OpenIV, the widely used modding tool for GTA V has been shut down by it's creators after receiving a cease and desist order from Rockstar's parent company Take Two Interactive. The cease and desist order also covered the modders' work on the 'Liberty City in GTA V' total conversion project, which they have decided to discontinue.
The order, sent to OpenIV lead developer GooD-NTS, states that OpenIV "allow third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two’s rights." The modders themselves responded with a statement on their website, noting the steps they have taken over ten years of development to stay on the right side of the law, including "Strictly following of Civil Code of Russia (only reverse engineering for interoperability), only clean-room reverse engineering, no distribution of original data and code, and absolutely no messing with Online."
Despite the fact that the modding team feels they could argue in court that the mods they produce fall under 'fair use,' the statement continues by saying that they are complying with Take Two's demands as they want to avoid the time and money that would be wasted in court. In their own words, "Spending time just to restore status quo is really unproductive, and all the money in the world can’t compensate the loss of time."
The response from fans of the GTA V modding community was one of outrage, with many flooding to Steam to leave negative reviews on the GTA V page. In the aftermath of the news, Rockstar released their own statement on the matter, saying,
Take-Two's actions were not specifically targeting single player mods. Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody. We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.This response only seems to have caused further confusion, however, as the Open IV developer states that GTA Online cannot be accessed with OpenIV installed and that the Take Two cease and desist order was single player specific and made no mention of GTA Online. Good-NTS made this post on the GTA forums in response to Rockstar's statement, saying,
The statement "Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody", is just wrong and they know it. OpenIV does not allows or supports any kind of GTA Online mods. We always supported Rockstar in their right to protect GTA Online from hacks and cheats. But, Take-Two's C&D was specific for our Singleplayer mods and have no mentions about GTA Online.The reason that the entire GTA V modding community seem to be rallying against the decision is down to the fact that the OpenIV modding tool is essential to the operation of many GTA V single player mods. Rather than a mod in and of itself, OpenIV is a modding tool that allows for other functions such as the extraction and editing of map files. As such, this decision could have ramifications for the future of modding in GTA V and potentially other Take Two published games, rather than simply affecting the OpenIV creators.
It's worth noting that despite the creator and community's claims, Rockstar could have found some exploit involving the modding tool through their own testing that goes beyond it's intended use. The issue is being discussed hotly as you would expect on the GTA forums. There, a user and fellow modder ASH_735 claiming to have seen the document, alleged that the order specifically targets, among other things, tools that allow for the extraction of files or the viewing of encrypted files and tools that allow the loading of additional or modified content into Take Two's games, which would be a very broad description indeed. Importantly, though, these comments have not yet been verified.
We have reached out to the developers of OpenIV, as well as Rockstar and Take Two Interactive, to seek further clarification on the issue and will update you should any response be forthcoming.