August 16, 2018 / 11:46 PM / a month ago

U.S. judge blocks programs letting 'Grand Theft Auto' players 'cheat'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday awarded Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O), the maker of the “Grand Theft Auto” series, a preliminary injunction to stop a Georgia man from selling programs that it said helps players cheat at the best-selling video game.

A promotion for the computer game "Grand Theft Auto Five" is show in a Game Stop gaming story in Encinitas, California September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH 'BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD 31 OCT' FOR ALL IMAGES - S1BEUKBVDTAB

Take-Two had accused David Zipperer of selling computer programs called Menyoo and Absolute that let users of the “Grand Theft Auto V” multiplayer feature Grand Theft Auto Online cheat by altering the game for their own benefit, or “griefing” other players by altering their game play without permission.

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan said Take-Two was likely to show that Zipperer infringed its “Grand Theft Auto V” copyright, and that his programs would cause irreparable harm to its sales and reputation by discouraging users from buying its video games.

Stanton also said an injunction would serve the public interest by encouraging Take-Two to invest more in video games and was appropriate because of the “high risk” that Zipperer, who claimed to be unemployed, could not afford damages.

The judge dismissed an unfair competition claim against Zipperer, who according to court papers lives in Ellabell, Georgia, west of Savannah.

A lawyer for Zipperer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Take-Two said in a statement it will keep pursuing legal actions to avert “disruptions” to its multiplayer gaming community.

The New York-based company has lost at least $500,000 because of Zipperer’s programs, according to its March 23 complaint.

The case is Take-Two Interactive Software Inc v Zipperer, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02608.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler

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