Take-Two Interactive is suing the creators of reverse-engineered Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto Vice City fan projects.
This news comes by way of VideoGamesChronicle, which reports that the lawsuit was filed in California and names 14 programmers who were working on the project. IGN reported back in February that this project had received a DMCA takedown from Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar Games.
The lawsuit claims that the people on the project “are well aware that they do not possess the right to copy, adapt, or distribute derivative GTA source code, or the audiovisual elements of the games, and that doing so constitutes copyright infringement,” according to VGC.
It’s important to note that the team isn’t actually using GTA 3 or Vice City source code — they instead recreated it using newer coding languages. This project doesn’t contain any Rockstar assets, either, so players that wish to use this reverse-engineered source code will actually need to have their own copy of GTA 3 or Vice City to create a port of the games using this code.
However, as Take-Two’s lawsuit notes, the company is suing the creators behind the project for distributing “derivative GTA source code.”
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Take-Two claims that the project, more formally known as Re3 or ReVC on GitHub, is causing “irreparable harm to Take-Two,” both in terms of copyright infringement and in terms of the fact that now technically anybody can create their own version of GTA 3 or Vice City using the reverse-engineered code.
VGC notes that in the lawsuit, Take-Two says it tried to remove the project from GitHub where it was being distributed. According to Take-Two, three of the project’s programmers “knowingly filed bad faith counter-notifications that materially misrepresented the legality of their content, apparently claiming that because they allegedly ‘reverse-engineered’ the games’ source code, they somehow cannot be liable for copyright infringement.”
It seems that this will be the central argument of the case: does reverse-engineering a source code count as copyright infringement? Only time will tell for now.
Read about how the team behind the reverse-engineered source code had their project taken down back in February and then read about how Rockstar might be working on a Grand Theft Auto remastered trilogy after that.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.