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GTA Online cheat programmer ordered to pay Take-Two $150,000 in damages, plus legal fees

Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive has been cracking down on cheat makers over the past couple of years, recently gaining court orders to search and seize the equipment of alleged perpetrators. After being caught, a Florida resident has been ordered to pay the company $150,000 in damages and a further $69,000 in legal fees for developing and selling cheat programs for Grand Theft Auto Online.

Last year, Take-Two turned its sights on a cheat program called ‘Elusive’, which allowed players to spawn unlimited in-game currency and reportedly instantly kill enemy players, among other things. This was sold in packages ranging from $10 – $30, according to TorrentFreak, before being taken down when the publisher managed to get in contact with creator Johnny Perez.

“After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, we are immediately ceasing all maintenance, development, and distribution of our cheat menu services,” read Perez announcement to fans at the time. “We will also be donating our proceeds to a charity designated by Take-Two. We apologize for any and all problems our software has caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.”

Although Perez complied with the takedown, Take-Two claims that it filed the lawsuit in August, 2018 because the publisher’s attempts to negotiate a settlement were met with silence. Take-Two claimed that the Elusive software had caused up to $500,000 in damages through its harm to other players discouraging new sales, and its devaluing of in-game currency hindering its microtransactions.

Take-Two sought the maximum statutory damages amount of $150,000, plus $69,686 in attorney’s fees. The judge ultimately agreed with the ruling, finding Perez guilty of both direct and contributory copyright infringement.

“Take-Two has been irreparably harmed by Mr. Perez’s infringing conduct and will continue to be harmed unless enjoined,” said US District Court Judge Kevin Castel. “Mr. Perez’s Elusive program creates new features and elements in Grand Theft Auto which can be used to harm legitimate players, causing Take-Two to lose control over its carefully balanced plan for how its video game is designed to be played.

As usual, a permanent injunction prevents Perez from continuing copyright infringing activities. This is believed to be the highest penalty awarded to a case pertaining to video game cheats to date.

KitGuru Says: It’s definitely a big win for Take-Two and Rockstar, showing the community that it isn’t messing around when it comes to cheating. There’s still a long way to go in order to purge GTA Online of illegitimate players, though.

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