A group of modders behind the popular reverse engineered Grand Theft Auto fan projects re3 and reVC have responded to a lawsuit by Take-Two, arguing that their projects are protected under fair use.
As reported by Torrent Freak, the individuals behind the projects are fighting back against a lawsuit filed by Take-Two after a dispute over whether the fan’s work should be taken down. Following the initial release of the reverse-engineered versions of the games earlier this year, TakeTwo and Rockstar filed a DMCA takedown notice at Github to have the repositories removed from the site claiming copyright infringement. However, when the files were restored by the team through a counternotice filed on Github, the publisher took a different approach by filing a lawsuit against those involved.
The lawsuit, which was filed in September, claims that the projects acted to create and distribute pirated copies of GTA 3 and Vice City and demands damages under copyright law. The lawsuit claims that the modders “willfully and maliciously” copied and adapted the games’ source code before distributing it without consent from the publisher.
However, the modders have responded to the lawsuit stating that their actions were lawful and protected under the Copyright Act. The defense is reportedly claiming that any copyrighted material that was used in the projects was done so to allow the team to fix bugs that were present in the original games.
This would suggest, therefore, that the material was being used to add something new to the code as opposed to simply copying it, representing a transformative use of that content. In doing so, the defense believes that these actions are protected under fair use and therefore shouldn’t be punishable by law.
As well as noting that their actions added to the game, the group of modders have also reportedly raised a number of other points in their defense. In addition to highlighting the fact that the modifications can’t be used without a player already owning a copy of the original game to load the mod onto, the group is also said to have pointed out that Rockstar stopped releasing bug fixes and patches for the original games a number of years before the modifications came about.
While Take-Two is hoping to seek damages from the defendants following the release of the mods on the basis of their use of copyrighted material, the defense has also questioned the claim in itself – claiming that the mods could only have had a positive effect on the market for the original games, considering that players would need to purchase them in order to use the mods in the first place. Whether or not the group’s fair use claim will stand up in court will become clearer as the lawsuit progresses.
For more GTA news, make sure to check out this article detailing how Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition saw a very rough launch for a number of reasons. If you’re interested to know what the controversial new trilogy of remasters aims to add, check out our list of differences and changes. If you’re already playing, we’ve got a list of cheat codes and secrets for you.