Reverse-engineered source code GTA III and VC offline again after DMCA takedown

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Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive has for the second time taken its reverse engineer projects re3 and reVC, which mimic the source codes of GTA III and GTA: Vice City, offline via a dmca request.

Take-Two believes the impersonated source codes infringe the company’s copyright. That is why it already submitted a dmca takedown request in February of this year, which GitHub also complied with. However, the project initiators at the time submitted a request to GitHub to put the projects back online; their argument was that the project falls on fair use. That succeeded, because Take-Two did not respond to the makers’ request within the period. The projects came back online in June, but are now offline again, along with numerous forks.

Because of the matter, Take-Two has even sued the creators of the project in the state of California. The company speaks of “deliberately and maliciously copying, modifying and distributing its source code and other content”. The fourteen defendants would thereby have infringed the copyright of the publisher. The company is claiming an amount yet to be determined in damages and, according to TorrentFreak, alternatively reports that $150,000 in damages per work that is infringed can be claimed. Take-Two further demands that the developers hand over all their material and that all source code and games that would be infringing be removed from the Internet.

When one combines the reverse-engineered projects with the data files from the games, one can play the game with several advantages that the original titles did not have. It included support for modern screen ratios, anti-aliasing, faster loading times, a debug menu, and support for modern controllers. The source code also made it relatively easy to transfer the games to, for example, the Nintendo Switch, which happened.

Take-Two has been aggressively battling mods for GTA games and projects like re3 and reVC since this year. Over the summer, it had multiple mods for GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, and GTA V taken offline. One of those mods, GTA: Liberty City, was 16 years in development.

Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar Games is reportedly working on remasters of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas. For the remasters, the Unreal Engine would be used and both the graphics and the UI will be updated. The new look of the games would be a mix of ‘old and new graphics’. Take-Two may be fighting projects like this to protect the sales figures of these remasters.

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