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Grand Theft Auto 5's OpenIV Gets Shut Down: Here's Why Take-Two Took The Popular GTA 5 Modding Tool Down

15 June 2017, 11:34 pm EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
A popular modding tool for "Grand Theft Auto 5," OpenIV, has shut down after receiving a cease and desist letter from Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games. Take-Two claims OpenIV creates a toxic environment for "GTA" Online players.  ( Rockstar Games )

OpenIV, a popular Grand Theft Auto 5 modding tool program, has shut down after receiving a cease and desist letter from Take-Two Interactive.

Rockstar Games confirmed that its parent company did send the order to the modding group. It also explained why Take-Two chose to take action against it, saying it's not targeting single-player mods specifically, while also noting that OpenIV can create a toxic environment because some participants ruin the GTA Online experience for others.

"Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody," the company said in a statement.

OpenIV Cease And Desist

The group behind OpenIV posted details of the cease and desist letter on its site on Wednesday, June 14. It said it had received the letter on June 5 and that it could go to court to demonstrate that its modding activities fall into the coverage of fair use but decided against it.

"Going to court will take at least few months of our time and huge amount of efforts, and, at best, we'll get absolutely nothing," the group said. "Spending time just to restore status quo is really unproductive, and all the money in the world can't compensate the loss of time."

In the end, OpenIV simply agreed with the claims, deciding to stop distribution of OpenIV. The group said it was a difficult move but also noted that when any modding activity has been declared illegal, it "can't see any possibilities to continue this process."

For nearly a decade of developing OpenIV, the group had taken it upon themselves to follow strict guidelines to comply with fair use coverage as much as possible: It had not messed with online play, had not distributed original data and code, and had only done clean reverse-engineering.

Needless to say, OpenIV is no longer available to download, nor will it continue receiving updates down the road. Grand Theft Auto 5 players who'll try to launch the program will be greeted with a message explaining that the service has been "discontinued," explaining that Take-Two has declared modding as an illegal activity.

What Are Mods, Anyway?

The group noted that ever since GTA 3 was released, the modding community have created lots of mods, from simple textures to full-fledged conversions altogether. For the uninitiated, mods are short for modifications, and essentially, it's when a player takes some part of the game's code and alters it. Some mods implement small changes or tweaks, but some are deftly complex to the point of being able to spawn entire new games within the base game itself.

Since it basically involves changing a game's code to some extent, creating mods has always been in a precarious position when viewed in legal terms. This kind of legal battle most often involves end user agreements and intellectual property rights violations.

Upon announcement of the shutdown, the GTA forums exploded with a flurry of complaints. One commenter event claimed that by taking down OpenIV, Take-Two "just removed a MASSIVE SELLING POINT" (uppercase not ours).

Grand Theft Auto 5

In other Grand Theft Auto-related news, Rockstar Games announced last month a series of bonuses and discounts players could take advantage of in GTA Online via its website. That included double GTA$ and RP in the game's Special Vehicle Missions, in addition to the ability to earn up to 25 percent on GTA$ from Biker Business Sales and Special Cargo Deliveries. Those bonuses, however, only lasted until June 12.

Thoughts about OpenIV shutting down? How do you think will this affect Grand Theft Auto 5 gameplay? As always, if you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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