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.

348 Comments

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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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Jazz_Fan

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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datniccah187

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I second that threex, this sounds like Weasel News to me as well lol.

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THREEX7SIXTY9

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This story is almost like its right out of the game itself, Weasel News...

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trystkl1826

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Many of you have good points concerning this article. I agree with those that see that because of the breach of contract, Take Two is owed the money that they are asking for. I also think there are other things going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to. Meaning that, even though, we have read this article, our information is still incomplete. The conclusions that we have drawn are based on this incomplete information.

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lordmarkitgs

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What concerns me is; why the hell didn't CTA decide it was a bad idea BEFORE agreeing to the contract? Anyway, this story has attracted more publicity than the advertising deal ever would.

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-G3NEl21C-187-

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Chase Dem to a corner and blow their face off with a shotgun GTA style Take two!

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Projekt_Zeer-O

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I'm behind Take2 110%. CTA is over-reacting.

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Lou_Menace

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I didn't know you could get warned for shutting down ignorant people... That's whack.

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Gta3-fan334

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Blame the Local Chicago Fox News :)

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motionxsickness

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GOOD.

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calong

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this case in nothing but a breach of contract case when the cta ran the ad then pulled them they breach the contract and are libel simple the transit person calling it a freedom of speech issue is just trying to cloud the issue 1 thing there be no case if they didnt run the ads a short time but by doing so they implied consent with the contact not the content

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reactionsok

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@Sandlynx9 i play video games and i know of GTA of course im going to remember the ad now stop with the lawsuits - let bring down TAke 2

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joeshmo88

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lone_todorov "Hvac0120 Iff you had said Fascist rule i would agreed... But Communist maybe you need to find out the meaning of it" Actually what he said happened in both as they were both totalitarian governments... If you read your history about communist nations (Russia, China) you will realize that they didn't allow freedom of speech either (Especially good ol' Stalin). Not that its a big deal, just thought I would point it out

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belwyrm

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IMHO, this is a good call by Take Two, especially if there was a contract. The Chicago Transit Authority was just trying not to offend certain groups of people who talk alot and seem to think video games are the downfall of modern civilization. Sorry, shouldn't have agreed to the ads in the first place.

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FallenOneX

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This is one time people can't say that this isn't news. If you read the article that came out a few weeks ago, they pulled the ads because of stuff that happened with GTASA. This looks like a good case: Should the CTA have the right to ban ads for a problem that happened years ago? Personally, I think TT covered their butts this time and deserve a little retribution

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Hvac0120

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@lone_todorov good point...too bad I can't edit :-)

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mysterylobster

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delcidanddarth "It would be incredibly illegal to specifically bar one company from bidding for a contract without reason (or without a logical reason)." This isn't about a company; rather, a product. I didn't read that they were barring Take Two from advertising any of their products. Also, public outcry would be one legitimate reason. Notice they took them down after they were featured on Fox News.

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speedyrv

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If they had complaints about GTA - San Andreas ads why did they sign a contract to run ads for GTA - IV. That is why there should be no ads allowed on public transportation.

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lone_todorov

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Hvac0120 Iff you had said Fascist rule i would agreed... But Communist maybe you need to find out the meaning of it

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*Magnus_Gallant

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This isn't an issue of freedom of speech. I am going to assume the CTA is funded by the government and its the government's duty to protect its population of hurtful acts. This argument should not hold up in court but the breaking of contractual duty will. Take-two will get refunded and then be compensated the 300,00 dollars of damages, because as a business you can not turn down one person and then accept another who is exactly the same or very similar.

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kingdre

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Good for Take-Two. They should stand up for their rights.

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Hvac0120

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I'm pretty sure that Take-Two's lawyer's have a good case here. Non of the ads depicted any of the violence, sex, or drug related themes that may be in the game (at least from what I saw in the news video). There was no real reason to bring down the ads. They assumed it would be bad because of the Hot Coffee scandal and the issues with GTA:SA. These politicians need to get over themselves. It's really scary that Hillary Clinton could be our next president. Pretty soon people will get in trouble for flipping someone the bird, or cursing out loud in public. All explicit lyrics will be cut from music and movies will no longer contain nudity or sexual content. If the politicians keep it up, the USA is going to end up under a communist rule.... (comments made to the extreme to make a point)...

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scrymonster

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In other news, in Liberty City(I mean New York City) three Cops were just aquitted of murdering several innocent people a year and a half ago... incase any of you haven't heard.

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armacalypsen

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You people ever heard of Freedom of Speech? Oh right, you USians have got the first amendment as a reminder, yet you STILL forget. Maybe it needs to be printed onto your retina?

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BlueFlameBrat

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Either Take-Two should get a refund or the ads should go back up. Take-Two can't have both.

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King_Jeremy_77

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Alright Take-Two!

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Sandlynx9

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@ reactionsok Its funny though... you say "there ads sux" but you remember very clearly A. What it was for and B. What it portrayed. Thus, the advertisement reached you. It got its job done then, didn't it?

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GrayFox007

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Dreamtup, I don't know where to start with you... I doubt that people want to see another rant like yours on here but I'll say this: you people are the reason I don't trust cops. "14 year old crack baby"? Nuff said.

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feryl06

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I see the sequel for the next GTA location. :) hahaha... Seriously though, people are making too much of a fuss over this.

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ice-vanilla

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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CageFury

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Hell yea Damien6977. That's what I'm talking about.

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punkpunker

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wow,just a logo of gta4 got yanked? what harm could a logo do?Does the word 'Grand Theft Auto IV' inspires people to commit crimes?NO!! And breach of contract is the worst thing to do for any company in the world CTA.

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capedbear

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GTA suing CTA, is that the world upside down ?

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IXIAntiksIXI

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Wow all of this bull over this awesome game.

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dreamtupinlies

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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reactionsok

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one more thing - There advertising sux. i was in downtown LA today and there was just a huge ad of one of the hookers - thats it. wow! bleh

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dreamtupinlies

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Look, I live in Chicago. The ads were taken down not because of a Fox News complaint. There was a large spike in violent crimes almost immediately after the ad campaign started. Do I think it's a result of the ads? Of course not but our lovely governor does (he pretty much wants to arrest parents if their children play "M" rated games.) There were something like 13 deaths by gunshot (and baseball bat) within a 24 hour time frame. People got scared. What do people do when they get scared? They latch onto whatever they can. The people supported the decision (as do I). The ads probably didn't cause the crimes but they are however marketing a controversial product where many minors can (and do) see them. When was the last time you saw a cigarette ad in a magazine, billboard, or TV? You don't because it COULD influence minors and therefore is illegal to have an advertisement campaign for them in any forum minors might have access to. I'm sorry to say but as someone who's in the law enforcement field I can't see how a game where the sole purpose of it is to kill police officers who are doing their job in trying to arrest your character is even allowed on the market. Do you have any idea how hard it is to wake up every day knowing that you, your wife, and child could be killed in a horrific fashion simply because you want to help the community and wear that uniform? Didn't think so. If some delinquent pot-head or pederast wants to go sleep with imaginary prostitutes and kill a digital representation of me fine... as long as they are adults. That's the LAW. I'm sick and tired of these game stores selling products to minors just to make a sale. The last thing I need in my life is some punk 14 year old crack baby who can't fit in and whose mother is too busy doing tricks to see that her son is playing this crap to think that it's ok to mug and kill a person and then kill me because I try to arrest him/her. This company should be shut down for moral ineptitude if nothing else.

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reactionsok

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god what frivolous lawsuit - i have to say take two are a bunch of cry babies and liers. the president on TV said 'there were no glitches' with GTA 4 - what a huge lier.

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lamprey263

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I think it's funny they took down the ads because FoxNews complained; that's all FoxNews does

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Merl57

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I sent a complain on the CTA website, They responded promptly, so i would recommend that if you wanna get the word out.

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Stevie_Q

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This is ridiculous

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Leria

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CageFury has it right. There was a contract between the city and Take-Two. If there were REALLY any concerns about this, why didn't it come up when Take-Two was first contacting the city about this? Just another case of a bunch of overly-'moral' idiots trying to keep out of public view whatever they disagree with.

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CageFury

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Free speech, screw that. They had a contract. It's that simple.