Take-Two Interactive Software Inc v (1) Nathan James (2) Jordan Salvato (3) Paris Steer (4) Cameron Boness (5) Jonathan Eke [2020] EWHC 179 (Pat)

29 January 2020

Jaani Riordan appeared for the claimants in a claim for breach of an end user licence agreement, copyright infringement and circumvention of technological protection measures.

The claim related to the development, distribution and sale of cheat software called Epsilon for use with the video game Grand Theft Auto V (“GTAV”). Epsilon is a software program which alters the operation of GTAV to enable players to gain various advantages in gameplay.

The claimants applied for summary judgment against the fourth and fifth defendants, arguing that they had breached the licence to which all players of GTAV had to agree in order to install and play the game, and had knowingly induced breaches of that agreement by encouraging users of Epsilon to breach their own contracts with the claimants. The claimants further argued that the fourth and fifth defendants had infringed the claimants’ copyright by, among other things, authorising users of the Epsilon mod menu to make reproductions and adaptations of the GTAV computer program and its constituent parts.

The Court granted summary judgment. The fourth defendant had clearly breached the relevant provision of the license conditions and there was no realistic prospect of him successfully defending that claim. The fifth defendant was a minor at the time and had a pleaded defence of contractual incapacity, but it was unnecessary to determine that issue summarily because both the fourth and fifth defendants were inducing breaches of contract and had authorised copyright infringement. The court found no other compelling reason why the case should go to trial and therefore granted summary judgment on the whole of the claim.

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