Game publisher Take-Two Interactive has filed lawsuits against developers behind the open source projects re3 and reVC. According to the publisher, the developers are infringing copyrights on GTA III and GTA Vice City with the software.
Take-Two Interactive has filed suit in California court against four named developers and ten developers whose names are unknown. The fourteen people are said to be involved in the open source projects re3 and reVC on Github and in forks and other derivatives of those projects. The publisher reports that this is software that allows users to run GTA III and Vice City, including on platforms where the original games never appeared, such as the PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo Switch. The projects were further aimed at improving and adapting the games.
The developers were not authorized to do so and Take-Two speaks of “deliberately and maliciously copying, modifying and distributing its source code and other content”. The fourteen would thus 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.
The re3 and reVC projects became available on GitHub early this year . After reverse engineering the original source code, developers were able to make numerous improvements, such as support for more screen sizes and anti-aliasing. However, players needed the original games for certain required game components. According to Take-Two, a full set of derivative code emerged over time that allowed for a gaming experience identical to that of the original games. Also, the files are claimed to contain original Take-Two content related to text, characters, and dialogue.
The projects and their forks were temporarily taken offline in February based on an invocation of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, the initiators behind the projects submitted a request to GitHub to restore the projects. Because Take-Two failed to respond to that counter-request in a timely manner, re3 and reVC came back online in June. In its indictment, the publisher accuses the project members of submitting the counter-application under false pretenses. The developers reported at the time that their projects actually increased sales for the games and helped to preserve cultural heritage. That TorrentFreak wrote in June.