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How These GTA Fans Are Sticking It To Take-Two

A new development in the legal battle between publisher Take-Two and some dedicated fans of the "Grand Theft Auto" franchise has seen a pair of fan projects reappear after a DMCA complaint took them offline earlier this year.

The games in question are a pair of overhauled versions of "Grand Theft Auto 3" and "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," which have both been reverse-engineered to create a fan-controlled source code. This process has added features such as compatibility with modern controllers, visual improvements, and the elimination of loading screens when moving from island to island. Beyond that, the open-source code allowed the games to be ported to new consoles, including the Wii U, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo Switch, according to Eurogamer.

However, all of that came to a screeching halt when Take-Two and RockstarĀ stopped those GTA fans in their tracks with a copyright takedown notice shared on GitHub. Thankfully, some legal due diligence by the reverse-engineered source code developers has cleared the way for the files to go live once again. Here's how these dedicated GTA fans are sticking it to Take-Two.

Counterclaims against Take-Two have allowed the GTA fan projects to be reposted

Eurogamer reported that when the project was served with the copyright infringement notification, GitHub removed all relevant project forks. At the time, one of the project's lead programmers, who goes by the handle aap, was worried that attempting to file a counterclaim could trigger a lawsuit with much more severe consequences than a simple takedown notice.

However, in May, a participant in the project, Theo, filed a DMCA counterclaim that never received a response from Take-Two. Per DMCA procedure, after 10 to 14 business days without a response from the rightsholder, GitHub is obligated to restore the affected forks, which it did. Emboldened by that success, aap filed a countersuit in June, which can be seen on GitHub, claiming that access to the disputed code was permitted under fair use. Once again, Take-Two neglected to respond, and as of June 28, the project was fully restored on GitHub.

Aap was optimistic about the "Grand Theft Auto" project's future following its reinstatement. They felt that the improvements the project had made on the base game and the expanded reach on new consoles might be seen as a good thing by Take-Two. As they told Eurogamer, "So in fact we're only making them money and we figured it would be unwise of them to actually go after us."

Only time will tell if aap's good intentions will keep Take-Two off their backs, but it looks like they've at least won this battle.