UK Court Finds GTA V Cheat Makers Guilty of Copyright Infringement

GTA V publisher Rockstar Games' has won a summary judgment against two men who were connected to the now-defunct 'mod menu' cheat Epsilon. The UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court found the pair guilty of copyright infringement by creating and selling the software.

Rockstar Games, the company behind ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ (GTA V), has taken cheat developers and sellers to court around the world in recent years.

We have previously reported of lawsuits in the US and Australia against people involved with the “Elusive” and “Infamous” cheats. More recently, a case in the UK caught our attention.

At the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court, Rockstar and its parent company Take-Two Interactive filed a complaint against several people connected to the now-defunct “Epsilon” cheat.

Epsilon was a so-called ‘mod menu’ which offered players significant advantages. The game companies reportedly shut down the cheat in 2018 and identified five men connected to it. They were accused of copyright infringement by creating and distributing the software.

Since the complaint was filed, three defendants settled their case through consent orders. The remaining two went to court recently, where they hoped to be found not guilty.

The defendants didn’t deny their involvement with Epsilon. However, in defense of the copyright infringement claims, the pair argued that they showed a disclaimer of liability to users of the cheat.

In addition, the two men countered that many of the materials they used to create the cheat were sourced from other sites, including a popular and well-known public cheating site that offers GTA V’s source code.

Epsilon screenshot, courtesy of je modz

According to the court, these and other defenses were not sufficient. The liability disclaimer was seen as “mere window dressing” and the fact that they relied on external sources to create Epsilon is irrelevant.

“[P]ublic availability of the means to infringe copyright is not a defense to copyright infringement,” Justice Falk writes in the order.

All in all, the court ruled in favor of Rockstar and Take-Two, granting summary judgment for copyright infringement against the two men. This means that the case won’t go to trial.

Both defendants were also accused of (inducement of) breach of contract and breach of contract. The court sided with the game companies here as well, except for the breach of contract claim against one of the two, who was a minor at the time of the offense.

As mentioned by Worldipreview, any costs associated with the judgment may have to be determined in a separate trial. Justice Falk, however, hopes that the parties will reach an agreement on this outstanding matter outside of court.

A copy of Justice Falk’s order at Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court is available here.

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