The publisher of the open world action-adventure game franchise Grand Theft Auto, Take-Two Interactive, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the developers of the popular modding tool OpenIV.
The modding tool is used by thousands of modders around the world to open and edit the files of the Rockstar Games titles Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V and Max Payne 3.
According to Take-Two Interactive, the modding tool "allows third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation of Take-Two's rights."
The modding tool was released almost ten years ago and has received hundreds of updates since its release in late 2008.
According to GooD-NTS, Take-Two Interactive has officially declared Grand Theft Auto modding illegal by sending a cease-and-desist letter to the most popular Grand Theft Auto modding tool.
Over the past few years Grand Theft Auto franchise developer Rockstar Games and its publisher Take-Two Interactive have increased its efforts to try and stop game modders, even going as far as to force developers of free and custom multiplayer modifications to stop development entirely.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise became popular because of the many modifications that are available for the games. Since the first game, Grand Theft Auto, which released in 1997 for PC and PlayStation 1, gamers have created and shared millions of modifications online.
At one time, Grand Theft Auto modifications were so popular that the franchise depended on it. Now it seems that publisher Take-Two Interactive, and by extension Rockstar Games, is taking a 180-degree turn on the good relationships and understandings it once had with the Grand Theft Auto modding community.
The cease-and-desist letter was received by the OpenIV team last week on June 5, 2017. GooD-NTS considers the letter to be "illiterate both technically and grammatically" and states that the OpenIV team still has the option to go to court to fight the claims by citing fair use legislation.
The team has instead concluded that litigation would be too costly and too time consuming. That is why the OpenIV development team has decided to stop development and distrubtion of the modding tool entirely.
“It was a hard decision, but when any modding activity has been declared illegal, we can't see any possibilities to continue this process, unless the management of Take-Two Interactive makes an official statement about modding, which can be used in court.
- GooD-NTS at OpenIV
Accoring to Good-NTS, the development team behind OpenIV has continuously tried to play nice with the game's terms ever since the tool was released. The tool is strictly following Civil Code of Russia, only features clean-room reverse engineering, does not distribute original data or code and does not affect online multiplayer functionality.
However, those claims will never be put to the test now that the team has decided to cease distribution.
GooD-NTS considers today to be the day the Grand Theft Auto modding community feared would come, "and now it's here. [..] The day, when GTA modding was declared illegal."
Video game publishers and developers going after modders apppears to be increasing in popularity and frequency.
Back in March of 2017 we reported on a cease-and-desist letter that forced a large database of Cheat Engine memory table files offline. Cheat Engine is the most popular software memory scanner in the world.
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