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Modders Strike Back: They Say Grand Theft Auto Mods Are Fair Use

Take-Two Interactive has removed dozens of mods from the Internet, but the modding community is fed up, especially after the launch of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition.

 

We have previously reported that the reverse-engineered Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City projects (known as re3 and reVC, respectively) have also been taken off the Internet after Take-Two launched legal threats. Except that the four people behind the two re-projects decided not to stay silent and let the publisher get away with it because they believe their work does not support piracy and they are protected by fair use law…

What did Take-Two say when they threatened to sue modders? The company, headed by Strauss Zelnick, wrote that they had violated the End-User License Agreement (the EULA) because it prohibits reverse-engineering the game’s code and adding additional cheats to two Grand Theft Auto games released nearly two decades ago, which the EULA also prohibits. According to the publisher, the purpose of the two re-s was to create a pirated version of Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and distribute it. (We should add that since the original versions are no longer available on Steam, it is not so easy to legally get the three GTAs on PC after Take-Two removed the previous releases…) For this reason, Take-Two has claimed damages under copyright law.

However, TorrentFreak reported that Angelo Papenhoff, Theo Morra, Eray Orçunus and Adrian Graber, the four modders, are fighting back through their attorneys. They wrote that the game code’s reverse engineering makes the use of the content transformative so that the pair of re3 and reVC should be treated as fair use under copyright law. Previously, Take-Two allowed mods to be made for the two GTAs in question without legal action against the creators.

And they are right. If the modders can achieve a much higher level of quality and content (which they did), and do so by providing only the files needed for the mods, and not the original games, then that is fair use…

Source: WCCFTech

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