After reverse-engineered source code for Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City were pulled offline due to DMCA claims by Take-Two Interactive, a developer stood up to the DMCA claim and won, in a way. However, it's possible that this challenge could lead to a legal battle if Take-Two wants the source code taken down once again.
Earlier this year, Grand Theft Auto fans released reverse-engineered source code for both Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City in what was titled "re3" and "reVC," respectively. These PC versions featured a slew of bug fixes and changes such as compatibility between controllers and no loading screens between islands in what was a multi-year passion project. For a while, they avoided any heat from Rockstar Games and the GTA developer's parent company Take-Two. In February, however, the chief creator was hit with DMCA takedowns by Take-Two, which claimed that the source codes violated copyright claims for GTA 3 and Vice City.
However, another party became involved. A New Zealand-based developer going by the name Theo took a stand against the DMCA claim after their fork was taken down from GitHub as well. Theo submitted a claim to GitHub, explaining that no source code from the original game was used, meaning that it doesn't infringe on Take-Two's content ownership. According to Theo, this isn't the first time Take-Two has attempted to remove content containing none of its own code, such as when it tried to remove the OpenIV modding tool for GTA 5.
The counter-claim succeeded, in a sense, because the source code for reVC and re3 have appeared online once again. However, this is due to the DMCA rules, which state that the disputed content must be restored online within 14 days of a counter-notice being received. Theo filed their claim last month after Take-Two removed over 200 forks using the reversed source code.
Going forward, it will be up to whether or not Take-Two wants to pursue further action, which would need to be fought out legally in the courts. It's possible that this could happen, but Theo doesn't expect GTA 3's publishing company to take such drastic action at this time.
While it might seem like re3 and reVC are pirated copies of GTA 3 and Vice City, this isn't the case. To download the package for re3 and reVC, the code requires the PC game's assets to work, meaning players need a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3 for PC. It's more like a massive mod for the game, such as the Unofficial Skyrim Patch that overhauls bugs, graphics, and AI.
Creators in the Twitch community have been blindsided multiple times this year by an old foe, a recurring problem with livestreaming that's reared its head the most recently. Every year, it seems, there's a widespread purge of clips and VODs on the livestreaming platform as DMCA copyright claims are filed against streamers. This year in particular has been especially problematic for content creators, as numerous clips and VODs (some of which are several years old) are receiving DMCA strikes. There's a reason why streamers have affectionately referred to the issue with phrases like the DMCA "bloodbath" or "purge" of content on Twitch.