Categories
Take-Two

An Anonymous Apology from a Former GTAV Mod Menu Developer

Hello everyone,

I was a bad gta player.
I actually was more than just that.
I started as a bad player, though.

I had always been a computer enthusiast.
Relatives and friends were always asking me for help when something was wrong with their computers at least since I was 11 years old.
I was helping people to upgrade from windows 7 to windows 8 (or downgrade, you know…) while still using a Windows XP computer as my main.

Some years ago, when I was 15, I went from a 2007 Pentium 4 desktop computer to an Intel i5+Nvidia GTX one.

That’s how it all started.
It was mind-blowing.

Now I was able to play real 3d games instead of those crappy 2d flash games that we have all played online at least once.

I still remember that I felt so guilty at first because my parents had already spent a lot of money for my computer and I didn’t want to ask them more to buy games

At the same time I didn’t want to crack anything, both for the risk of malware and the inability to play cracked multiplayer games.

So I ended up buying, during a steam sale, GTA IV+SA for a very low price, even if I was not that happy considering that I could have run GTA V, which was already out.

Months passed and I couldn’t resist more, so I grabbed my parent’s credit card and I bought GTA V.

I bought GTA V.
Remove that action from my life and I would be happy today.
And I would have been happy yesterday and every day for the last few years.

At first it felt gorgeous.
That graphics, oh my gosh.
It was unbelievable for someone like me, who was dreaming to play Minecraft a few weeks before but was unable to do so because his windows xp machine didn’t have a graphic card.

Then my hacker (cracker, or whatever you want to call it) soul started to be interested into this game.

After playing online many hours I started to ask myself: “Why am I always being trolled by those modders? They never get banned…maybe I should join the other side to have more fun”.

Imitating others sometimes is not a bad idea, especially if you then become worse than them.

At that time I was barely a script kiddie.
But I was already very curious about everything related to technology.

So I started learning.
I realized that to make mods everyone was using C++…I knew it a little bit because I had red a book about it when I was 12 but I had to study it from scratch again…and so I did.

Then I found tools like cheat engine, ida pro, binary ninja, reclass…so many pieces of software that I considered amazing (and I still do actually, it all depends on how you use them).

With great power comes great responsibility.

Yes, that sounds correct: If you ask a 15-year-old to kill a man in real life he would probably say no.
But if you ask that same young guy if coding a .dll file after school and injecting it by using the load library method into GTA5.exe to get some cool cheats to be better than other players in gta online, he may not realize the consequences of his actions (or extremely underestimate them).

And that’s exactly what happened to me.
I started coding a mod menu for fun, just to experiment stuff.
Then I sent it to some friends for free.
They were interested.
I felt cool because in my crew I was considered a hacker and a gta geek.

Ì was spending 8-10 hours a day on my barely working mod menu, sacrificing my school marks.
After some months I started to realize that my software was getting good (even if now I can definitely say that it still was crap, code-wise and purpose-wise).

So again I was hyped and I wanted to become more famous.
What did I do? Well I released my mod menu on a popular forum where many people upload and talk about free cheats.

I suddenly started to get attention.
Today I can say for sure that the huge attention I was getting came because it was just the right software released at the right moment…combined with way too much griefing features.

After some months someone gave me the idea to start selling the mod menu (to reduce banwave rates) and I accepted, even if I didn’t know how to do it but for that someone offered me his help.

Sales were getting better and better every day (if we ignore the days when the website was online thank to DDoS guys – damn you, you should have DDoS-ed us more often to keep us offline every day).
Anyway, it was fun until it lasted.
I was also very proud of me because not many people at my age were making so much money.

What did I do with those money? Well, I spent a large part of those buying personal stuff. Another big part was spent by helping people. Even if I was a f*cking gta griefer I helped a friend to pay his bills and I bought some phones for friends who could not afford new ones although they really needed them.
Then in the last part we have money spent to pay the server and the website, various software needed for the job and other random stuff that were inevitable.
I was not a bud guy in real life, I just liked to blow up people when I was playing GTA, even if I gotta say that sometimes I was very generous with other players and I used to make them really happy.

I would have happily skipped this money section, but I want to make sure that you understood one thing: I made a lot of money coding and selling a mod menu, but I am going to pay A LOT MORE (money, health, social life, reputation and time), now that Take Two is after me.

So if you are a little guy thinking about coding a small menu to make money, even by keeping it private not to get caught do me a favor: please stop now.
Really, stop.
And yes, even if you live in Antarctica.
It’s not gonna work.

You probably can’t understand how bad I felt in these past few years.
Every day I wake up and I think about Take Two.
When I am not lucky I think about Take Two even when I am sleeping.
When I get an email notification I am scared to open it since it may be something from lawyers.
When after a week it’s Saturday I thank God (even if I don’t believe in it) because I know that nothing bad can happens during the weekend.
Committing suicide? Already considered. It can’t work because it would only make my parents’ lives even worse than now.
And they are not responsible for this. They can barely use a smartphone and they didn’t even buy me GTA V.

I see no way this story could possibly end well.
And I have been thinking about it for a few years by now.

In the best possible scenario my life will be ruined and my parents’ lives too. That’s it.

Sometimes I can’t understand how this all happened since I am now so much different from that 15/16/17 years old guy coding mods for fun and profit.

But it happened and so no big deal.

“This [is] … about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed—run over, maimed, destroyed—but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it…. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished.”


Philip K. Dick (In Memoriam, A Scanner Darkly)


If you have been teleported somewhere in the map, It may have been my fault.
If you have been teleported to an apartment, after the first method teleport had been patched, it may have been my fault.
Other stuff that I am not proud of include: remote ranking, remote (and self) money to the bank, money drop, a wild variety of cages, instant and delayed crash methods, blamed explosions, freezed characters, remote bounties, removed weapons and more

For all of that I am here to apologise.
It was childish and I will never be proud of that as a (wannabe) software engineer.
But at least I did that when I was young.

What sometimes makes me feel weird and sad at the same time is that this could have never happened if Take Two had designed gta online a bit better.
Something like the ability to add unlimited money just by sending some requests from the client to the server (which doesn’t verify those request at all) should have never been possible.
“Never trust the client” is the first rule that every online developer should be well aware of.
If you go to a real bank to deposit $10 million cash money, they will probably check and count them all before adding 10 million dollars to your bank account (chances are those money could be much less, if not 0).
Everyone keeps saying me that if you see an open door you are not supposed to get into the apartment to steal everything.
That’s correct I guess but I truly believe it doesn’t work in the gta context where most players are kids and also you don’t steal anything real (or you can’t directly see it).

If you are still reading, thanks for reading my post till the end.
Again I apologise to all the people who have been damaged by my software.
I also want to apologise to Take Two and GTA’s developers: even if you could have been smarter and maybe a bit more kind I know that in the end it’s my fault.

What I am trying to achieve by writing this? I actually don’t know.
I am not hoping to improve my current situation, at least on a financial level.
Writing this was surely helpful as an outlet…it’s getting harder every day but I learn to deal with it…kind of.

I will be very happy to answer to any questions you have (if possible).

One last thing: if you managed to figure out who I am (should not be very hard) please don’t write it down here in the next posts… really it’s not a good idea.

Thank you all

Edited August 10 by WhiteHackGuy

Source:
https://gtaforums.com/topic/885020-psa-cheat-awareness-discussion-notices-news/page/139

[ed: Thank-you Gena Feist for helping yet another 16 year-old discover the joys of life-long therapy. You wrote him a letter, and he took his site down immediately — but that just wasn’t good enough for you. This is (at least) the 3rd male minor you have commenced legal action against [with relation to GTAV], one can only speculate about your own formative experiences at that age. “.. best served cold” ?]

Categories
Take-Two

Dale Cendali vs Evolve

RELATED: Take-Two is suing over a Grand Theft Auto cheating mod — again

Written by Dale Cendali, P.C.

To Call Writer Directly: (212) 446-4846

dale.cendali@kirkland.com

March 18, 2019

Hon. Edgardo Ramos
United States District Judge
Southern District of New York 40 Foley Square
New York, NY 10007

Re: Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Does 1-10, No. 1:19 Civ. 02371 (ER)(SN) Dear Judge Ramos:

We represent Plaintiff Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (“Take-Two”) in the above­ referenced litigation. We write to request leave to serve the enclosed third party subpoenas prior to a Rule 26(f) conference to learn the identities of Doe Defendants 1-10 named in this action.

Factual Background

As background, Take-Two is the developer and publisher of best-selling video games, including Grand Theft Auto V (“GTAV”) and its multiplayer feature Grand Theft Auto Online (“GTAO”). GTAV and GTAO are protected by Take-Two’s copyrights, all of which are solely owned by Take-Two. Over the past few years, individuals have begun creating and selling for profit illegal and infringing programs called “mod menus,” which are cheating and “griefing” tools that allow users to perform unauthorized actions in GTAV’s multiplayer feature GTAO. In particular, these mod menus allow users to cheat while playing Take-Two’s games, both to (a) create benefits for themselves within the game that they have not purchased or earned, or (b) to alter the games of other players in the same multiplayer gaming session without authorization.

For example, some of the unauthorized features and abilities offered by these mod menus include without limitation (i) causing players to teleport, (ii) creating game objects such as vehicles and cash bags, (iii) creating game “powers,” such as causing the player to be invincible, (iv) the creation of virtual currency, (v) granting access to weapons and ammunition, and (vi) granting reputation points. These actions can be used to change the game for the user of the mod menu and other players who do not have the mod menu installed.

As a result, these mod menus disrupt the user experience that was designed by Take-Two, resulting in harm to Take-Two and its users. In particular, for legitimate players who play by GTAO’s rules, the gameplay experience is frustrated by those who exploit the cheating and griefing features of the mod menus against those legitimate players who do not use a mod menu to cheat. Thus, Take-Two has been forced to bring several lawsuits in the United States and around the world to stop these infringers from selling a commercial product that interferes with the carefully orchestrated and balanced gameplay that Take-Two created for its players and to stop these infringers from free riding on Take-Two’s intellectual property.

See, e.g., Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Zipperer, No. 18 Civ. 2608 (S.D.N.Y.); Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Cameron, No. 18 Civ. 02981 (S.D.N.Y.); Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Perez, No. 18 Civ. 07658 (S.D.N.Y.); Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. James, Claim No. IL-2018-000094, High Court, Chancery Division; Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Anderson (Federal Court of Australia, No. NSD l751/2018); Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Daldal, Landgericht Hamburg (District Court Hamburg), 312 0 198/18.

Moreover, such conduct has been found to warrant the issuance of a preliminary injunction. See Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Zipperer, No. 18 Civ. 2608, 2018 WL 4347796, at *11 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2018) (granting Take-Two’s motion for a preliminary injunction finding that “legitimate users of GTAV are harmed by [mod menus] that permit their users to disadvantage players who do not use the cheat programs”).

The latest of these copycat mod menus is named “Evolve” (the “Infringing Program”). Like prior mod menus, the Infringing Program allows users to cheat and harm other players in GTAO. The Defendants in this action created, distributed, and/or maintained the Infringing Program. After Take-Two conducted investigations into these individuals, Take-Two identified the website Defendants are operating at https://evolve.black/ and Defendants’ aliases and e-mail addresses. Take-Two, however, has not yet been able to identify the Defendants’ full legal names or physical addresses. See Compl. ,-i 8 (Dkt. No. 1). Take-Two believes that information obtained in discovery from Cloudflare (the operator of the Infringing Program’s website at https://evolve.black/), Selly and PayPal (which processed purchases and transactions related to the Infringing Program), and Google (which operates e-mail services for the defendants) will lead to the identification of each Defendant.

Good Cause Exists for the Court to Grant Leave to Serve Third Party Subpoenas

A party may seek expedited discovery before the Rule 26(f) conference when authorized by court order. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(l). In this District, courts apply “a flexible standard of reasonableness and good cause” when considering whether to grant such an order. See e.g., Malibu Media LLC v. Doe, No. 18 Civ. 3228, 2018 WL 5818099, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 20, 2018). Courts routinely find good cause exists to issue a subpoena to discover a Doe defendant’s identity where: (1) plaintiff makes a prima facie showing of copyright infringement, (2) the plaintiffs discovery request is specific, (3) there is an “absence of alternative means to obtain the subpoenaed information,” (4) there is a “need for the subpoenaed information to advance the claim,” and (5) defendants have a minimal expectation of privacy. See Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3,604 F.3d 110, 119 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-11, No. 12 Civ. 3810, 2013 WL 3732839, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. July 16, 2013) (Ramos, J.); see also Sony Music Entm’t Inc. v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 565 (S.D.N.Y. 2004); John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Doe Nos. 1-30, 284 F.R.D. 185, 191 (S.D.N.Y. 2012). For the reasons explained below, each of these factors weigh in favor of granting Take-Two’s request.

First, Take-Two has alleged a prima facie case of copyright infringement. “A claim of copyright infringement … requires proof that (1) the plaintiff had a valid copyright in the work allegedly infringed and (2) the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s copyright by violating one of the exclusive rights that 17 U.S.C. § 106 bestows upon the copyright holder.” Island Software & Comput. v. Microsoft, 413 F.3d 257,260 (2d Cir. 2005). Take-Two’s Complaint satisfies both of these prongs. As to the first prong, Take-Two alleged that it “owns the copyright for each of its video games, including GTAV” and that “GTAV has been registered with the Copyright Office.” Compl. ¶¶ 26-27. Moreover, as Take-Two’s registration was issued within five years of GTAV’ s publication, see Compl. Ex. 3, it is “prima facie evidence of both valid ownership of copyright and originality,” raising a presumption of validity. Associated Press v. Meltwater U.S. Holdings, Inc., 931 F. Supp. 2d 537, 549 (S.D.N.Y. 2013); see also 17 U.S.C. § 410(c). As to the second prong, the Complaint alleges that ”Defendants … created … the Infringing Program,” which “alters and creates derivative works based on GTAV.” Compl. ¶¶ 33, 35. Moreover, in Zipperer, mod menus that similarly “created an alternative version of GTAV which is based on Take-Two’s GTAV but with added elements that allow its users to use features not available in the original version of GTAV,” were held to “likely constitute[] a derivative work which Take-Two has the exclusive right to create.” 2018 WL 4347796, at *8. Thus, Take-Two has alleged a prima facie case of copyright infringement.

Second, as shown by the enclosed draft subpoenas, Exs. A- D, Take-Two’ s discovery request is specific because it “seeks concrete and narrow information: [i.e.] the name and address of the subscriber.” John Wiley, 284 F.R.D. at 190; see also Malibu Media, 2013 WL 3732839, at *5 (pre-Rule 26(f) conference discovery request adequately specific where it sought “the name and address of Defendant”).

Third and fourth , there is an absence of alternative means to obtain the subpoenaed information because the Defendants distribute the Infringing Program using aliases. Because of the Defendants’ anonymity, Take-Two “cannot determine the identity and contact information for each of the defendants without obtaining [such] information from the ISPs by subpoena.” John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 284 F.R.D. at 190. Moreover, Take-Two needs this information to advance its claims because “without this information, [Take-Two] will be unable to serve process.” Id.

Finally, this Court has held that “ISP subscribers have a minimal expectation of privacy in the sharing of copyrighted material.” Malibu Media, 2013 WL 3732839, at *6.

Accordingly, as each factor weighs in favor of Take-Two, Take-Two thus respectfully requests that the Court grant Take-Two’ s request to issue subpoenas to Cloudflare, Selly, PayPal, and Google, seeking the names and addresses of Defendants.

Dale Cendali, P.C.


Categories
Take-Two

Again with the spelling mistakes Rockstar?

Seriously guys, it’s millennium. Double “l”, double “n”.

Categories
Take-Two

The Rockstar EULA — Why Lawyers NEED Better Spellchecking

After reading many legal arguments that insist a user/player/licensee needs to be copacetic to everything written in every contract they agree to, it warms the cochleas of my heart to see that Rockstar / Take-Two have yet again left another typo in their latest EULA (18 September 2018), this time not even managing to make it past the second paragraph.

No, “inclduing” is not a word. Maybe somebody (Hello Ms Feist) needs to disable the option to “Ignore capitalized words” in the Proofing section of their word processor.

But ultimately the irony is that even the lawyers who write these things clearly do not actually read them.