GTA mod DMCA takedowns

GTA: Underground and other mod downloads taken offline as Take-Two rapid-fires DMCAs

Take-Two is once again taking aim at Grand Theft Auto mods, this time targeting projects around its older titles. Unfortunately, one of the most popular mods for GTA: San Andreas, GTA: Underground, which combines the maps of several Rockstar properties, is no longer available for download at ModDB. It’s been taken down alongside other popular mods like GTA: Liberty City, Vice Cry, and the Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories: PC Edition ports.

Why is Take-Two DMCAing GTA mods?

The GTA modding community and Take-Two have had a tenuous relationship. In 2017, the company went after GTAV mod tool creators OpenIV and several high-profile mod projects for that game. However, after massive backlash from the community, Take-Two modified their stance and posted an agreement stating fans were free to mod its games as long as it didn’t affect GTA Online and it wasn’t to port content from older titles to GTAV. Additionally, the agreement didn’t put rules on older RenderWare titles like GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas, so they were freerange for any mods.

Unfortunately, without telling the community, Take-Two modified the agreement to be more stringent and included stipulations that no “new games, stories, missions, or maps” could be made. Since almost every high-profile mod adds at least one of these things, projects that devs had worked on for years could be taken down even though modders had no clue that Take-Two had updated this statement to be less inclusive.

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Unfortunately, the original agreement Rockstar posted was excluded from the Wayback Machine, and we haven’t been able to find a copy from 2017 online with which to compare the changes from 2019. However, memory serves that it was less restrictive and much more open in its language.

Take-Two hasn’t made a comment concerning the DMCA takedowns of GTA Underground and the other mods. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that it must be doing this because it has some sort of project in the works concerning its older properties, like a remaster of the PS2 classics. Regardless of its reasoning, its preposterous that a multi-billion dollar company would think that fan-created mods, some started as far back as 15 years ago, would threaten its profits. It’s just as likely that this is just Take-Two flexing to see if it can get away with destroying the modding community now.

Strangely, even HD texture projects like Vice Cry were hit, which should have been within even the more strict 2019 modding guidelines. The big question now is whether this is a concerted effort by Take-Two or just one person who got overzealous and decided to takedown strike every popular mod they could find. We won’t know for sure until Take-Two makes an official statement.

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