A Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City reverse-engineering fan project is back online after Take-Two issued a takedown earlier this year.
As Eurogamer reported in February, the GTA 3 and Vice City reverse-engineering fan projects known as re3 and reVC were hit by a DMCA filed by Rockstar parent company Take-Two that claimed copyright infringement.
The fan-created source code for both games was made available on GitHub, offering a raft of eye-catching improvements over the original games officially available to play today on PC. (For more, check out our feature on how re3 came to be.)
At the time, project lead “aap” told Eurogamer he was worried filing a counterclaim might have sparked a lawsuit.
However, the team behind the projects recently disputed Take-Two’s takedown and, without any sort of legal response from the publisher, GitHub restored the reverse-engineered code.
In May, GitHub restored a fork of the re3 project after its creator successfully filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown counterclaim. Another counterclaim from another developer who worked on the Nintendo Switch port followed. The people behind the main project filed their counterclaim on 10th June.
This latest development is not evidence Take-Two has backed down. Rather, GitHub has followed DMCA procedure here. According to DMCA rules, disputed content must be restored between 10 and 14 business days, unless the rightsholder takes legal action. So far, Take-Two has done nothing in response.
In its counterclaim, aap and co claimed fair use. “We believe that any code in this repo that is similar to code or other content owned by Take-Two is either unprotected by copyright or is permitted under fair use,” reads the counterclaim.
“We figured we have a good case for fair use on the grounds that we are improving and fixing the game as well as bringing it to new platforms,” aap told Eurogamer over the weekend.
“This was the reason for quite a few people to purchase the game from Take-Two to play it on their favourite platforms. So in fact we’re only making them money and we figured it would be unwise of them to actually go after us.
“So we went the normal route: one of our team members filed a counterclaim with GitHub and after a waiting period of about 14 days the repo got reinstated.”
The project leaders talked to a legal expert who is working with GitHub before filing the counterclaim, but the threat of legal action remains. So far, so good, which means aap and co’s work, which was years in the making, is online again.