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

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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FatesMessenger

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IG: The CTA had a legally binding agreement with take two in regard to running the adds and the CTA disregarded it and pulled the adds, after they agreed to the contract, I don't know how much more plain it can be than that. This has nothing to with with freedom of speech or the right to advertise where you want, they violated a contract.

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furqan2006

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Take Two rules

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BoogieManZero

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Everybody has fingures and only when they are pointed at something else are they happy.

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Ra-Devil

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It's not just that they're right to advertise what they want, being free speech, is being violated, it's that they made a contractual agreement... meaning it didn't matter what they wanted, because they have an obligation to their contract, and they should have thought about it before they made it if they truly didn't want it. For example, if you didn't want anyone to put ads for something on your house, that's fine, and if they did, you could remove them or even due them on vadalism charges, but if you made an agreement, you could try and do what the CTA did, and just dismiss it as, "freedom of speech," but that would be lying, as you made a damned contract. You make a contract vallidated by the justice system, it needs to be held up, otherwise everyone will start looking at contracts as, "sort-of obligations." I hope Rockstar wins, gets their money, and get's their ads thrown back up, and I hope that the CTA explains that it's all because they didn't know what a contract was, so that maybe people of the average nature will start criticizing their policies.

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TRH4469

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if the cta breeched its contract with take two then take two should be entitled to the $300,000 that they paid the cta to run the ads. its simple law and business and they should get their money back.

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myrllellei

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Since we don't know the particulars of the contract, it is impossible to give a law-oreinted opinion. Did the CTA have a clause that allowed it to pull the ads (for any reason)? If not, they will lose. 1st Amendment and all. If poeple in Chicage are upset, direct it at the CTA. They entered into a contract with a company known for releasing controversial games that go against popular moral beliefs.

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Nineball2112

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And you just summed it all up nicely, AndrewWiggen... The hypocrisy around here can be staggering...

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IGDetail

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Fates: what I'm saying is that there's a difference between protesting and advertising.... and this is still CTA's property. What makes everyone think they can just do what they want because it's on a bus or a train? They need as much permission to post their advertisements there than I do on your front lawn.

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FatesMessenger

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You know I'm willing to bet if police didn't face lawsuits and jail time for every time they have to fire their weapons at someone you probably wouldn't have such a high murder rate.

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AndrewWiggen

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Oh, good grief! Imagine the situation in reverse. TT puts in game advertising in GTAIV. The CTA pays to put their ads inside GTA. At the last minute, TT sees something they don't like in the ads, pulls them from the game, and gives CTA their money back. CTA responds by suing. How many of you would still be on the side of the advertiser? How about if this was EA advertising, and then suing the CTA for Godfather 2 ads? I swear, it seems like some folks see that TT is involved, and then start going through all kind of mental and logical gymnastics to twist the situation around until you feel comfortable supporting them, no matter what they do. I sure hope they never go into politics.

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FatesMessenger

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IG: The difference between public and private property, is that you (usually) can't be arrested for protesting in a public area, like the street corner. But you can't come on my front lawn and do it, thats trespassing, freedom of speech arguement doesn't hold water if you're breaking the law.

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p0rkp1e74

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what an interesting twist in things......who knew that an advertisement would cause as much of an uproar as the actual thing....i guess Rockstar is just known for being bad and causing all the violence in our world today!!!

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Citan76

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If they broke a contractual agreement then this is just how it is. You can't go around breaking contracts you make. That's why they're contracts.

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IGDetail

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@00: I live in the area and the last thing we need is more inciting news... Like I said earlier, I'll be taking the CTA to classes next year and rather enjoy the city's ideals. You're saying because you own your house you can control what is being said and placed there? Hmm, sounds like you're going against my right to free speech :P The city has the right to place the advertising it chooses just like any other business. I also like to think that because I don't like to see something advertised, I have the right to complain and affect those decisions made around me.

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hannify

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@ IntegraBella: Take-two need everybit of money they can get. They were dieing if it werent for GTA4 and this is only short-term. To succeed in business - you need to think long-term.

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IntegraBella

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what the hell is going on now? I'm almost convinced it had to do with public complaints about the game in the Chicago area but they're not wanting to say it. Take Two is already getting their money from the game, which is quite a lot. what's the difference going to be if a couple of ads for the game get taken down? its just pathetic and quite pointless if you ask me. eh, oh well. if I had to choose a side, I'm on the CTA's side.

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hannify

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woo take-two sueing and not being sued for a change. XD

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odmillan

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Take that CTA!!! It's time that videogame companies fight back for the entertainment medium that is videogames. Best of luck Take-Two!

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F4ll3n_1

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I think theyve definitely got more of a case for contractual breech than for FA breach.

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00joshua

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@IGDetail 1. No, my house is not a public area. You have to ask permission or you are trespassing. 2. Don't assume you know what the users of the CTA want, and don't assume the CTA has the right to tell you want to want. 3. The proponents of morality and peace are immoral barbarians who would rather string you up than hear controversial words. Mob mentality is not the right mentality. 4. Jack Thompson doesn't abuse laws, he breaks them. See: First Amendment.

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myols

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Ironically, Take 2 would be taking away CTA's "free speech". Take 2 would be no better than those they are accusing. I mean, so many game sites and television channels are paid off by playing the GTA IV commercial 24/7, what is one tiny part of their ad campaign that will affect nothing in the grand scheme do? Money, Money, Money. It's a shame, considering it's already made and will continue to make money by the truckload. As usual, a companies true intentions show (and doing exactly what they're accusing others of).

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Chizaqui

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You know, this is just low. T2 has always sifted through its share of crap for the past few years, but they had to know why the CTA pulled its ads. 21 deaths, one an officer, the weekend before the ads were pulled. Thank you, T2, for stealing money from the government. Good on ya.

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aumelen818

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The First Amendment protect free speech. But it doesn't say anyone and everyone has to agree to place an ad that they don't agree with on their property. Now, if the CTA did sign a contract stating they were going to allow them to place ads, then they have a case for breach of contract. But the city, or anyone, is not obligated to place whatever a company wants. It's their property and their right regardless of what other kinds of ads they already have up. GTA IV is already doing very well, and most of that (in my opinion) is coming from word of mouth. So the CTA pulled the ads, maybe Take-Two should just do the tax payers a favor and just let it go.

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Mc1csmo

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I'm 100% a supporter of Take-Two and I love GTA 4. I think the CTA is wrong here, but aside from all those views, CTA has a right to refuse advertising on their properties. Take-Two can file a suit claiming discrimination but freedom of speech doesn't protect a property owner from exhibiting their right of refusal to display types of content that they find objectionable or controversial. Take-Two has the right to express themselves, but an institution or individual can't force other individuals to do business with them. The best totherwise hey can hope for is sue for damages, which they have a case for, as the campaign was pulled at a critical time after a deal was struck. I want to also say that I'm a strong supporter of freedom of speech, BUT you should really do some homework on what it really means. Too many people thump their chests and toss freedom of speech around like they have the right to say and do whatever they want, and it's just untrue. Try yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre or subway system, or say BOMB! at the airport, and you'll learn real fast the limitations of free speach. Our country's freedoms are many, and they are an aberation when compared to history and many other countries of the world, but they aren't so far sweeping and all encompassing as some claim, on this board, and otherwise. The CTA are idiots for doing what they did, but it was bad business to do so, and they'll likely pay in court a fine, but what they did was not a violation of free speech. Keep reading and see how this plays out, I'm willing to bet it will only be a dollar settlement for the reasons I mention.

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Merl57

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Yeah I am 100% behind Take 2 on this one. There should at the VERY LEAST be refunded the money on the contract, and then more money in damages from the estimated potential revenue from the ads, which would be hard to guess. It is very true that they don't pull content from more extreme content in other forms of media either, and it will be along time before things are equal

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IGDetail

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So can I just drop by your house and start putting up signs? It's still a public area and are apt to the people who use it. I would guess the majority of users of the CTA don't want to see some gun toting killer in posters... not after all that's gone on here. These people are standing up for what they believe too. It's not just about the government against the people, but the people for morality and a peaceful society. It's a two-way door and TT is abusing the law as much as Jack Thompson does... what's the difference between the two now? They both want attention and we're the ones paying for it in the end through taxes.

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00joshua

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For those of you that don't know, The First Amendment is the only thing standing between you and the Thought Police breaking down your door and hauling you off to the Ministry of Love for the crime of keeping a journal.

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Autolycus

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According to the supreme court (which means nothing since they are all croonies and corrupt), Speech is not considered just the act of speaking, but also the act of expression and advertising. It covers all writing(which is still censored by our government because the constitution means NOTHING to them) and some books the governement doesnt want you to read are banned from the u.s. which is a total FU to the constitution. When it gets taken away, the only people we have to blame is ourselves for not standing up when we had the chance.

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kos1085

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That will teach you not sign a contract that you will not fulfill.

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VenomRitual

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they're not worth defending anymore. make a patch take-two!

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mpchitown

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We just have a lot of violence going on in Chicago's South Side right now. I am not saying GTAIV is the cause of the violence, but people here are a bit sensitive about it and about what the game represents. That being said, I think they have gotten more free publicity over them not running the ad.

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IGDetail

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What does this have to do with the first amendment? You can speak in public areas, but you can't graffiti them.

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GonzoGuy

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It's about time they went on the offensive. R* takes way too much flak from the puritan dbag loudmouths and its good to see them fight back. Who cares about how much, it's the precedent that they are suing for. I think the Ill. politicians just needed someone to blame for all the shootings that were going on a couple weeks ago. They wouldn't want to take responsibility themselves for all the disgruntled maniacs in their city so they blame advertising for a game. You remember how inflammatory the movie poster for "The Usual Suspects" was: a bunch of guys in a police lineup. It's traumatizing for some people.

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Autolycus

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if you dont sue them, they'll think they can do it in the future. THis is a very large step for the first amendment, but unfortunately, its already doomed because the constitution takes a seat in comparison to corporate profits and lobbyists.

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LittleDuck

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Essentially Chicago just got owned.

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AndreSCP

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TAKE THAT CTA!! AHAHA GO TAKE TWO!

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wilmepe

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take that CTA!!!

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corn999

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Very nice, I hope T2 can get their money AND the CTA has to run the ads for twice as long. Freedom of speech nucka is beautiful thang.

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tyler2357

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For all the people saying this is a waste of time and money for T2... This case won't cost T2 anything, they will settle it out of court and the CTA will just pay up.

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IGDetail

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"ok I'm really confused as to why the transit authority would have anything at all to do with advertisements on TV. i don't get why a government agency whose purpose is to provide public transportation would be involved in that at all." They're talking about print advertisements and just because it's run by the city doesn't mean they have a free-for-all with the money they spend. They have a budget just like any other company and have to make money to cover a LOT of costs providing public transportation (especially the kind that everyone puts down yet still needs desperately).

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R1ncew1nd16

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Yeah SUE SUE SUE! But really, it's not like they will have lost any sales by having these ads gone. Think how many copies they could have sold with no advertising at all, all the games sites/mags are crazy about it and it was always destined to be huge.

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racerx737

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ok I'm really confused as to why the transit authority would have anything at all to do with advertisements on TV. i don't get why a government agency whose purpose is to provide public transportation would be involved in that at all. anyway, hope T2 wins if the CTA violated their contract.

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mtwoone

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Living in Chicago, it doesn't surprise me. The CTA has been making idiotic decisions for years now and this one is just an odd case to be honest.

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Mr_Tweedy

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CTA has every right to pick and choose what ads they run, but they are liable for breach of contract if they pulled the ads after they'd already agreed to run them.

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pinksandcocaine

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"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 Take-Two ran in 2004 for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That campaign was worth $90,000 to the CTA, and was not pulled because the ads had run their course by the time it became an issue." Here's the thing. They approved these ads under two different presidents. The last GTA campaign was approved and taken down. This time around, they approve it, take the money, put it up and then decide "oh wait, people were mad in 2004!!! better fix this!"? And somehow this came AFTER a report by Fox News Chicago asking about these ads given what happened in 2004? Give me a break. The CTA must thing everyone is stupid.

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khai411

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300,000 is peanuts for T2 considering how much their lawyers cost. I believe they are trying to make a point to prevent a repeat of this incident when they or other companies release future similar themed games

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otanikun

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So they contradict everything they say, it's because it's a video game so they can criticize it whenever they please in a sense, honestly I'd have sued for more but I'm not Take-Two; kick their ass guys!

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nobdow

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This is retarded, sue sue sue its all you hear now a days.

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ptown58

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Is Chicago too sensitive ? are Aussie's too limp wristed sensitive ? Love how this game brings out the best in money making organizations. Everybody seems to hate it but still want a piece of the money pie.

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