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August 23, 2022

Rockstar in 'Rage Mode' Again - Copyright Strikes Again

Rockstar has struck again: Hardly any other studio pulls out the copyright hammer as quickly as Rockstar (or Take-Two). Now even a former developer of the GTA series had to take a virtual beating.

Rockstar is pretty sensitive if even the hint of copyright infringement comes across. Mike Dailly, one of the creators of the GTA series, felt this. At the time, Dailly was one of the founders of DMA Design, which brought GTA into being in the first place and was bought by Rockstar in 1998 and renamed Rockstar North. Among other things, Dailly developed the first graphics engine with which you could play GTA.

Dailly had the "stupid" idea of posting a few videos of GTA prototypes on YouTube and posting a link to a 25-year-old design document for GTA 2 on Twitter. Two videos were renderings of prototype graphic styles that Dailly developed in the early 1990s. One was a rotating isometric prototype, the other a top-down prototype, both of roads and buildings. The third was footage from an old beta version of Grand Theft Auto.

The age of the video content did not stop Rockstar from taking the videos down, citing copyright infringement. Dailly is understandably not amused: "Developers should always have the opportunity to show their work, especially when she's 28!"

It's pretty incomprehensible what legitimate business or copyright interest Take-Two could have here. Those interested in the history of video games are essentially the ones who will be harmed the most by the removal of the videos and design documents. It's also incomprehensible because Dailly's YouTube account only had a handful of followers and the videos were only viewed a few hundred times.