Take-Two Interactive has just won a striking legal victory over a Florida man who created and distributed the Grand Theft Auto Online cheat tool Elusive. Jhonny Perez has been ordered to pay Take-Two $150,000 plus legal fees for copyright infringement.
According to a report by Torrent Freak, Elusive is a cheat tool primarily used for getting around Grand Theft Auto Online's economy to grief players. The cheat allows users to generate unlimited currency, which they then use to upset the balance of online play and interactions with other players.
Rockstar Games' parent company Take-Two issued a cease-and-desist against Perez last year to stop selling Elusive to customers. The cheat program was reportedly sold online for prices ranging from $10 to $30. Although Perez stopped the sale of Elusive, Take-Two's attempts at further communication, and even an out-of-court settlement, were met with silence. Take-Two was eventually forced to go through the courts in order to reach Perez.
The court ruled in favor of Take-Two by default, as Perez failed to show and defend himself. A New York federal court awarded Take-Two the maximum statutory damages for copyright infringement, which is $150,000 plus $69,686 in attorney's fees.
Take-Two argued that Elusive resulted in severe losses for the company—as much as $500,000 worth according to its internal estimates. The Judge presiding over the case sided with Take-Two noting, "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 this video game is designed to be played."
Take-Two's legal victory is just another episode in the video game industry's ongoing war with cheaters. In 2017, Epic Games stepped up efforts to combat cheating in Fortnite Battle Royale through legal action. This sometimes led to strange cases where Epic Games wound up suing a 14 year-old. But the industry's fight against cheaters isn't over, and there are bound to be more cases like Mr. Perez's in the future.
A full copy of Take-Two's default judgement and the court's finding is available at Torrent Freak.