Another day, another DMCA takedown notice sent to a Grand Theft Auto modder. This time, it’s virtual reality modder Luke Ross who says that Take-Two has issued him a DMCA claim over his VR mods even though he argues that his work contains no copyrighted code or material. It’s just the latest in a long line of modders being legally attacked by Take-Two over various GTA mods.
Earlier today, Ross shared on his Patreon page and Twitter that he had just received a notice from Patreon informing him that Take-Two had filed a copyright claim against his page and its content. Ross creates virtual reality conversion mods for popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption II, and Mafia II: Definitive Edition. All of these games are published by companies that Take-Two Interactive owns. Rockstar creates GTA and 2K publishes Mafia. Ross says he’s been making VR conversion mods since 2017 and this is the first time a company has sent him a legal notice of any kind.
According to the notice, which Ross shared with Kotaku, he is being asked to remove all copyrighted content from his page, but still hasn’t been told which specific content is causing him this legal trouble. In the message from Patreon, Ross is told that even if he fights the DMCA takedown notice, which he is allowed to do, he will still be forced to remove all copyrighted content from his page. If Ross fails to do so it could lead to his Patreon page and account being suspended.
Kotaku has reached out to Patreon, Rockstar Games, and Take-Two about the situation.
“I never misrepresent the games as my creations, don’t reuse any of the original software, assets, or IP in general, and my mods always need the original games to work,” Ross told Kotaku. “So it’s only additional sales for the developer/publisher, and the possibility for the gamers to enjoy a kind of experience they could not have otherwise on a flatscreen.”
Ross is frustrated and confused that Take-Two is coming after him, explaining that he gets countless messages from fans of his mods who say that his VR conversions have convinced them to buy other games from Take-Two so they can play those in virtual reality as well.
Making things more frustrating is that Take-Two has yet to respond to Ross or explain what content needs to be removed. Ross “wishes” he could find out specifically what Take-Two wants removed, because if he doesn’t find out, it’s likely he’ll be forced to remove all of his Mafia, GTA, and Red Dead VR mods from his Patreon page. He will also have to remove all tutorials and other information related to his mods and Take-Two’s games.
“Luckily I have other mods for other games,” said Ross, “So my supporters won’t be left stranded, but it would be such a shame since every day new RDR2 fans come to my Patreon to experience the game “from the inside”.
Sadly for modders and fans of mods, this isn’t the first time Take-Two has sent lawyers and legal warnings to fans. For over a year now, Take-Two has been on a legal rampage, sending DMCA notices to many different GTA modders and fan projects.
The situation has had a chilling effect on the community, with at least one major mod shut down by the creators out of fear of running into legal hot water with Take-Two Interactive. While some have tried to fight Take-Two and its lawyers, many of these modders are small, independent devs or fans who don’t have the legal knowledge or resources to fight against a massive corporation like Take-Two, leading some modders to swear off the company’s games.
Meanwhile, companies like Bethesda are hiring modders, creating tools for their community, or providing them with ways to share their creations with console players. There is a better way to handle a dedicated player base that creates new content for your games, Take-Two.
Update 07/06/2022 7:14 p.m. ET: Patreon confirmed to Kotaku that it had received a DMCA takedown from Take-Two directed at LukeRoss and was currently in the process of “handling that request.”
“Patreon has provided relevant information to the creator,” a Patreon rep told Kotaku. “We’ve requested additional clarifying information from the claimant that we’ll pass along, and we’ve offered to connect parties directly. We’ll continue to try to facilitate this conversation.”