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GTA Online cheat creator ordered to pay $150,000

Remember kids, crime doesn't pay (unless you do really big ones)

Take-Two Interactive have won a legal fight with the maker of a GTA Online cheat suite, who's ordered to pay $150,000 (£116k) in damages for copyright infringement. The cheat, named Elusive, was capable of shenanigans including causing explosions at will, teleporting players around, flying, seeing through walls, screwing with players' cars, breaking NPC AI, and spawning vehicles and cash. Rockstar's parent company actually won by default because the defendant didn't challenge it, and so was assumed to admit the allegations. Such is the law. Elusive's makers stopped selling it in 2018 after "conversations" with Take-Two, though evidently the company didn't think that the end of the matter.

The judge in the New York district court ruled on Monday to accept Take-Two's request for a default judgement, TorrentFreak noticed. That means the defendant, Florida man Jhonny Perez, is on the hook for $150,000 in damages for copyright infringement plus another $66868.95 (£52k) in attorney fees. He's also enjoined from ever again making or distributing any based on or modifying Take-Two's games. All that without even replying, let alone going to New York.

Elusive had been sold in three packages ranging from $10 (£8) to $30 (£23), with higher tiers giving more cheaty options. The maker(s?) stop making and selling the cheat in 2018, following a friendly little chat with Take-Two's lawyers. The Elusive men said they would donate their proceeds to a charity chosen by Take-Two, and it seems Take-Two didn't mind the idea of money either.

"We apologise for any and all problems our software has caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community," the Elusives added in last year's statement.

Pllllrb. Cheats are common enough in GTA Online that I could never go a few hours without having some cheater (or 'modder', as player slang weirdly calls them) rain explosions, materialise a torrent of speeding trucks, teleport me somewhere terrible, keep turning my car off... it's a real problem. That's a real weak apology for enabling this awful griefing.

Sure, it can be funny to find yourself trapped in a burning cage watched by a dozen Jesuses (as once happened to me) but: 1) the joke wears off real quick; 2) most cheaters I saw weren't creative and just ruined the game. Yeah yeah GTA Online's grind to unlock and buy things sucks so I see why folks might want cheats to skip that, but many of Elusive's options were clearly about having fun at the expense of other players.

Cover image for YouTube video

That said, I did laugh when the ruling said Elusive "harms Take-Two's reputation for maintaining its gaming environment" as if they had a good reputation on that front to protect. They do not. I would agree that it harms Take-Two's "gaming environment" but certainly not their "reputation for maintaining" that. The cheating pandemic means the only reputation they have here is, has been, and will likely remain terrible.

Take-Two do battle cheaty cheaters by detecting and banning them as well as sending The Suits against their creators, but the inevitable arms race of cheat tech is keeping pace. Despite all the lawsuits and bans, GTA Online is still rife with cheats.

Disclosure: I have some pals at Rockstar, as does half the population of Edinburgh, though those I know best are COWARDS and won't come swim in this beautiful warm 4C sea we have right now. What, afraid you'll get hypothermia? Lose a few digits? Unbelievable.

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.