A U.S. judge is clamping down on Grand Theft Auto hackers and has issued a preliminary injunction for Take-Two Interactive Software to ban cheat programs that are being used in Grand Theft Auto Online. A Georgia man is at the center of the scandal and is accused of losing the publisher over $500,000 through his software.
Even five years after Grand Theft Auto V's release, the title still remains a staple of gaming charts around the world and is officially the most profitable entertainment product in existence. Despite Grand Theft Auto Online continuing to make a fortune in microtransactions, Take-Two Interactive is closing in on those attempting to mod the game for their own financial gain.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan agreed that Georgia-based David Zipperer has infringed Grand Theft Auto V copyright and "his programs would cause irreparable harm to its sales and reputation by discouraging users from buying its video games." Zipperer is behind a number of programs that allow players to bank unlimited funds. Considering GTA Online can use real-world money to purchase the fictional currency, it isn't hard to see why Zipperer's software is cause for concern.
Zipperer and Take-Two have been butting heads since last summer when the publisher asked him to take down a program called "Menyoo" that he was selling for $10. While it looked like Zipperer was originally compliant and said he would give the profits to charity, a second program called "Absolute" then appeared for $20 to $40. It was around this time that Take-Two claims Zipperer distanced contact with the company and the reason the situation has escalated.
The lawsuit officially started in March when Take-Two launched its case against Zipperer. The copyright infringement comes from Zipperer copying the game onto his computer to create the program and selling it for profit. With programs like "Menyoo" and "Absolute" being a derivative of Zipperer's illegally downloaded copy, encouraging other plays to use his software is also infringing copyright.
Zipperer claimed that an injunction isn't needed because he is no longer distributing the programs and also asked for the case to be moved from New York to Georgia. Despite Zipperer pleading financial poverty, Judge Stanton ruled in favor of Take-Two and cited Grand Theft Auto V's User Agreement for keeping proceedings in New York. Take-Two also disputed Zipperer's monetary problems and said that Stanton should look at the defendant's PayPal records.
Although Zipperer isn't the only player trying to exploit Grand Theft Auto Online through hacked programs, it looks like he's Take-Two's public enemy number one at the moment. There will continue to be those hellbent on exploiting the system, but Take-Two is taking a step towards making Grand Theft Auto fairer for everyone.