GTA III and VC members of reverse-engineered projects challenge Take-Two lawsuit

The people behind the open source projects re3 and revc are fighting the lawsuit that Take-Two Interactive has launched against them. Take-Two believes the projects infringe copyrights on GTA III and GTA Vice City, but the makers deny that.

According to the makers, the projects do not use Rockstar property, which means that the copyright is not infringed. The modders claim that only the games machine code is reverse engineered. The group argues that the project was intended to make additions to the game code, not simply copy it. Therefore, the project would be transformative and fall under fair use.

Re3 and revc reverse engineered the source code of GTA III and GTA Vice City respectively. This made the games playable on consoles they were not originally released on, such as the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Vita. The project was also aimed at improving and adapting the games. Load times were shortened, among other things, and the games received support for wider monitors. Since it was an open source project, the entire source code was publicly available on GitHub.

Take-Two said in its indictment that the project “deliberately and maliciously” copies, modifies and distributes its source code and “other content”. Therefore, the company demanded compensation, which must be determined during a lawsuit. Alternatively, the group could also pay $150,000 per work infringed. The company further demanded that the modders hand over all their material and that the source code be taken offline.

The project was pulled from GitHub via a copyright request under DMCA law. The makers already wrote that they disagreed with Take-Two’s argumentation, and made a request on GitHub to put the project back online. Since Take-Two did not respond in time, it was temporarily successful, until the game company submitted another DMCA request.