Take-Two sues Chicago Transit Authority

Publisher takes the city's public-transportation division to court over "outrageous decision" to yank $300,000 Grand Theft Auto IV ad campaign.


After the Chicago Transit Authority pulled an ad campaign for Grand Theft Auto IV last month, a representative of the city dismissed the notion that Take-Two Interactive could sue the CTA for an abridgment of its First Amendment rights.

"The CTA has the right to regulate and establish guidelines for advertising on its properties," the authority representative told GameSpot at the time.

However, today GameSpot confirmed a Reuters report that Take-Two has filed suit against the CTA, alleging not only a violation of its free-speech rights, but also a contractual agreement.

"Although we prefer to resolve these issues amicably," a Take-Two spokesperson said in a statement, "the CTA has refused to discuss with us its outrageous decision to pull advertising for the critically acclaimed game Grand Theft Auto IV while running ads for other forms of popular entertainment with similar content, including mature-themed TV shows and R-rated movies."

The suit was filed against the CTA as well as Titan Outdoor LLC, its external advertising agent. Take-Two is asking for an order that the CTA run the ads again, and pay at least $300,000 in damages. The six-week campaign of 385 ads was barely underway when the CTA decided to yank the advertising spots.

A CTA representative said at the time that the decision to pull the campaign was made not because of complaints over the GTA IV ads, but due to complaints over a series of ads that Take-Two ran in 2004 for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That campaign was worth $90,000 to the CTA, and due to the fact that the ads had run their course by the time it became an issue, they didn't need to be pulled.

According to a CTA representative, the Grand Theft Auto IV campaign cost Take-Two Interactive $316,000, but the city's take of that would have been at most $205,400 after Titan had taken its cut. After the ads were pulled, the CTA said that Take-Two would not be charged for the aborted campaign.

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