January 27, 2006 11:06 AM PST

LA sues maker of 'Grand Theft Auto'

The maker of the controversial video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" is under fire again for allegedly hiding sexually explicit content in the game.

The city attorney of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against New York-based Take-Two Interactive Software, alleging that the company engaged in unfair business practices by covering up pornographic material in the popular video game in order to avoid an Adults Only rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Many retailers refuse to sell titles with Adults Only ratings, limiting the market for such games.

"Greed and deception are part of the 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' story--and in that respect, its publishers are not much different from the characters in their story," Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said in a statement Thursday. "Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products--whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume."

A representative for Take-Two did not immediately return a call about the lawsuit.

News of the suit came the same day that a Take-Two board member resigned over concerns about the company's discovery of illicit images in the disputed game and a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the issue.

The sex scenes in the game, which the company initially blamed on hackers, have cause a public uproar. Retailers across the country pulled the game from store shelves last year, after it was rerated. Members of Congress began calling for a crackdown on the video game industry over violent and sexual content, and many states are weighing bills intended to address the issue.

According the Los Angeles city attorney, Take-Two sold more than 12 million copies of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" before the game was rerated last summer. More than 200,000 copies have been sold in California to date, generating more than $10 million in retail sales, his office said.

The civil suit seeks a portion of the company's profits from sales of the game, in addition to fines. It's part of an ongoing investigation by Los Angeles into the marketing of video games.

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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., Grand Theft Auto, video game, attorney, Los Angeles


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GTA made me do it...
Im glad to know that states care about hidden features in a game that may include poorly rendered soft core dry humping. Honestly for a game that includes auto theft,pimping, murder,drugs etc etc etc one would think that hidden content like this wouldnt be anything to scoff at.

Get your GTA made me do it t-shirts
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.zestuff.com/product.php?productid=59&#38;cat=4&#38;page=1" target="_newWindow">http://www.zestuff.com/product.php?productid=59&#38;cat=4&#38;page=1</a>
Posted by averad (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree&
I don't know why, but it seems to be an american mentality that sex
is worse than violence. As a father, I can open dialogue and explain
sex to my kids, but how do you explain violence. I can understand
that the city is suing because of misinformation of the games
contents, on that ground they are correct, it's the moral conflict I
don't grasp. How is Sex for adults, but violence is not? If parents
are worried that kids will emulate the actions, I would be more
worried about kids packing heat, than being exposed to sex.
Posted by rfelgueiras (189 comments )
Link Flag
They just need money...
I wrote about this here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://robztechblog.com/wordpress/" target="_newWindow">http://robztechblog.com/wordpress/</a>
Posted by G3M4NN (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
moral, but not legally justifiable
I can't see how this is legally justifiable.

The sex scene might have been included in the game code, but it was not accessible to users so it should not be considered as part of the game.

Things might have been different if there was a cheat code to access it or if it were a secret bonus level, but no, users actually had to download a third party patch that modified the game and make this scene accessible.

This code is inaccesible under normal conditions, so it should not be counted as part of the game.

What next? suppose I were to root through the source code for Windows and find that one of the programmers had put a dirty word as a comment next to an annoying section of code inside a DLL file that was included deep within the compiled version of the Windows OS, completely inaccessible to users.

Would this lead to a law suit from angry mother's whose kids used windows at school?
Posted by perfectblue97 (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
good point
this is something that must be addressed with legislation otherwise yes, something like what you suggested inevitably will happen.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
How much is LA entitled to?
Let's just say that Take Two loses the case, and is found liable to L.A. for the content it included in their game.

How much should LA get from the profits of sales of that single title? Are they entitled to even 100% of the sales from within the city? Sure 200,000 copies were sold in the state, but how much does one city in that state get?

If Take Two released the title unaware of the hidden content it's programmers slid into it, wouldn't that too make Wal-Mart, BestBuy and other retailers just as guilty?

It seems that LA is after money more than being punative for the commission of a crime that will be difficult to prove was intended by the company.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not about the money...
It's about publicity. This is just another example of someone trying to get ahead in politics. Rocky Delgadillo is trying to get some big press for himself. He doesn't care one bit about Rockstar or Hot Coffee. Delgadillo and his crew whose bringing about this suit doesn't even care if he wins or loses because what he wanted to achieve has been accomplished, the press is all over this story. Rocky Delgadillo is currently running for Attorney General of California. Never EVER trust a politician.
Posted by Laserdisc (79 comments )
Link Flag

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