Modding computer games has been debated time and time again because of copyrights and IP protections, but modding, when done within reason, is fair use. Hugely popular single-player modding tool OpenIV has been under GTA V parent publisher Take-Two Interactive’s fire for a short while now, but PCGamer reports OpenIV may be in the clear now, and it’s thanks to the modding community.
Last week on the GTA V forums, a user claiming to be an OpenIV lead developer shared the team received a cease and desist letter from Take-Two on June 5. This letter came two weeks after a notice from Take-Two asking the team to stop distribution of the tool.
OpenIV has made it clear they want to stay within legal boundaries of modding by not distributing games’ code and original data, and making sure mods cannot, and do not, work during online play. Because it isn’t just about customizing games to suit player’s wildest dreams–it’s about creativity too.
Pictured above, fan-made short film Not Normal by Matt MacDonald, used a huge portion of mods in its production. Without the tools provided by OpenIV, this machinima film couldn’t have come to life, MacDonald shows in a behind the scenes video. He explains that the tool allows you to push the boundaries of the game’s camera angles and lighting.
Take-Two’s attempted takedown of OpenIV caused an uproar in the GTA V modding community, sparking some of the lowest review scores of GTA V on Steam and a petition with over 78,000 signatures. The stir has had an effect; Rockstar released a statement on the situation Friday.
“Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity, and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games,” the statement reads. “After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.”
While this doesn’t protect third-party projects within GTA V entirely, it does mean projects done through OpenIV can still operate within reason, such as the Liberty City in GTA V project. Take-Two does still have the right to pursue and close third-party projects, so this doesn’t mean OpenIV is home-free, but they may be able to come back soon. PC Gamer reports that OpenIV has released a new update to their tool, so the future is looking a little less bleak.