The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) games are all about bad behavior for the sake of making a lot of money – but in the real world, their developer and publisher Rockstar Games and parent Take-Two Interactive go hard after any hint of rules being broken, all the way to suing cheat app developers for copyright infringement.
One such legal action has gone well for the UK company: England and Wales Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court has ruled against a pair of cheat developers associated with a former outfit known as Epsilon for violating copyright by coding and selling the software in question.
The decision, is a summary judgment – meaning that the case will not go to trial.
Rockstar's original application for a summary judgment named five defendants, three of which have in the meantime settled.
The two who decided to try their luck in court confirmed involvement with Epsilon, but tried to invalidate the copyright violation argument by saying they included a disclaimer of liability to users of their cheat for online gameplay of GTA V. But the court said this was “mere window-dressing.”
These cheats known as “mod menu” allow gamers to gain various types of advantages while playing the game and sometimes unlock virtual in-game currency and items they would otherwise have to pay for with real money.
Another point the defendants tried to make in their defense was that Epsilon developed its software essentially by forking existing code available online – i.e., they downloaded the source code from what's described as a popular and well-known public cheating site.
But the court rejected this argument, as well, and also ruled in favor of Rockstar's claim of breach of contract against one defendant, dropping the charge against the other as he was a minor at the time the offense took place.
And while the case won't go to trial regarding the copyright charges, the issue of legal costs may yet require a trial – but Justice Falk, who signed the order, said she hoped the parties would settle on this matter.