Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar Games and 2K Games, issued a DMCA notice to the creator of popular VR mods for GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Mafia Definitive Edition. Though the modder believes they are in the clear legally speaking, they have removed the mods to comply with the notice while waiting for the company to communicate its specific complaints.

Luke Ross is a prolific VR modder who has amassed significant support for his modding work, to the tune of some $25,000 per month via Patreon. And though Ross funds his work through Patreon, the mods he creates require users to own their own copy of the games in question.

That didn’t stop game publisher Take-Two from issuing a DMCA notice last week, taking issue with Ross’s most popular mods—those for GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Mafia Definitive Edition—which are the property of Take-Two’s Rockstar Games and 2K Games.

In a post on his Patreon page, Ross maintains the DMCA complaint from Take-Two was issued to Patreon, which then referred the complaint to Ross—though Ross says he has not had any direct communication from Take-Two and the company hasn’t actually said specifically what it has taken umbrage with regarding the mods.

In order to protect himself Ross complied with the DMCA complaint and removed all mention of the Rockstar and 2K games from his page, though he claims this is not an admission of guilt:

Note that [removal of the mods should not be] construed to imply that I admit any wrongdoing or believe that Take-Two’s DMCA notice has any legal merit. On the contrary, it is my belief that their action is wrongful and unmotivated, and that they are willfully making it much worse by their refusal to communicate, and I reserve the right to take legal action against any and all of the parties involved.

Ross says he’s attempting to make direct contact with Take-Two to sort out the issue.

In articulating his side of the story, Ross says he believes the mods do not violate any of Take-Two’s copyrights:

As I publicly stated many times, I honor and respect copyright and my intention has always been to allow gamers to experience the wonderful worlds created by Rockstar and 2K (among other companies) in Virtual Reality, which only translates to more customer satisfaction and more copies sold for them. I don’t sell or host anything exploiting or repurposing their original IP and assets and my mods only work if the user already owns a legal copy of their original games.

Further he believes the fact that he’s earning money for the mods is not the issue at hand; he claims Take-Two has similarly targeted free mods while also leaving some popular paid mods untouched.

A big question then is why Take-Two is going after Ross’s mods in particular. It’s possible the company has plans for its own upcoming VR content (we already know that GTA: San Andreas is in the works for Quest), and the company may believe it’s necessary to push VR modders off of its titles in order to protect the company from perceived legal risks.

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A petition in support of Ross’s VR mods has been formed, with many signing the petition saying they made legitimate purchases of the games just to play them in VR thanks to the mods.

For Ross’s part, the modder says the mods in question have been downloaded some 200,000 times—while surely not all of those downloads were tied to purchases of the games that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, Ross maintains his mods have only benefitted Take-Two by selling extra copies of their games and making them more fun for players.

Although the mods for Rockstar and 2K games were among his most popular, it doesn’t look like this spells the end for Ross, who says he is still actively developing VR mods for other major games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Cyberpunk 2077, Elden Ring, and Dark Souls: Remastered.

My intention is to keep improving these VR mods, as always listening closely to what you users and fans suggest, request and would like to see, and I also hope to be making other AAA games playable in VR with the same level of quality and attention that you have come to expect of me. I can’t promise anything right now (despite anybody’s best efforts, no game comes with a ‘moddable’ guarantee, and failure is always an option), but on average I have been able to grow my [VR mod] framework to support a new title about every 1-2 months.

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  • What is Take-Two? LAME, thas what they are!

  • xyzs

    What a disgusting group of corpo assholes…

    Attacking the people who create great stuff to improve their aging games and who are key in keeping the community passionate… that’s so nefarious.

    If they could spend a tenth of this evil energy to do correct remasters unlike the disgusting piece of garbage that is the gta defective edition…

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But they might have to, to protect their trademark/copyright as the guy IS asking money for the mod. (So we do have to look it from the business side, and no matter what you think, games are just products, nothing more, nothing less.

      • Jtwalkerblsck

        Yet, per as the Modder said, there are other Paid VR Mods like Vorpx, that are not being targeted…, so why just Luke…..

        • MeowMix

          VorpX already took down their TakeTwo VR modules. Perhaps they were next or LukeRoss was seen as the bigger fish since he was rolling in more money per month ($25k/month).

        • Andrew Jakobs

          They’re not on the supported games list (anymore), so maybe they also got a DMCA takedown.

      • Alexisms

        He isn’t using or repurposing any of Take 2’s assets in his creation of the mods, therefore there is no copyright or trademark infringement at all. The mod contains only his work so he can charge (or not) whatever he likes and it’s none of Take 2’s business. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on. HOWEVER they can make his life hell so the poor guy doesn’t have a choice.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Because you don’t use any content if the game itself doesn’t mean you can just sell it. You are making money of the product of someone else, without Take 2 he would not have anything to sell. That’s also the only way these companies can sue people who make hacks for their games.

          • Alexisms

            It means EXACTLY that. He can sell it as it’s solely his own work. See also third party car parts, third party controllers for consoles etc etc.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            No it’s not exactly how it works. Third party carparts can only be done with a license of the original, but a carradio is a universal format which carmanufacturers agreed upon. And third party controllers back in they day when it wasn’t all USB/bluetooth did require official licenses.

          • Alexisms

            Third party controllers never had needed official licences. How can you not know this! Your ignorance is truly breathtaking.

          • steve

            That is utter bullshit, let’s say you make a scope for a popular rifle made by a corporation, and you wish to market and sell it, that is your business, not that of the original producer of said weapon, same goes for cars, motorbikes, and… games.

      • xyzs

        So if an artist make money doing painting of a movie, you agree that he get sued for this ? If a developer developes a software that improves a Windows or Macos functionality he should be sued ? If a Youtuber makes a video about a VR product of game and he makes money from it, he should get sued? You reasoning make no sense here, because anybody should get sued all the time then…

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Most examples you mention the answer is YES, they can be sued, and many times they have been. Should get sued is something else, but can be sued isn’t.

          • xyzs

            The world you defend is so toxic. You look like 65yo, were you like that when you were in your 20s or
            it’s life that does that to most people ?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh please get your head out of your ass. It’s not what I want, I’m just being realistic and telling you how the world works, you know the actual world outside your computerscreen.
            It’s got nothing to do with greed, you know what has everything to do with greed, getting money using other peoples work, or thinking that everything others make should be free or be used as they see fit.

          • steve

            The toxic behaviour from Rockstar, Take 2, Ubi, EA and other fackturd corporations is the reason I no longer buy games from them, and spend my money now on indie developers, who do care about their game and after that care about the money they make of off you – for gamers by gamers, That motto was also something of a reality, a reality of the past. The reason EA got their asses handed over to them a couple of years ago with their Star Wars blockbuster, and their shareholders as well, when their stock took a nose-dive is what should happen here as well. Let them send cease and desist shit, let them file DCMA’s, ultimately it is US consumers who decide whether an AAA game will or will not be profitable – not the publishers who think they are almighty just because they have succeeded in securing a license, a copyright or other crap that does not really keep anyone busy except their fucking lawyers. Let them ruminate over that.

          • ViRGiN

            wow dude you’re so toxic

          • xyzs

            Coming for the emperor of rtvr toxic comments, it sounds very weird to read that from you. But I acknowledge you got smarter over the past few months.

          • ViRGiN

            own a great franchise first and then tell me how much you don’t care about people using your work.
            this mod sold essentially no copies – pcvr is dead 6 feet down under. shareholders have not seen any uptick, but definietly seen crappy gameplays which does not even compare to what they have in the works for sure.

      • Jason Redmon

        Not everyone with a Patreon account ‘asks’ for money. Usually it’s there so that if you feel like supporting someone who makes things you like, you can

  • VR5

    I hope the mods will be back soon. In my own layman’s understanding, the only thing they can actually DCMA are the screenshots and videos he made to demo the mods. He seems to make quite a bit of money on his patreon so I think getting legal support to fight this should be possible as well.

  • Tommy

    Most likely, they are developing official VR implementation with full motion controls. If so, I welcome it. I would imagine that Sony is probably throwing money at them to do so for PSVR 2.
    If not, they are making a bad business decision and are throwing away money from potential VR consumers.

  • 144Hz

    That probably means GTA San Andreas VR for the Quest 2 will release soon.

    • MeowMix

      Hopefully

  • dextrovix

    What a bunch of ass-hats, it’s harmless when people have to own the game:to use the mod, and some people might even buy the game specifically because it works in VR with the mod!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But he’s asking money for the mod, and therein might lie the problem. Providing the mod without earning money is normally not a problem, but when you ask money you’re earning money with their IP. And although it might sound harmless to you (or me), it certainly might give problems to trademarks/copyright/license issues.

      • antonio mora

        You know, he is not the only modder behind a paywall on patreon making mods for R* games (Razed.) but he is the only one getting DMCA.

      • Tommy

        I don’t think he is violating anything though. His mods do not sell their content. All it does is change the way people play already purchased content. Take Two is in no way losing out on any sales, in fact, quite the opposite. I would like to see what they consider infringement. He definitely has the money to fight it in court

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I think the problem is that he’s earning money from creating these mods, and so earn money through the IP which they haven’t got a license for.

    Ofcourse TakeTwo is releasing a version of GTA for the Quest, so maybe they are working on mods themselves. I would say, hire this dude and sell the VR addition as a DLC. I don’t have any problems if they block the mod because they are going to create their own release.

    BUT if they don’t have any plans on adding VR themselves, then I don’t see any point in blocking the mod (except ofcourse for him earning money based on their IP), it even makes the games more interesting for another group to buy the game (I for instance don’t have RDR2 and I won’t be buying it for the forseeing future unless it get’s way down to 9 euro’s or lower, AND I should be able to get the mod, otherwise I don’t see any need for the game as I mostly play VR games these days.

    • Jtwalkerblack

      Yet as Luke stated AND VERY TRUE, other VR Mods like VORPX have VR injections for Take Two’s games as well—their not going after them….

    • James Cobalt

      Just like you can buy 3rd party radios for your specific car model, or even jailbreak your phone and install a 3rd party store, there’s a legal precident under US law for selling modifications for existing products – both hardware and software. This dev was not using any of the author’s code in his product, so it was perfectly legal. The IP holders are just abusing the DMCA system as it’s very fast and easy to remove potential or perceived competition and very hard to fight back.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Selling a jailbreak for a phone or a console IS illegal.

        • James Cobalt

          That’s why I used the example of jailbreaking your phone and installing a 3rd party store (where you pay for things to run on your phone that normally wouldn’t be possible). That is legal in many countries, including the USA, and that’s more akin to what is going on here. The seller did not sell anything to circumvent copy protection, which is what makes selling many types of console mods and jailbreaks illegal.

  • antonio mora

    If it wasn’t for Luke I wouldn’t be playing anymore.

    PCVR needs him badly.

    • Tommy

      We need Preydog more. He makes WAY better mods.

      • MeowMix

        Ya, Preydog is working in OpenXR, he’s way ahead of everyone else. Doesn’t matter which headset you own, you know you’ll get the best performance possible.

  • Jtwalkerblack

    I could see Take Two’s point of view, if Luke’s VR injection, was the only Mod making money out of this—but like he said, it’s not. Luke has a MAJOR point, because the Author of VORPX—a VR Mod, that adds VR to the SAME GAMES, Luke is being targeted for is being untouched by Take Two’s obvious Agenda. Low key, I tried both, and I’d rather have Luke’s version anyway—and unlike the Author of VORPX, at least Luke’s philosophy respects the original vision of the Game’s Company and Author as much as it possibly could, whereas as seen in Cyberpunk, VORPX manipulates the control aspect of the game. I wouldn’t of wanted Take Two to have targeted anyone (Unless they’ve decided to do VR versions themselves) but you’d think Take Two would’ve done their research, and respected Luke’s vision more, going after VORPX instead…..

    • MeowMix

      Luke has a MAJOR point, because the Author of VORPX—a VR Mod, that adds VR to the SAME GAMES, Luke is being targeted for is being untouched by Take Two’s obvious Agenda.

      VorpX already took down their TakeTwo VR modules. Perhaps they were next or LukeRoss was seen as the bigger fish since he was rolling in more money per month ($25k/month).

      • Lo Pan

        Well then by that legal logic, every gaming app that changes backlit keyboard colors per game, every game-specific graphics driver optimization, and more is fair game.

    • ViRGiN

      luke called out vorpx out of jealously? quote? that’s so petty of him. dude you fuked up and got targeted, dont be like crabs pulling each other down. you’ve made your money. you’ve been so confident ou gave an interview. now deal with it.

  • johnyjazz

    As stated in the article, Take Two haven’t actually contacted Luke directly to request he take it down, just Patreon. They are probably concerned with other people making money from their brands. It’s early days yet and until they’ve had a chance to explain their position to Luke, you shouldn’t be condemning them. Best thing is to sign the petition so Luke has the numbers to back up the demand for VR mods.

  • david vincent

    That’s also why you never sell mods.
    Well no big deal since Ross’ mod are a flickering fest.

    • NotMikeD

      No, it’s a very big deal. Flickery as REAL mods may be (and of course this is highly rig & settings dependent), they are our only way to experience Rockstar’s amazing open worlds in VR. If you’ve not played RDR2 in VR, you’re missing out on one of gaming’s greatest experiences, and this corporate bullying is only further restricting the already tragically small subset of people who get to have that experience.

      • david vincent

        I much prefer Vorpx + Z3D

        • Jukka Muhonen

          You might brefer it but z3d isnt even realistic. But if it works for you then it works for you.

          • david vincent

            I don’t know what “realistic” means but for me Z3D with its flaw is still better than suffering ugly ghosting. But I know some people are less sensitive to it (probably the same who are not bothered with reprojection). Good for them.

          • david vincent

            There is no perfect solution.
            Z3D is also flawed but I got used to it.
            The flickering, I can’t.

  • NotMikeD

    I’m currently enjoying RDR2 in VR thanks to this mod and it’s just a breathtaking experience on so many levels. TakeTwo’s actions here fill me with rage. They are serving no purpose in doing this other than worsening this experience for those who choose to experience RDR2 in VR and hurting sales of the game (I double-purchased RDR2 SOLELY to play in VR; I’m sure I’m not the only one). There’s no way I’ll consider purchasing another TakeTwo game until they reverse this blatantly anti-consumer stance.

    TakeTwo please remove your blatant corpo-anti consumer tactics from digital art that people infinitely more talented than your corporate lawyers have labored to create.

    • Max-Dmg

      I wish the touch controllers could be used, imagine using the laso lol.

  • I hope they find an agreement, because he was (and still is) doing a great service for the community

  • Unus

    And how about the other GTA5 mods on Patreon? Like Natural Vision and friends? They also made money from Take Two’s IP right? Why Take Two allowed them? Why they only aimed to Luke?

  • … How? It’s not like this is the first mod in gaming history. Whatever legal grounds they are using have to be as stable as quicksand. This reminds me of the “Lawyer Letterhead” scare tactic. You get a piece of paper from a lawyer’s office, write a bunch of legal sounding mumbo-jumbo on it, and try to scare somebody into thinking they are going to get sued so you can get your way.

    It LITERALLY wouldn’t last a day in court. For Ross to take down his work seems like a lazy move, not to mention bailing on *ALL* of the people who have paid him money to continue his work. He’s just going to bail on them without challenging this at all? He’s pulling $300,000 a year, if my mental math is correct. Getting any kind of 2-bit lawyer isn’t going to break him.

    I think there’s more at work here. I’d hazard a guess he’s invested himself in too many projects, the issues with support are getting overwhelming, and this whole thing provides him with an easy out. All of these projects seem like WAY too much for one man, but he’s getting too much money from people quit. He’s likely getting crushed under the workload.

  • Jukka Muhonen

    Time to un-install gta V.