GTA San Andreas Steam Pulls Songs And Breaks Saves

Come back with our songs!

You might have noticed Steam downloading a sizeable update for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas over the weekend and wondered what that was about. A fancy secret tying into GTA V’s return to the west coast, perhaps? Not quite. The patch added support for XInput controllers like the Xbox 360 pad, which is nice, but also removed seventeen songs from various radio stations. No more angsting out and gunning it across Gant Bridge in the wrong lane listening to Killing in the Name, I’m afraid. It breaks old saves for some too, though a mod fixes that up.

Rockstar didn’t release any patch notes, but RockstarNexus pieced it together. The seventeen tracks missing are the same as those removed in the recent pocket telephone version, so presumably it’s a music licensing issue.

When music rights expired for some songs in GTA: Vice City, Rockstar left them in for folks who already owned it then made a separate version without them for new purchasers. It’s pretty unpleasant that they didn’t do the same here too. This was probably just easier for Rockstar to do. Folks who didn’t buy it on Steam still have San Andreas as fine as it ever was. It’s not all sunshine and roses, this auto-updating world.

Modder ‘Silent’ has released a beta version of his SilentPatch to fix a few other problems with the latest update, including squashed aspect ratios and the potential problems with save game compatibility.

Rockstar haven’t said anything yet about what’s going on.


  1. Arathorn says:

    How does this work out legally? If you bought the game years ago, you bought them including those songs, and now Rockstar simply removed what you paid for earlier and you legally own?

    • Harlander says:

      I don’t know if buying something with some music in counts as buying that music as well.

      Software’s been vended under the “you buy a license to this, not the thing itself” model for quite a while anyway.

    • Carr0t says:

      Modern EULAs, if you actually go and read them, show that you haven’t actually purchased and do not legally own the content on the disk/in the install directory. You own nothing except a *license*, granted to you by the publisher, to make use of said content specifically to play the expected game, and the publisher and/or developer are within their rights to change what content your license grants you access to. The only reason for the disk to exist is as a handy means to deliver the *expected* content to you as fast as possible, but if that expected content is present on said disk but then for whatever reason you and everyone else are denied access to it (as long as you can still play the rest of the game, and it’s certain minor bits that are being denied to you) that’s all good and legal, if a complete dick-move.

      • Kodaemon says:

        If you actually go and research the legality of those EULAs in the EU, for example, they don’t mean jack shit.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          If you actually go and read the EULAs, you may never buy another game.

          • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            If you actually go and understand the EULAs, you may gleefully force your head on to a sharpened chair leg until your abused brain-matter slides down the blood-slick wood.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            If you actually go and read the EULAs and complain about them enough, you will force Rockstar to sell out to Microsoft.

          • Shadowcat says:

            If you actually go and read the EULAs, the lawyers sacrifice another goat to their dark god, and dance naked amongst the entrails.

      • Yglorba says:

        It’s important to point out that while they can say that, the courts are divided on the enforceability of EULAs; claiming in the fine print that you’re just selling a license and not a product, while marketing it in every way as if it were a product, doesn’t necessarily mean that the courts will agree with you.

        (The core problem is that they want it to count as just ‘buying a license’ for legal purposes while treating it as if they’re selling a physical product in every other way. In this respect I think it’s important for consumers to remain in the mindset that they’re buying a product and to push back against any attempts to normalize the idea of just paying for a license — because if that ever does go away to the point where they can just say the courts “hey, reasonable people know they’re just getting a license”, the legal issues go away for them. And I think that that would, overall, be bad for customers.)

        So it’s important to think of the software you buy as a product you own, and to recognize that click-through text doesn’t necessarily have the legal weight the people who wrote it want it to.

        And, more generally, regardless of the legal issues — companies want people to value the things they sell, so if there’s a big hue-and-cry every time something like this happens, they’re often going to back down and try to avoid it in the future. It’s certainly not in the best interests of Steam or Rockstar for people to start questioning how much they own the software they buy, because then they’re not going to be willing to pay as much for it.

      • PearlChoco says:

        So by that reasoning, they can remove 99% of the game you ‘licenced’, leaving you only with the main menu and the options screen, and they’re completely within their rights because you didn’t ‘own’ the software?

        What they did was completely illegal and stuff like that could be a reason for me to NOT buy GTA5 anymore.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          They can remove 100% of the license.

          It’s that simple. They never “guarantee” anything. If you have used it, you are not (in their eyes) due a refund either.

          Oh, an entire countries worth of customers taking them to court may move the goal posts slightly, but don’t hold your breath.

          Same goes for music/movies, we never “owned” it recently.

      • baozi says:

        That’s not a lot different from physical books though, is it? You own the physical part of the book, not its content. Photocopying is illegal.

        It’s the same with music and movies, basically everything that comes on a disk. And since nowadays even retail copies of games are often bound to online services, it’s not so much physical vs digital, I think. The only difference is if what you bought needs to phone home for activation – if only once – which is why Steam is DRM regardless of third party DRM imo: if they can take away your access, it’s DRM.

        Which is why GOG is nice. It’s regrettable that the Humble Store became more of a Steam reseller instead of following GOG’s path.

        • solidsquid says:

          You can resell a physical book, but a game which you’ve licenced you probably don’t have a right to do that because it’s not something you’ve technically purchased

          • Emeraude says:

            You do. You don’t even need the copy to be physical:

            link to

          • baozi says:

            Ok, probably a bad example. I was thinking more about intellectual property rights than any thing else, probably because I’ve never sold a game on a disk before. And now that I buy my games digitally…well, regardless of anyone’s opinion on how things ought to be, selling a game bought on Steam isn’t possible at the moment anyway.

        • elderman says:

          That’s not a lot different from physical books though, is it? You own the physical part of the book, not its content. Photocopying is illegal.

          This is a bugbear of mine. Of course photocopying is perfectly legal by default.

          It’s true that in many places, it’s illegal to photocopy large portions of works that are protected by copyright that you have paid for the right to copy. But that’s not true for all works, for all works protected by copyright, or in all places. Photocopying works not protected by copyright, or ones you have the right to copy, or small portions for private use, or doing it in places where copyright isn’t enforced by law is perfectly legal.

          I find many of my younger friends seem to have the impression that copying is usually wrong and/or illegal. Schools seem to reinforce this impression through their academic honesty policies. I think it’s better to think of copying as mostly the engine of creation and legal, except in specific cases.

          More on topic, I’d love to know why these songs were pulled. I assume Rockstar only bought rights to these songs for a limited time and couldn’t renew the license. If that’s true, it’s obvious why the song were pulled from new copies of San Andreas. I wonder if they were forced to pull them from copies they already sold access to, or if it’s a matter having a right to store the song on Steam servers, or a question of only wanting to serve one copy of the games or what.

          • baozi says:

            Not all software is copyrighted either, but I guess this was more about the majority that is

            Also, yes, back to topic, I think it’s disingenuous to release a patch that removes things without telling the user before installing the patch

          • P.Funk says:

            “I find many of my younger friends seem to have the impression that copying is usually wrong and/or illegal. Schools seem to reinforce this impression through their academic honesty policies. I think it’s better to think of copying as mostly the engine of creation and legal, except in specific cases.”

            This is very true. It seems to me that part of the modern trend to try and alter the perception of creative rights and secure a more arbitrary hold on things via the intellectual property movement has been focused around schools. The paranoia about copying and the rather mindless way that administrations use their zero tolerance policies on everything under the sun has a strong effect on people’s attitudes.

            In general I find it very obnoxious how willing people seem to be with respect to surrendering their personal rights as consumers, students, what have you. I think this attitude softens somewhat when you spend some time in post secondary however as anyone who’s ever written a lengthy research paper knows that there is a significant amount of copying going on, either typing into your paper or end notes directly from the source or more sensibly (for the purposes of saving your neck and back from strain) photocopying wholesale the relevant chapters.

            Libraries have photocopiers for a reason. In many respects I think the notion that copying is bad is almost done in a way where its merely the language and the format of the thing being twisted while those same people who are averse to it still practice it in other forms. That is to say that we’ve been told that photocopying from physical books is sin but copy pasting or printing whole sections off a computer is less so since we’ve all been in schools that have murdered their art budget to buy an annual iteration of those lousy PCs or Macs they get you to use for typing class and silly career planning nonsense.

            In general though the modern attitude that is proliferating about copying and creativity… bothers me. Its so out of step with pretty much the last few thousand years of human society. Its like my Jazz band teacher said, all great musicians steal from each other. Can you imagine the jazz greats trying to claim infringement on their intellectual property because someone stole a lick from a solo he played 3 years earlier in Amsterdam?

      • solidsquid says:

        Putting aside the question of whether EULAs are enforcable, with most contracts if one side changes the service provided in a detrimental way it allows for immediate cancellation without penalty on th part of the purchaser and, since this was a perpetual licence, probably a full refund. Doesn’t matter how *significant* the change was, just that it was detrimental, and this almost always trumps anything the contract says

        • P.Funk says:

          This is definitely going on my list of “things I would do/pursue if I were a mad billionaire with too much free time.”

    • Grendael says:

      Absolutely no research into my reply, but it’s something to do with not actually owning the game. If buy from steam its a permanent license or loan or something.

      • Harlander says:

        It’s the same for stuff you buy on disk, not just Steam. It’s just that a digital download provider that has automatic updates as Steam does can do this kind of selective removal of parts of the software.

        This sort of thing has happened with ebook readers as well…

        • Gargenville says:

          I suppose music licensing is so common they have (restrictive) standardized contracts so it might be different but when Sega/Sumo lost the Ferrari rights for Outrun they just lost the rights to sell new copies of the game. It vanished from the storefront and later on lost its online functionality but anyone who already owned it can play it to this day, prancing horses and all.

          (I don’t really get why they don’t just slap in the Hornet, the Gale Racer car and maybe a Ridge Racer cameo or two and sell that on Steam/nexgen boxes considering they have the relatively modern Outrun C2C PC codebase to work off of because I’d be absolutely delighted to pay them thirty bucks for that.)

        • thenevernow says:

          So many people fail to understand this. You always buy a limited license, you don’t own anything. The difference is in how enforceable the terms are. No one will raid your house to take away a book, but Amazon will delete it from your Kindle account. While this obviously sucks, it doesn’t change the underlying concepts of licensing and limited rights.

    • neems says:

      In the EU at least, you absolutely do own the content of the game. The EULA could claim that the game is a blow up sex doll that eats souls if it wants, it doesn’t make it true. The game is yours, and Rockstar have removed content from it, which is basically theft. The real issue is whether anybody can be arsed to do anything about it, as it might require a court hearing to enforce.

      • Optimaximal says:

        In the EU at least, you absolutely do own the content of the game.

        No, you don’t. That would imply IP transfer… You are purchasing a license that grants the right to listen/watch/play the game. It’s fundamentally that and no court of law would argue otherwise – it’s Rockstar’s product, like anything else you buy. In other news, yes, the toothpaste you bought from the supermarket is a consumable that you are paying for, but it’s still owned (in a product sense) by Proctor & Gamble.

        What the EU would protect against would be Rockstar removing features from the product that render it unusable (essentially taking the product away from you) without prior agreement and/or making attempts to fix problems or offer a replacement item.

        • Emeraude says:

          In the sense in which you’re using “own”, even Rockstar doesn’t own the game. What Rockstar has is the temporary exclusivity to the making of copies of their work for the purpose of profit.

          They don’t own the content anymore than anyone. No one does. It’s still for now illegal to own ideas.

          In the same sense, what you owned with a copy is the right to free access to the content of your copy. That has been removed without negotiation, and with no proper compensation.

          Edit: Removed the mention to “physical” copies, as the EU court decided that “the principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website.”.

        • Cinek says:

          That would imply IP transfer… – no, it wouldn’t. You can own a product but not it’s IP. Just like if you own an iPhone you don’t own any of the IP behind it.

    • drewski says:

      Well, how it works is that Rockstar do whatever they want, Valve let them, and you either don’t have the power or inclination to challenge them.

      • grable says:

        My challenge to rockstar is that i will from now on start pirating all their games. No more money from me!

        • Dale Winton says:

          I don’t think this gives you the right to steal their games. Hopefully they do use that DRM that you can’t pirate

          • ScubaMonster says:

            What is this mysterious DRM that won’t allow you to pirate? DRM will always be cracked.

    • wikidd says:

      If you take a look at the Steam Subscriber Agreement, you’ll notice we actually buy licenses for software on Steam. What Steam sells is “subscriptions”.

      • thenevernow says:

        I don’t want to spam the page with a thousand posts, but that is always the case. Even if you bought a Jimi Hendrix vinyl in the 60s, you bought a piece of… vinyl and a limited license. You don’t own anything but the frisbee.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    Could someone more competent and eloquent than I post a screen shattering rant about the current state of intelectual property laws and their absolute unadulterated arseness?

    Because why on earth would Rockstar remove some of the the most high profile songs to save space on the mobile versions?
    Bah! Humbug.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      It had nothing to do with saving space. They have to license the songs again for a port on a new platform and weren’t able to get the rights to some for whatever reason. Vice City had the same issue (if you buy the PC version now, it’s got music pulled but if you owned it from before you have a version that includes those songs.)

    • frymaster says:

      to add to the other reply: new sales from now on can’t use the older music. Sales already made are perfectly entitled to keep using the music.

      The problem is, in what seems to be a fit of laziness, rockstar have seen fit to maintain one version of the game and delete content from pre-existing customers, rather than create a separate version with the reduced playlist for sales going forward and leaving everyone else alone.

      • zarnywoop says:

        This is probably one of unintended consequences. The fact they have updated an older version of the game code, as the patch removed the 1920×1080 resolution in game, which had previously been added in to the game in a previous patch.

        They probably thought “hey, we’ll update the steam files for when people buy the game going forward” totally forgetting that the same Steam files are applied to all existing copies of the game. The Vice City situation shows that it was possible to have Steam maintain two separate steam id codes for the game.

  3. Dodj33 says:

    i thought Rockstar was above such Douchbaggery

    • Kodaemon says:

      This is the same Rockstar that made the PC port of GTA IV a complete mess that hasn’t been fixed to this day, refused to give us *any* port of RDR and shat on Max Payne. This news just killed the last bit of trust I had in the company.

      • Mordaedil says:

        These reasons are why I am mystified why people are still crazy about Rockstar anymore. They’ve changed a lot as a company, not just with the content of their games, but also their respect for the customers. They used to be on the forefront, which is why people bothered standing behind them when Jack Thompson went on his insanity crusade, but now they are just acting batshit insane. They didn’t have to patch GTA:SA at all.

        I feel the same way about Blizzard, but people are being insanely trusting in that category too.


          Rockstar are the kids who were the coolest about a decade ago, but were so high on their own success that they never realized everyone else followed on their footsteps and massively improved on everything they did, so even though they keep doing the same things and thinking of themselves as rebels they’re pretty much a traditional legacy now. I could probably find a rock band to compare them to if I ever listened to everything other than video game soundtracks and British women singing about drowing to violins.

      • aldo_14 says:

        The GTA4 port was god awful, but surely ‘refused to give us a port’ implies an overly active sense of entitlement, surely?

        It’s not like they’re duty bound to port everything they make onto every other platform, after all. And I’m pretty sure they never even suggested RDR was due for PC, so they didn’t break a promise to port it either.

        • Harlander says:

          Well, not really.

          I mean, obviously it’s their choice to produce a port or not, but if they don’t, they’ve still refused to do so.

          Props for saying “sense of entitlement”, though.

          • Astroman says:

            Good thing Rockstar’s not entitled to my money because they sure as hell won’t be getting it anymore.

          • Yglorba says:

            I’m not sure when entitlement became a bad thing.

            You should feel entitled! A sense of entitlement is the only thing that ever made anything better in this godforsaken world. Decide what you want and speak out and keep a firm grip on it.

            I think almost everyone is entitled to good games and a world where they’re happy. It doesn’t mean that we’ll always get it, because the world is unfair and full of compromises, but this relentless cynicism and this constant pressure for people to give up on their rights and hopes and dreams by dismissing them as ‘entitlements’ is bullshit.

            I mean, this is just a small, trivial thing, but I think it’s totally fair for people to feel entitled to a world where businesses behave rationally and offer good products; and to be disappointed when the world fails to live up to that standard, even in small ways. Dismissing that disappointment as ‘entitlement’ is bull.

            You are entitled to everything. As one of my favorite writers put it: There are some things which you can never have. There are some things you can never do. Never learn these limits. Never accept them. You are a Lord or Lady of this earth.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Entitlement is like oxygen; it’s generally a good thing, and if you don’t have enough of it you should try to get more of it because your life will suck if you’re not getting enough, but if you have too much of it you should seek to have less of it or you’ll burst into flames.

      • Tacroy says:

        To be fair, from what I’ve heard the RDR codebase is such a gnarled, console-optimized mess that they’ve decided it would be financially unfeasible to port it to PC, since they’d have to re-write large chunks of the game’s infrastructure..

    • Great Cthulhu says:

      Rockstar have been douchebags to pc gamers ever since GTA3. The pc versions of their games are always late, poorly-optimized, and with substandard controls. GTA4 added crap DRM and constant nagging for a “Rockstar Social Club” account to that as well.

    • elderman says:

      Rockstar should explain themselves. It’s possible they couldn’t renew the licenses for these songs and because of Steam’s legal/technical model were forced to pull the songs.

      Or maybe not, but it’d be good to know the reason why.

  4. Shar_ds says:

    Worth noting, GTA San Andreas was released on Oct 26th 2004. 10-year licenses are not uncommon things….

    N.B. Rockstar will only have licensed the music from the publishers, if the legal teams determine that Rockstar have to make all due effort to remove those songs from their product once the term is up, then pulling the songs from the next update for the game is unsurprising.

    • SuperTim says:

      What is surprising, is that even though they know this for years, they couldn’t tell people in advance they were going to remove them (and they do this by hiding it in a patch), and people have to figure this out by reverse-engineering???

      That is truly a great way to treat your customers lol.

    • Ed Burst says:

      It’s a bit surprising.
      “Hey, instead of selling them the rights to put this music in their game, let’s sell them the rights to put this music in the game temporarily, but require them to remove the music from the game in ten years time.”
      “How does that benefit us?”
      “We could charge the games company more money in ten years time to renew the rights!”
      “But since they won’t want to pay to maintain an obsolete game, won’t that require them to confiscate millions of DVDs they’ve already sold to people and replace them with new DVDs with different music?”
      “I’m sure by then technology will have made it possible for them to vandalize games over the internet.”
      “So everyone wins!”

      • Shar_ds says:

        The language will be about what is “realistically possible” and about how hard the lawyers from either side are willing to fight for it.

        It’s a curious thing as for most games in the past it won’t have been a problem. Once the license has expired it would be a contract breach for the publisher to sell any more games into the channel, but there’ll be exceptions for games that are already out there at distributors or retailers. But 10 years down the line, the vast majority of video games are dead. Or at least they were, until digital distribution and remastering became a thing.

        There’ll be a few lawyers making a good chunk of change from negotiating deals that were set up for a physical only release but for which are now primarily sold digitally!

  5. Stardog says:

    I have the DVD version. Haha.

  6. drewski says:

    I knew there would one day be an advantage to having the disc version!

  7. Cinek says:

    What’s up with these “downgrades” of a games through patches recently? First Watch Dogs, now this? I really hope it doesn’t shape into some… worrisome trend.

    • Dale Winton says:

      Watch dogs downgrade? If you mean the e3 thing that’s completely different

      • Cinek says:

        No, I mean the patch that removed visuals modding capability.

        • frymaster says:

          I’m not aware that modding was ever a feature of watchdogs

          • kevmscotland says:

            Not sure why everyone has to be a smart ass.

            No, your right, its not a feature but going out of their way to ensure it can’t be modded arguably is a feature, even if its not one that makes a bulletpoint on the back of the box.

  8. dare says:

    Not that I’m really surprised at something like this, since Steam makes it possible. However it does make me consider even more closely whether I want to purchase stuff on Steam if there’s an alternateive available. Fortunately nearly all the Personally Important To Me games I that own (yes, own, EULA nitpickers can go gently caress themselves) are outside of Steam or any other remote administrated system anyway.

    As for Rockstar, good move, convinced me not to buy your games. Not that it would have been a big risk anyway.

  9. Kitsunin says:

    Sad to say, but, this is exactly why it’s a good thing piracy exists.

    • Monggerel says:

      If I’m not mistaken, San Andreas is the most heavily pirated piece of media there ever was.

      Well… um… a friend… told me.

  10. Bodylotion says:

    Perhaps this was a cheaper solution for Rockstar. I never heard of them removing the music in GTA 3 or Vice City. Also what about movies? It’s not like they cut the tracks from movies.

    Edit: Perhaps the music in GTA 3/Vice City was old enough for them to keep the licens but I still think it’s all a bit weird.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I believe replacing licensed music with other tracks is semi-common in re-releases and rebroadcasts of film and television stuff where licenses have expired and it’s not considered worth negotiating and paying for a new one.

      The crucial difference being that nobody comes into your home and raids your DVD cabinet to replace them.

      Yet. On-demand movie streaming services are probably already making some people go “DVD cabinets? How passé!”.

      I dread to think how the legal tangle actually works out for when games are technically distributed under a subscription service like Steam, especially if you treat the local install as no more than a cache for efficiency.

      • Zaxwerks says:

        Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of BBC TV series which I then bought on DVD and some of the background music had changed.

      • Jac says:

        A while back I was hunting for hitman: contracts and couldn’t find it anywhere on a download site. Did a bit of digging and apparantly it was related to music licence or something.

        No idea how this all works – I would have thought that if you agree to your music being in a game and get paid either upfront or via royalty then that would be that.

        Also why is this a sizeable update?? Controller support and removal of songs?? Did they replace them with CD quality silence?

        • Baines says:

          When you agree to your music being in a game, you don’t just give your music to the publisher. The licenses are fairly specific, with various conditions.

          And do not forget how the game industry has changed over the years. There are re-releases, “Greatest Hits”, “Game of the Year”, PC ports of console titles, HD versions, next gen ports, backwards compatibility/emulation ports, and the like. We also went from from physical media to digital downloads to DRM digital downloads with automatic updates. Online stores selling digital downloads made the idea of continuing to sell your back catalog practical. We’ve even had forays into streaming and cloud computing. Licensing deals were made without knowledge of what future release options would become available.

          Rockstar most likely got the music rights to the game that they were making at the time. They didn’t get the music rights for a mobile version that they hadn’t even conceived of at the time and wouldn’t release until a decade later. Rockstar probably hadn’t even thought about still selling San Andreas a decade later.

          Of course as bad as the music industry is, you know video game publishers would similarly abuse any such advantage that they could find.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Yeah, IIRC it was over the Clutch song “Immortal” that you hear in the biker club. The game is available digitally now, with the song still in. So the legal issues got sorted out.

      • Jimmy says:

        Once upon a time you could choose to disable updates in Steam and STILL get to play the game. Now it will force you to update before you can load it up. Yet another erosion of customer rights to access content after purchasing a product.

        Sure you can get a pirate copy but that is just a workaround. The problem will still exist and the ideal would be not to have enforced updates(/insertion of adverts/scan of your drive/service coercion) inserted into our recta by being able to opt out (or even better, opt in for updates as the standard).

        • udat says:

          Is that a new thing? How does that impact games like Vampire where you have to mod the thing to make it playable, and then disable updates to stop Steam from nuking the mod?

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Haven’t had to try it yet, fortunately, but I THINK you can run a game in offline mode without having to update it.

          • Jimmy says:

            Since 2013, I think, or at least when I noticed, and the few complaints I have just googled are from around then. Basically, you can select “do not update”, but that just means “do not update automatically” as you will be locked out of the game regardless. Whether it affects a particular game depends on the developers themselves, who chose to push the patch in the first place.

    • Iain_1986 says:

      If you were to rerelease a film, or release a new Directors Cut, Anniversary edition DVD or the like then yes, they would have to potentially relicense the music depending on the deal they made at the time. I believe this has resulted in some movies having tracks removed.

      Even if you broadcast in different countries, music licensing can be a nightmare. Its one of the reasons videos can be region locked in YouTube for example. I personally often notice music in shows like Top Gear are sometimes different form their BBC broadcast, than the version that appears on BBC America/Dave.

      It appears…releasing an update to a game counts as “rereleasing”…or at least it did in their music contract.

      Its a bit shitty, but at the same time, I can’t blame them for not predicting this situation back when they made those contracts

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Vice City actually has tracks removed in the mobile port and on steam if you bought it after a certain date.

      GTA 3 also lost one or two songs.

  11. Zaxwerks says:

    Unfortunately we are a victim of how Steam digital downloads work. The publishers only license the music for a set period of time after which they can no longer sell/distribute the product with the copyright music in. Because the license has expired they have to remove the music for NEW buyers, but the way Steam works means that there is only one game file for the game so if they remove the music as they must for new purchases it also removes the music for customers that have already bought it.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Actually this didn’t apply to Vice City or GTA 3 as steam just has multiple entries per game.

      San Andreas lost the music for everyone either due to licensing terms or Rockstar only wanting to maintain one version.

      Edit: the weird part is that SA isn’t even for sale on steam anymore.

  12. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    Yea, next thing pull out Samuel L Jackson voiceacting

  13. gabrielonuris says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Rockstar CHARGED his customers AGAIN to put back those tracks into the game, in a form of paid patch/DLC. Then you EULA suckers could take your meekness somewhere else.

  14. SanguineAngel says:

    I think this is pretty disgusting to be honest.

    It’s not something I usually do (especially as my copy of the game is for PS2 in this case so unaffected) however, I have contacted Rockstar.

    If anyone wants to do the same they can do so here: link to

  15. solidsquid says:

    This really doesn’t make sense. Why on earth would they purchase a temporary licence for the music (and why would the publishers sell them one) when they’re selling something which they technically don’t control whether they can stop it from broadcasting that media? It would make more sense if they’d put the songs in *without* a licence, or if they’d had their licence terminated due to misuse and a court order was issued, but the idea that they would be *able* to buy a fixed duration licence for what would, in many cases, be a perpetual product, just seems ludicrous

    • drewski says:

      Yet it’s how licensing works.

      You can probably buy licenses in perpetuity but they would be more expensive. Presumably it never occurred to Rockstar that San Andreas would still be on sale ten years in the future, so they didn’t buy a longer license. Then indefinite digital distribution and mobile gaming popped up and, well, here we are.

  16. dangermouse76 says:

    It is also worth noting I ripped all the original audio off GTA San Andreas years ago to put on my media player. Take that world !
    I assume they exist in other more nefarious forms online to,the damage can be repaired is what I am getting at. It sucks these deals remove content from the game and I will certainly be making my voice known that degrading “my game ” is not on.
    We need people with some cash to mount a proper stand in the EU courts for the case of game ownership and the rights that should be protected within that as a consumer.

    The law is not clear, which indicates to me that there is a case to answer potentially.

  17. Kuuppa says:

    This is why I’m against using popular music in games. Or any music that was not created specifically for the games in question. There are too many licensing issues. These issues tend to cause games to be withdrawn from digital distribution, and in best cases like this, to be made worse afterwards. And there is nothing us consumers can do about it except stop buying those games.

    Developers should only accept this kind of deals if they can get permanent rights to sell their games with the music they licensed. And if music industry doesn’t like it, well, it is their problem. It really should be that simple.

    • zarnywoop says:

      The same thing happens with old TV shows or films which had licenced music in them, but DVDs didnt exist then so it wasnt part of the license agreement, so when those old tv shows get released on dvd box sets, they end up with generic music in place of the original song used – often killing the artistic mood of the scene or whatever – Or, they just never get released at all.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Even more strange, IIRC Halo remastered had to redo the music, as they only got the licence for it’s OWN made music for the original game… whoops.

  18. Laurentius says:

    This is really hilarious/tragic. People jump on Rockstar too eager to keep themselves blind of the true villan here: STEAM. Somehow I don’t see SONY chasing those milions copies of GTA:SA sold on PS2 and fixing them for Rockstar. Valve’s screwing their customers over like there is no tommorow nad that’s somehow ok.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      What’s really hilarious/tragic is that you are blaming Steam for how the music industry works.

      • lorddon says:

        I think most people are setting their sights too low. Copyright law has gotten more and more ridiculous over the years and with the TPP looking to be pushed through back rooms with no oversight, we can only expect more insanity in the future.

      • ghling says:

        He has a valid point there. Not only did Steam made that behavior possible, what I have read is that you didn’t had any chance of avoiding that patch on steam. Forcing an update like that without letting you decide which version of the game you want to play is actually a bad thing, especially as you show your milk cows what power you have.
        After having read the first mentions of this update, i checked out the update settings for the game in steam and the only options are “update immediately” or “update when starting the game”. I’m pretty sure there was a time when you had the option to not update a certain steam game.

    • Laurentius says:

      But why is Steam’s screwing over their customers ? I don’t see SONY or retailers doing shady jobs for Rockstar or music industry. “That was your product, now you want it to put away form shelves and replaced with a new one, fine, but don’t expect us to chase those millions now “illigal” copies that are circulating the world”, yet STEAM eagarly just did that.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I don’t see SONY[…] doing shady jobs for Rockstar or music industry.

        Wait, Sony? As in “lets put a rootkit on this cd” Sony?
        Lets face it, they only reason they’re not taking DVDs off people is because it’s basically impossible, and it won’t make them any money.
        Steam on the other hand provide an auto updating services for companies like Rockstar to use, and rarely get involved with how it’s used. Not to mention, if they annoy Rockstar too much, they might not get to sell GTAV and thus not make moneys.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Good luck then getting that said game on PSN+ etc.

      Your comparing apples (physical media) with oranges (downloads). While Steam is a download service, rockstar can (and did) use their own also (and GFWL and could use anyone else). So it’s “all download services with DRM” or none. Steams one of many who fall fowl to this.

  19. MadTinkerer says:

    Soooo… If Rockstar no longer have the rights to certain music tracks because the licenses expired, does that mean that new videos made with the old versions are no longer exempt from being content-id’d? That particular software doesn’t have a current license for that music, so that’s unlicensed music. And can the content id system probably is incapable of determining which version of a videogame is running from a video.

    So I wonder how many old GTA videos are going to disappear because they use music which was licensed to Rockstar at the time of recording but is no longer licensed?

    This is why I will never work with licensed music.

  20. sinister agent says:

    Another reason to avoid systems that try to force me to update games whether I want to or not.


  21. ansionnach says:

    Doesn’t matter a damn about what any agreement or copyright law says: those who’ve bought the game on disc don’t have to worry about this. Simple solution for anyone who doesn’t like what’s happened: don’t use Steam or any similar auto-updating online DRM.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Some of us have no choice in the matter, I still remember when, before there was the internet, I had to wait THREE MONTHS to get a legitimate copy of X-wing: Collector’s CD-rom from my local computer & games shop.

      Living on a small island sucks.

      • ansionnach says:

        Too bad. Not much choice here either but you can get physical copies of games from across the water with free delivery (within a week). I often find prices are lower than Steam unless they’re discounted heavily in a sale.

        Remember getting X-Wing and Tie Fighter on disc years ago and being disappointed that they were the Windows versions. Lucasarts swapped them for the DOS CD version so I could play it on my old 486. None of this took months for me, though!

        There’s always gog. They haven’t pinched anything back from me yet. If they change their minds about this, at least you can keep your downloaded version. Don’t like the sound of their new auto-update system – hopefully it doesn’t turn into a DRM-alike in the same way they eventually did introduce regional pricing.

        As far as I’m concerned it’s fair enough to crack something once you’ve bought it. Probably only a solution for single-player games so maybe a consumer revolt would make Valve and companies like Rockstar sit up and take notice?

        • Det. Bullock says:

          Unfortunately not everything is on (and I bought LOADS of stuff there), but there are a lot of interesting things that are steam-only or, worse yet (and luckly more rarely), Origin only (I’m looking at you Mass Effect 3) or Uplay only (until now I managed to avoid it).

          And besides that most phisical copies nowadays still require registration and Steam at least doesn’t break your disk drives or make the game unplayable because the protection decides not to work, I have never completed Rayman 2 because of faulty cd checks.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Simple solution for anyone who doesn’t like what’s happened: don’t use Steam or any similar auto-updating online DRM.

      This does, however, cut you off from basically all “AAA” gaming.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Pretty big percentage of it, at least. I don’t exactly love a lot of what Steam does, but yknow what? I like playing games. So if I have to get it through Steam, I’ll damned well use Steam.

        • airmikee says:

          Same. Steam is still the largest, most convenient, easy to use “Lesser of Lots of Evils”. I love GOG, which isn’t in the group of evil video game manipulators, but I don’t want to wait until 2022 to try Civ:BE, so I will pick it up on Steam.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Well, for what it’s worth I bet that by then it’ll have three expansions worth of content, all the bugs ironed out (by patches or by mods), weird mods doing weird stuff, and it’ll only cost like 49.99 yuan.

  22. SigmaCAT says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t really care because they didn’t take the good songs out?

    • yan spaceman says:

      … there’s not much on the list that I’ll cry about. Anyways, mine’s a physical copy and doesn’t SA have the ‘your own mp3s’ station? I don’t think it does, does it?. I can’t remember.

      Is the new Steam music player eventually going to be able to play your own mp3s? … and is there much benefit system resource-wise to using the Steam player rather than VLC?

      • SigmaCAT says:

        I too have the boxed version, and I really think it does have this “your own mp3s” station. Didn’t play a lot, but I thought the hip-hop station offered some phat beats? At least Guru’s dialogue is still there!

        About the steam player, regarding the trouble it has organising the civ 5 sounds, I’m afraid it’s going to keep a lot of people at bay for a while.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      I dunno, the lack of Tom Petty is one thing – I can live without it, but “Runnin’ Down A Dream” was a great fit on the soundtrack.

      No James Brown, though? That’s ridiculous. What do they play in the casino now?

  23. Artificial says:

    This doesn’t sit well with me at all for two reasons.

    1. The music in SA is partly what made the game so enjoyable for me. Taking that away, takes away some of the reasons that I’d go back and play it again.

    2. I don’t like that games on Steam can just be patched automatically to remove / add content, essentially changing the product that you paid for. yes, I’m sure it’s all covered in the EULA, but it’s bullshit. I’ll have to start thinking twice about Steam being my go to place to buy games, even where it’s not required.

    PS: Is 1 step forward 2 steps back still included? Driving through the desert and country with that song playing was an absolute blast.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      You can find the song list here – it’s supposed to be identical to the iOS version.

      And yes, it is, in a word, bullshit. Steam’s become a retailer with too many strings attached for me to consider full-price purchases from them. The convenience they offer isn’t worth the influence they can exert over purchases I’ve already made.

  24. TechnicalBen says:

    Take all the content, butcher balance in updates… but you will rue (spell?) the day you broke save compatibility!!!

  25. TTex says:

    Not only is my version of San Andreas a non-steam one, it’s also an original release-day Hot Coffee intact copy. Does that make it a collector’s item?

  26. SlimShanks says:

    Rockstar to customers, in the voice of Carl Johnson, “This is a robbery, don’t make it a homicide!”

  27. airmikee says:

    Just another example that reinforces my decision to move all of my Rockstar games on Steam into a special ‘Crap’ category that stays minimized. The few dollars I’ve spent on their ‘Crap’ now serves as a cheap lesson to avoid giving that worthless company another penny.

  28. derbefrier says:

    reading through these comments…am i the only one who thinks people are grossly over reacting to a few songs getting deleted? I mean its not like it really affects gameplay and not renewing the rights for some songs for a 10 year old game seems hardly surprising. I dunno seems like people are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. also has anyone considered maybe Rockstar isnt to blame? maybe the owners tried to jack up the price or something to an unreasonable amount thinking they would have to pay since its already in the game if they wanted to contnue selling it. Its not like record excecs are known for their honesty and integrity…also why are people shitting on steam how are they involved in this in anyway? WTF is wrong with you people?

    • airmikee says:

      I don’t get the hate directed towards Steam either, their only crime is creating the digital marketplace that allows publishers to control video games without user input long after purchase. But the hate directed towards Rockstar is well deserved, and this insidious, blatant abuse of Steams update system is simply par for the course for that wretched corporate whore.

      • one2fwee says:

        What are you talking about? Valve are just as much to blame – the whole concept of Steam’s auto-patching is designed to take control away from the consumer.
        You no longer have control over which version of the game you run, especially if you buy it after a certain patch has been released. With retail, this is obviously not the case.

        The whole issue is distributors (Valve) and publishers / developers taking control away from consumers, in order to have 100% control over what version of the game you will play. This allows them to censor things, remove content, disable buggy (yet preferential) features in a later patch which strips down the game etc.

        It would be incredibly easy for them to have the base game download for you and then allow you to CHOOSE which patches you apply to it, which then download themselves.

        This is not an isolated issue and it’s a criminally under-looked one.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          No, the “whole concept” of Steam’s auto-patching is to keep your games up-to-date in the most convenient way possible. That is, in fact, what Steam was designed to do (for Counter Strike). Incidents like this are an occasional negative side-effect of that system, which should certainly factor into a cost/benefit analysis of using Steam.

          But acting like Steam exists only to control you and your games is absurd. Thus far, the number of games I’ve had goofed up by Steam (1 out of nearly 300) pales in comparison to the number of lost/scratched/broken discs I dealt with in the so-called idyllic days of yore, so I’m pretty happy to put up with a little bit of bullshit from time to time in exchange for such a vast improvement in accessibility.

          It would be nice if this hadn’t happened, and it would really be nice if Steam offered legacy version support in general, but it’s hardly a case of the evil corporation trying to bully consumers — it’s just some unforeseen consequences of a generally good system.

        • P.Funk says:

          You’re framing the issue hysterically all wrong. The issue is that this is the price we pay for having an actively managed digital distribution system. Steam is as much obliged to make these changes as Rockstar is, assuming this is a matter of license termination, and to act like its an insidious plot is misunderstanding the problem.

          The problem is that as consumers we’ve lashed ourselves to a ship that will sail on with or without our consent, as it should be. Its a business and it has lawyers and lots of money and market share for them to defend. The last thing you will ever see a successful business do is worry about silly internet people’s feelings over one 10 year old game being retconned to be slightly less culturally imbued when the only alternative, for Steam at least, is to risk having those music industry lawyers start crawling up their well financed backsides claiming all sorts of extravagant and expensive transgressions.

          Its not evil, its just business, which is naturally not something we can rely on to be on the consumer’s side, not unless we choose to intelligently make foul odours about certain things. We can affect how a vendor such as Steam might respond to things. Its always going to be a push and pull, between the consumers and the producers to get the middle man to work for either or both.

          Valve isn’t your friend, and they never will be, but they are valuable to your lifestyle and shopping habits as a gamer, for the most part. There will be costs to associating with them, as there always are with throwing in with one giant over a multitude of complex and convoluted web of service providers as the alternative.

          Bottom line. We make Valve rich. Music industry lawsuits make developers and publishers poor. Valve has to balance both of them to keep itself clean and profitable. Push back, but don’t expect irrational actions against self interest. If you really want to see change in this particular situation then you need to start further back and well beyond this situation, seeking to change the underlying laws and the overall culture of how we approach the notion of licensing content such as music. Not something that’ll be altered much by joining one or two anti-Valve/anti-EMI-Sony steam user groups.

          Bloody hell.

        • airmikee says:

          It might be easy for them to implement that feature, but they’re not in the market to cater to the whims of a very small minority of the gaming population that cares about being able to play an un-updated version of a game. And as ResonanceCascade mentioned, in ten years I’ll still be able to play the games I’m purchasing on Steam, whereas most of the games I purchased on disc ten years ago are just gone, lost, destroyed, damaged, stolen, whatever happened, I have only a dozen discs of the dozens of dozens of games I have purchased over the decades.

          I’ve never heard of Valve censoring a video game they didn’t publish, is that just hyperbole to make your point? I’ve also never heard of Valve removing content from a video game they didn’t publish, while I have read about developers and publishers removing content from a video game. I really couldn’t care less about your “preferential buggy features”, I call them what they really are, “exploits.” And no game has ever been stripped down to the bare bones long after release, ever, by anyone in the history of video games. You’ve got a wild imagination, but nothing close to resembling anything factual or realistic.

          Thousands of video games on Steam, and only one has the update feature abused by its publisher. This is hardly an indictment of Steam, or its update system, though it says a lot about Rockstar, and none of it good.

          • one2fwee says:

            It’s completely an indictment of Steam as Steam is deliberately designed to give developers control over your games long after they have been released.

            And nice smug straw man setup – i did not say anything about Valve censoring or removing content from other developers’ games. Obviously i was referring to the developers changing them themselves.

            There is NO DECENT consumer benefit to forced patching. The only way it can benefit you is if you are too lazy to manually install a patch yourself. And if you can’t do that then i seriously worry. In fact getting steam to update a game can take far longer as the patching process can be very unoptimised to the point of the developers saying “we don’t know what files the user might have changed, so best make them download all the content again”.
            A normal patch for a game obviously doesn’t do that. So auto-patching can even take longer. But i suppose it doesn’t require user input right, so hooray for extreme laziness.

            As for people complaining about all their old CDs – you do know you can easily back up your CD images to your computer and then you basically have your own version of Steam anyway but with your own control of the matter.

            Your comment about stripping buggy features and calling them exploits is extremely closed minded and haughty of you but then your whole tone is completely arrogant. Have you ever possibly thought that interesting but slightly buggy single player features that add depths to ai and other things have possibly been removed from games in the past.

  29. P.Funk says:

    Am I the only person here is not in the least bit bothered since I can still just use Steam as a place to pay for my key before cracking an older install from that black nether region of the internet we all spend most of our time in?

    Conscious: absolved. Content: retained. Difference: split.

    • airmikee says:

      If you want to play a video game against the designs of the creators, that sounds like the obviously logical end conclusion.

      • P.Funk says:

        What kind of weird reply is that? The design of the creators clearly wasn’t for there to be 17 songs removed 10 years later. Did the creators of this game get together to have a symposium on the maintenance and evolution of San Andreas’ content?

        Bizarre. Also, who cares what the creator’s intent is? Its my experience too. By your logic I suppose modding of games is an aberration. Unless of course you don’t which then leads me to further confusion.

  30. Wanoah says:

    I think I will disable the auto updates on everything now. Conceptually, patching exists to improve software notwithstanding all those hilarious bugfixes that introduce additional bugs. The unintentional problems caused by patching are at least honest. Patches that intentionally degrade a product are an odious development and should be opposed.

    If Rockstar had been upfront about this and had communicated in advance, it wouldn’t be so bad. “Hey guys, we have this licensing situation and we are going to patch out this stuff for legal reasons” would still annoy people, but would at least have given people a chance to secure their existing installation against this unwanted tampering.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Won’t help you much as you need the game to be the latest version to be able to even run it. What might help is to make a backup of the game folder each time it’s patched (use some kind of diff software so that this doesn’t take too much space), and each time you want to play an older version of the game, close Steam, change the game folder with the older version, and then re-open Steam in Offline mode.

  31. lokimotive says:

    What I’ve always appreciated about GTA on the PC is that I can listen to any damn thing on want while playing it.

  32. walale12 says:

    Now why can’t they patch in goddamn mod support. It’s been about 10 years since Hot Coffee, surely that’s blown over by now? Unless Clinton’s going to be a bitch about it again…