GTA V and RDR2 modder Luke Ross just got slapped with a DMCA takedown

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Last Friday, we introduced you to Luke Ross: a modder who now earns $20,000 a month on Patreon, featuring big games like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 to virtual reality. But the publisher of those games, Take-Two Interactive, apparently wasn’t amused – and Patreon is now threatening to suspend his account unless he plays ball with a DMCA takedown.

What does Take-Two want him to do? It’s not exactly clear, but it looks like Ross will be forced to remove his VR mods anyway.

Here is a copy of the message Ross says he received from Patreon on Wednesday morning, as provided to The edge:

richard (Boss)

July 6, 2022, 8:54 a.m. PDT

Hello,

My name is Richard and I am contacting you from the Patreon Trust & Safety team

We recently received a copyright infringement claim for works you make available on Patreon. Specifically, the claim comes from Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., parent company of Rockstar Games, Inc. and 2K Games, Inc., which owns the rights to Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption 2, and the ongoing Mafia Definitive Edition. of use. in your posts on Patreon.

We ask that you remove all copyrighted works from your Patreon page. If you fail to remove these works in a timely manner, or if we have difficulty determining the extent of the potential infringement on your page, we may suspend your account or the posts in question until all elements claimed have been deleted.

For more details on what you can do when you receive a DMCA against your page, you can go here: https://support.patreon.com/hc/en-us/articles/208020666-What-happens-when-I-receive-a-DMCA-notification-of-claimed-infringement-

Please note that even if you file a counter-notification, you will still need to remove the claimed content from your page.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and for responding to this complaint. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Patreon Trust and Safety

Monday Friday

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. PST

As you can see, there is not much room to trade there. Patreon clearly states that Ross must remove “all copyrighted works” even if he appeals. And according to Patreon’s DMCA FAQ pagehe only has 48 hours to comply, though Ross tells us he hasn’t received a copy of Take-Two’s DMCA takedown request and doesn’t know what they’re asking him to do. to delete.

What should a modder do? In a public blog post, Ross says he doesn’t believe he’s actually hosting any copyrighted material. “[N]any of my mods are built using software owned by Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc, and the mods are not intended to replace their games, or a way to exploit Take-Two’s intellectual property or assets -Two Interactive Software, Inc. You must purchase the original game for them to work.

But the “these are just mods” argument hasn’t stopped Take-Two before. There have been vague after vague of GTA V modding repressions, and society even complained when a DMCA takedown wasn’t scary enough. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick even defended the company’s behavior in a 2021 earnings call, trying to explain that Take-Two doesn’t necessarily hate mods. “That said, if the economy is threatened, or if there is bad behavior, and we know how to define that, we will issue a takedown notice,” he said. At the time, it seemed like the crackdown on mods was paving the way for remastering Grand Theft Auto Games; we have not heard of an official GTA V VR mode, but it’s true that San Andreas arrives in VR. It’s possible that Take-Two thinks Ross’ mods will dry up demand for official VR titles.

Take-Two did not respond to our request for comment.

Because he’s on Patreon, Ross doesn’t have many options, and he thinks he’ll probably be forced to remove the last mention of Rockstar’s games on the site even if Take-Two doesn’t explain himself. everything. This is how his message ends:

“[I]If left in the dark, I can only err on the side of caution, and I won’t risk other games being involved in the purge in case Patreon chooses to shut down my page. This means that all messages, images, guides, recommendations, tutorials and especially my VR mods for GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Mafia: Definitive Edition, Mafia II: Definitive Edition, Mafia III: Definitive Edition will be deleted and will no longer be available for download.

I refuse to believe this is what Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. wants, as it would be an extremely anti-customer and anti-gamer move on their part. But I’m not getting into a legal battle with them. If what they want is to assert their commercial dominance with player interests as collateral damage, I have no power to stop them.

Patreon spokesperson Ellen Satterwhite says The edge that the company will indeed contact Take-Two for more information on what is actually claimed and offered to directly connect the two parties to clarify matters. “We very much hope that the direct communication between the parties will be productive,” read a statement to The edge. Ross plans to try this.

We asked Patreon if the 48-hour deadline is still in effect or if Ross can wait for Take-Two to clarify their demands before cleaning the house.

Ross tells me he doesn’t regret doing the Edge interview, even though it could spell disaster for his Patreon. He says, “In the battle to get the message across that only the will (or lack of will) of studios and publishers is stopping AAA games from being ported to VR, this is probably a sad but necessary step.

You can read more about this supposed battle in our original story.

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