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Grand Theft Auto Online publisher gets court order shutting down cheat mod maker

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Part of a yearlong crackdown on mods and cheating

GTA V release date Rockstar Games

The publisher of Grand Theft Auto 5 and Grand Theft Auto Online won a preliminary injunction stopping the sale of two mods said to allow GTA Online players to cheat and grief others in the PC version of the game.

The injunction, granted Thursday in U.S. District Court (first reported by Reuters), prohibits David Zipperer of Georgia from selling two mods, called Menyoo and Absolute, or creating any additional derivative works for GTA 5. The action comes in a lawsuit Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Grand Theft Auto creator and publisher Rockstar Games, sued Zipperer in March alleging his mods infringed its copyrights and violated the game’s terms of use.

Menyoo and Absolute are mods that allow users to alter numerous in-game parameters. The mods apparently are still available for free through numerous hosting services — but only for the single-player version of Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC. To use them in Grand Theft Auto Online, users had to pay.

With the two hacks, users could spawn nearly unlimited in-game currency, which Grand Theft Auto Online sells for real money to players (and which has significantly driven Take-Two’s quarterly revenue figures since Grand Theft Auto Online launched in October 2013).

Judge Louis L. Stanton of the Southern District of New York noted the in-game currency spawning in his order granting the injunction. In its complaint, Take-Two argued that Zipperer’s mods had cost the company at least $500,000 in lost revenue, and more in damage to the game’s reputation if legitimate users gave up and left after being victimized by cheaters.

Stanton also said in his order that an injunction was appropriate because Zipperer, who says he is unemployed, would be unlikely to afford any damages.

PC Gamer reported last year that two modders, including Menyoo’s maker, had abruptly shut down their websites after receiving threats of legal action from Take-Two Interactive. Those closures are part of the company’s emphasis on stamping out cheaters and other terms-of-use violations in the PC version of the game. It’s unclear how, but apparently Menyoo was still available and for sale when Take-Two sued Zipperer on March 23.

In April, MarketWatch, quoting an investment analyst, estimated Grand Theft Auto 5’s revenue since its 2013 launch at $6 billion. The figure is driven by the 90 million copies of the game sold to date and the long-term, open-ended appeal of Grand Theft Auto Online. In May, the game was said to be closing in on 100 million copies sold.