launched a lawsuit against the group, claiming they caused “irreparable harm” to its distribution of the GTA games and that it was owed more than $300,000 in damages.

TorrentFreak reports that the modders have issued a legal response to Take-Two’s suit, arguing that their work fell under ‘Fair Use,’ which can allow the use of copyrighted material. The defense says that if any copyright infringements did occur, they were only to allow for interoperability of software and bug fixing. Therefore, such actions represent transformative use of content, meaning it builds upon the original material rather than copying it.

The modders note that the original games launched over 15 years ago, and Rockstar stopped releasing patches and bug-fixes years before work began on re3 and reVC. It’s also noted that anyone wanting to use the mods required copies of GTA III and Vice City, both of which were pulled from sale in preparation for GTA: The Trilogy.

The defendants point out that Rockstar and Take-Two have “allowed others to undertake the development of ‘mods’ of its software,” and “encouraged and supported others undertaking the development of ‘mods’,” and even showcased them, “without any adverse action” in the past. The modders also said that their work could have encouraged sales of the original games.

It had always been speculated that Take-Two was going after mods of early GTA games because it planned to release its own official, enhanced versions. The predictions turned out to be true when the GTA trilogy was announced. Sadly for gamers, the launch was one of the worst in history, Rockstar has been inundated with refund demands, and Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition currently has a user Metascore of 0.5.

If you own Rockstar’s remastered GTA trilogy and would like to see improved performance, it’s recommended that users enable DirectX12, lock the display to 60HZ, and turn on VSync.