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Rockstar Games vs Modders (Lawsuits)


Biskit
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Hello everyone,

I'd like to start by introducing a little bit about myself. I'm a long-term member of LS-RP, I've been roleplaying and been a part of this community since December 2008. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was my favourite childhood game and LS-RP has been home for me for quite literally a decade and change now. Over the years I have learned a lot of useful things that could benefit me as a gamer and individual on LS-RP which includes a little thing called modding which is what I want to primarily talk about on this topic. I want to beforehand state that I don't mean to offend anyone by any of my following statements, I'm merely voicing out my own opinion and bringing awareness to what is happening between Rockstar Games' legal team and some modders.

Rockstar Games has a parent company called Take-Two also known as Take2 or T2 . Now what is Take-Two you might ask and why am I mentioning it in this topic? well Take-Two is an American publisher, developer and distributor of video and computer games but overall to simplify, Take-Two is sort of the legal branch of Rockstar Games. Now this company has publicly stated that a group of modders knowingly committed copyright infringement by reverse engineering GTA III and Vice City. Now they have filed a lawsuit against these modders which reverse engineered two of their popular titles under project names such as re3 and reVC which is why I've created this thread. Being an amateur self-taught Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas modder I've decided to voice out my opinion on the matter and raise awareness about the ongoing situation.

Now you might ask what is re3 and reVC? well re3 is a project from a software developer and modder who goes by the alias td512 which simply put ports things into other games. In this case these two projects are completely focused on GTA III and Vice City. To once again simplify it, they simply enhance player experience for your average joe to enjoy the game more, they DO NOT harm anyone or anything. They might alter some things and open the doors to other modders or users to have a more joyful experience and share the creativity and love that the creators themselves have for the video game titles and the project, that's all. However Take-Two sees this as theft as can be seen in the following which was written in the lawsuit: "Defendants have made the games fully and freely available to the public, have appropriated a market that belongs to Take-Two (namely, the market for modified or handheld versions of the games), and enabled countless others to now create their own unauthorized derivative versions of the games." It clearly noticeable that they feel threatened that some other people (modders) will use this software to further on re-create or shape their titles without their consent or legal ownership of these digital components which is completely a-ok because as a content creator/modder myself I wouldn't want someone else to use my stuff without my consent unless I've released it to the public because at the end of the day I've put in work to create that project and it is up to me now as the legal owner of that project to decide what to do with it, right?

However what isn't okay is the lack of vision that these projects do not harm anybody or the original content itself. From my point of view as a fellow modder these guys were simply expressing their creativity, inventiveness and good will to create something that will benefit the whole community of those video game titles. Because lets be honest most of us have at some point used some sort of modification in a Grand Theft Auto game, may that be a skin, a weapon, clothing, mapping, textures, script or whatever else you can think of. Now what is the big problem in all of this? the big problem is that Take-Two decided to resort to such drastic measures to sue a modder which might as well could've of been me, or the person who is reading this who is familiar with modding for simply trying to make something better for their own and others enjoyment as said here: 

Take-Two is seeking damages and injunctive relief against the mod team, and suggests the group has already acted in bad faith by filing counter notifications that "materially misrepresented the legality of their content" when Take-Two initially tried to have both projects shut down.

"When Take-Two attempted to remove Defendants' infringing source code from the internet, at least three Defendants (acting in at least one instance with other Defendants' participation and direction) knowingly filed bad faith counter notifications that materially misrepresented the legality of their content, apparently claiming that because they all 'reverse engineered' the games' source code, they somehow cannot be liable for copyright infringement," adds the filing.

"Yet while making this claim, Defendants also have bragged that their derivative versions of the Games are functionally and visually identical to the originals, and have even suggested they be used for unauthorised 'modding purposes.'"

Along with statutory damages, Take-Two is demanding all materials related to re3 and reVC, including all copies of the modified games, financial information, and the source code itself, be turned over.


Which they successfully have achieved as can be seen here: 

Spoiler

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To be open about it, I don't know these content creators who have done this but I'm definitely seeing some sort of hypocrisy to an extent here. I would like to now take a moment and voice out my own opinion about modding in general from my own perspective on a Rockstar Games title (San Andreas). First and foremost San Andreas is a 2004 game but the online community of sa-mp has advanced beyond any persons imagination. Those very people who bought the title and played it wholeheartedly decided to learn how to make the game better, fix the small issues left behind by the original developers after they've moved on to other titles and so on. But never ever have I heard personally about someone harming someone else by creating a harmless script which might fix something for example like the rain bug in San Andreas or a trainer for changing pedestrian skins in singleplayer mode, have you?

Many other communities have lost their whole foundation because of the spree that has been going on and it just seems that more modders are going to get hit with a lawsuit and have their work deleted. Here's an example:

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It is safe to say that what they are doing is going a bit too far against the very same people who are so passionate to learn about their projects. Now recently a known modder and developer who goes by Silent who has created things such as the SilentPatch and Silent's Asi Loader and so on has voiced out his opinion on the matter and partially announced his departure from modding because of the recent events, he has some key points so I'll leave the image below for those interested in reading his opinion on the matter:
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Now this isn't democracy nor do I have any malicious intent with any of this. I understand both sides of the story and I partially remain unbiased which is up to my own opinion. After seeing many modders departing from years of creation and Take-Two seemingly crumbling bigger content creators in their own games I can't help to wonder, who's next? It kind of seems that modding in general is coming slowly to an end in general because modders are now being threatened with lawsuits. The question I have is what do you guys think about this whole thing? do you think they will prohibit GTA V modding, do you think this is the end for modding in general and that every server will be forced to play on a stock game with no mapping, unique scripting or any other sort of harmless modification? I sure hope not but hey don't shoot the messenger, ok? I just haven't seen anybody talking about this so I decided to bring it forward to see what LS-RP as a community thinks about this.

Thank you for reading all that if you have, I know it was a long journey to the bottom of this post but I believe it is a good topic for a conversation. I'll leave below also a video of someone else commenting on the matter as well. Peace!

 

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by Biskit

𝗥𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿

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There's not much to add to this beside mentioning it clearly is not one man's job to take down a completely legal org that controls over a multi-million or even billion industry as Rockstar Games, though, some things are clearly a bit frustrating.

 

Taking into consideration Silentpatch etc are extremely fine and GOOD modifications, as they've been adjusted for a long time to fit servers and to fit people's liking, so, removing that or sueing someone for causing a greater experience is absurd, though reasoned as it technically benefits someone for free that is not the aim of Rockstar nor T2. I feel like minimalistic mods are fine. They're NOT getting you sued. A skin, weapon etc mod is OK to make, unless it ACTUALLY benefits someone too much and creates a unsafe environment (like modding a pistol into a minigun). Though I feel like the sueing in question was for making a game that was supposed to NOT be free to play free to play and also make it easier to mod the game to a liking (hence also create zero need to actually hustle or try to achieve anything). I think that's the approach T2 took on that particular case. 

 

Modding helped us through a lot during SAMP days. Displaying unique characters in a old video game is something many people were fond of, with new modders creating new things (ASI Modloader, CodsworthMP etc) to make it EASIER to mod skins etcetera. Yes, CodsMP gave lots of other benefits like a unique friends system from what I can re-call and some other thnigs, but it was nothing gamebreaking nor something that made it easier to play. This is almost like saying RageMP is a bad thing and should be prohibited because it's "modded". Though I see this case you mentioned be one that gave an unfair advantange to those not trying to buy the game, enabling them to download it on a well respected modding site (afaik, it was uploaded on GTA Underground). That taken into account, any casual modder is not really affected other than living in fear that they might be next, which is a very low chance anyway, but everyone should know their limits. Sure, modding a game to LITERALLY be completed in one button click is too much, but adding a few clothing items or whatever is DEFINITELY not bad. 

 

And also, hell no. The game will not prohibit mapping, modding etc because GTA W does it already. It allows unique models to be put into the game, mapped and so on. It does not prohibit simplistic things that make the game better for your eye, like ENBs, colormods etc, it just prohobits making it F2P and MAKING IT SUPER EASY.

 

I don't know if I got the right take on this, I'm not a modder but hopefully I did catch some of what you wrote, Biskit.

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16 hours ago, Stormbird said:

Surprised they haven't gone after RageMP or Fivem yet, they'll loose a shit ton of current and future customers if they do.

FiveM was already shut down by Two-Take a while ago however they received a massive amount of criticism from this, flooding their Steam page with negative results & more. In the end, FiveM came back.

Edited by xime
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6 hours ago, xime said:

FiveM was already shut down by Two-Take a while ago however they received a massive amount of criticism from this, flooding their Steam page with negative results & more. In the end, FiveM came back.

 

Probably some sort of silent agreement

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The reason for these DMCAs is because they "make new games look old and devalue them." Those servers and communities previously taken down have done exactly that. That's why you don't see a lot of Liberty City maps on Rage or FiveM because they'll be almost instantly taken down. There's one server attempting to do this now but realistically they won't make it a month past launch, if it's even launched to begin with. The most known case of this was GTA Underground's takedown where Take-Two hit them with a DMCA for merging all three maps together.

 

I don't think the problem's necessarily with modding default clothing and pedestrian skins, it's more so to do with adding old skins and maps into a new game.

 

All these mods were ports of the locations, cities, cars, and characters of old Rockstar Games titles on newer Grand Theft Auto engines.” For example, Vice Cry: Remastered ported the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City map into GTA V. It was further noted that these mods will no longer be available to download and that Take-Two has "actively [banned] GTA mods since July." There are still a lot GTA mods online, but many consider this a blow to modders.

 

According to a post on GTA Forums, Take-Two Interactive agreed to let players mod GTA games as long as they did not port old content into new games or mod online content. The post details how Take-Two supposedly went back on this agreement, changing the rules around mods to include no new content.

 

I don't think any Los Santos-based server have anything to worry about granted that they don't excessively mod the landscape of the map itself.

Edited by Chuckles
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7 hours ago, Chuckles said:

The reason for these DMCAs is because they "make new games look old and devalue them." Those servers and communities previously taken down have done exactly that. That's why you don't see a lot of Liberty City maps on Rage or FiveM because they'll be almost instantly taken down. There's one server attempting to do this now but realistically they won't make it a month past launch, if it's even launched to begin with. The most known case of this was GTA Underground's takedown where Take-Two hit them with a DMCA for merging all three maps together.

 

I don't think the problem's necessarily with modding default clothing and pedestrian skins, it's more so to do with adding old skins and maps into a new game.

 

All these mods were ports of the locations, cities, cars, and characters of old Rockstar Games titles on newer Grand Theft Auto engines.” For example, Vice Cry: Remastered ported the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City map into GTA V. It was further noted that these mods will no longer be available to download and that Take-Two has "actively [banned] GTA mods since July." There are still a lot GTA mods online, but many consider this a blow to modders.

 

According to a post on GTA Forums, Take-Two Interactive agreed to let players mod GTA games as long as they did not port old content into new games or mod online content. The post details how Take-Two supposedly went back on this agreement, changing the rules around mods to include no new content.

 

I don't think any Los Santos-based server have anything to worry about granted that they don't excessively mod the landscape of the map itself.


Well there are a few theories going around on how Take-Two will proceed and what not. I sure hope that you're right with what you've wrote because that would be lovely. However I still don't stand behind what they're doing, nobody harmed anyone, everyone played those games and servers and used those mods because they wanted to and because they were simply fun. I think they're taking it too far but I'm hoping for the best outcome possible. So far there's a huge uproar all around the GTA industry, modders are discussing on if they will proceed doing big projects, some are leaving GTA modding completely and I think that this all was very unnecessary.

𝗥𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿

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I wouldn't really put too much thought into it honestly. Take-Two have been utilizing DMCAs for years but in light of the launch of DE they've just swung their dicks around that bit more. The modders they're targeting are those who transform the game's original map. Generally the problem is with porting an old game into a new game. If any server has to worry, it'd be the one who think they'll be able to open a Liberty City server.

Edited by Chuckles
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11 hours ago, Chuckles said:

I wouldn't really put too much thought into it honestly. Take-Two have been utilizing DMCAs for years but in light of the launch of DE they've just swung their dicks around that bit more. The modders they're targeting are those who transform the game's original map. Generally the problem is with porting an old game into a new game. If any server has to worry, it'd be the one who think they'll be able to open a Liberty City server.


You're definitely right about that. They are right now targeting bigger projects, primarily those using old maps of older Grand Theft Auto titles and importing them into the GTA V engine and the only reason on why they would do that in my eyes is that they don't want someone to create a fixed new remastered game like Liberty City in GTA V engine completely playable and used on private servers. I imagine it could gain popularity and potentially shift the sales of Rockstar's titles if people resorted to downloading those games. However what if they at some point just make the decision that they're not only bothered by someone using the GTA V engine in their own way, what if they decide that other big projects by any means altering some things that are precious to them in those games are equally as responsible and then shut those down too.

I think that in general they don't want modding to exist because the games are created and meant to be played the way they are. Even though none of the mods people use hurt anybody or the original content. The big question is will that screw take a turn now? will they target any other projects besides the modders using the GTA V engine? Many modders think that they will, and I can see the possibility of it happening but I don't want to completely surrender to the thought of it. Some modders decided to put their careers to an end, some others decided to fight back which is why there's such a huge uproar right now and everyone is coming together against Take-Two. I can't help but wonder if they will take that as a threat instead of passionate people fighting for what they've created or are in the progress of creating. One thing's for sure though, they have the legal ownership and can flail bureaucracy around.

𝗥𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿

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This'll be off topic from the conversations above me.. But It actually disgusts me as a Rockstar and GTA fan that Take-Two has not shown any love or support for the community that has given so many of their older titles a brand new coat of paint. GTA games are largely reliant on mods of all kinds. The games would have been obsolete and unplayable without them, with only memories keeping them alive. They hired a small studio to release the failure that was the Definitive Edition. They applied threats and DMCA notices towards their biggest fans who made content for free. Take-Two and Volition are the only two businesses that, in my opinion, don't care what their fans think as long as the dollar sign is big enough. Sad..

Edited by FinesseGod
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