3 Count: Grand Theft Mods

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1: ‘GTA’ Reverse-Engineer Modders Defend Projects as Under “Fair Use”

First off today, Will Nelson at NME reports that video game modders are fighting back against a lawsuit filed by Rockstar Games claiming that their fan-created mods are a fair use, not a copyright infringement.

The lawsuit was filed in September by Rockstar Games, the owners of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise. They accused the modders of copyright infringement for making and distributing reverse-engineered versions of both GTA3 and GTA: Vice City. This came after they ordered the mods be taken off GitHub and the people behind the project reuploaded the files.

According to the response of the modders, their use of any copyright-protected material was a fair use and that, due to Rockstar’s tolerance and even encouragement of modding in the past, that there was an implied license to continue the project.

2: YouTubers Who Uploaded Movie Edits Receive Suspended Prison Sentences

Next up today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that, in Japan, three pirates have been given suspended sentences for the uploading of “fast movies” to YouTube.

Fast movies are not full pirate releases but, instead, are heavily edited versions of movies that condense a film into just a few minutes. The three men were accused of running prominent fast movie channels and that earned them criminal charges in Japan.

The three defendants received suspended sentences of up to 2 years and have been ordered to pay a combined $3.5 million Yen ($30,600) fine. The outcome of the case was welcomed by local copyright holders in the country.

3: Streamlabs Accused of Plagiarism and ‘Unethical’ Business Practices

Finally today, Mollie Taylor at PCGamer reports that the streaming service Streamlabs is under fire for a variety of questionable business practices, including plagiarism of a competitor’s site.

Streamlabs has long been controversial in the streaming space. Its Streamlabs OBS software is built on top of the open-source OBS project, but the company declined to change the name and even registered a trademark for it. However, the company recently launched a new service targeted at console gamers and the site copied large chunks of content from their competitor Lightstream.

That content included both marketing text and user reviews. Streamlabs has vowed both to change its name and fix the site, saying that the site was just a text page that was pushed live on accident.

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