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.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 348 comments about this story
348 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Avenger1324 "The $300,000 seems almost pointless given the amount of money the two sides will probably spend on lawyers to fight the case." And neither one of them has the money to spend right now. We won't see this case go anywhere.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for NA3D
NA3D

2828

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

Thanks JediAutobot So then it is ad agencies fault and the CTA for not communicating well.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for FatesMessenger
FatesMessenger

26

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

If take two and CTA had a contract, and CTA broke the contract by pulling ads, CTA will lose the case. End of story, there is nothing to discuss. They're suing CTA for a breech of contract not on a he said she said basis.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for thewesman
thewesman

120

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Seems greedy, but ok, they need the cash I guess.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jknight5422
jknight5422

1986

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

I agree. Sue the CTA. They shouldn't pull an add on a game anymore than they should for a movie. It's ridiculous to condemn one form of entertainment over another when they're all filled with violence.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

"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." They're saying that the ads for San Andreas became a problem well into the campaign because people started to realize what was IN the game.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JediAutobot
JediAutobot

323

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

NA3D, the 90,000 is in reference to the past ad campaign in 2004. As a Chicagan, I've heard a little more on this than this article. Apparently, the CTA is claiming that they had told their previous ad agency not to run any GTA ads in the future, and then they switched ad agencies, and no one told them not to accept GTA ads, and once the CTA realized they had, they pulled them. To me, this doesn't discount the fact that the ads were accepted, they should have let them run their course.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dmish82
dmish82

1188

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 52

User Lists: 0

Someone should sue R* for the crappy game they just put out full of bugs!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Avenger1324
Avenger1324

16344

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

If CTA felt so strongly against GTA they shouldn't have accepted the contract in the first place. The $300,000 seems almost pointless given the amount of money the two sides will probably spend on lawyers to fight the case

Upvote • 
Avatar image for NA3D
NA3D

2828

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

So is Take Two mad because they pulled the ad after agreeing to show it, because they pulled it in general, because they pulled it during the release time of the game, or another reason? "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." I might be having a brain fart, but I am not understanding ^that^. By the time it became an issue? So how can something like this become an issue over time? Either it is an issue or it isn't from the start. I am thinking they might be mad because they agreed to show the ads and pull the ads out of no where all of the sudden. If that is their case, they might win, because this is a pretty black and white situation. They know what they were getting into and agreed with it, then changed their minds after agreeing. There might be a opt-out clause, but if Take-Two followed the rules and everything was presented as is, then CTA seriously might be paying up. There has to be something to active the possibility of an opt-out. (And this game has a rep that the CTA already knew about, so they shouldn't have agreed to something they were not sure about.) That is just my speculation. I might be missing something, if so I want to know what. I am really curious about this whole situation.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Eh, revolutionary doesn't mean blockbuster in my opinion. I've been playing echochrome and think it's a pretty fun and interesting game (it calmed me down from some crap GTA mission). I doubt IT took a lot of money to produce. This article doesn't give the details on the legitimacy of the case, but if Take Two is resorting to first amendment rights, then I doubt they have a foot to stand on (that is to say, there WAS a clause and the CTA had the right to back out). Personally, I think this just ties in to the wobbly stock price at TT and the tempted buyout from EA. TT might just be looking for a reason to pass blame to keep the stock holders on the hook.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for markharris31
markharris31

332

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The point here is advertising standards, not industry or storytelling standards. I agree 100% that games have the potential ( and succeed in some cases) to be a much more effective storytelling medium than either TV or film. The point here is WHY the ads were pulled. Many advertisement contracts do include clauses that allow the ads to be pulled, but there must be sufficient justification. T2 believe that in this case there was not, in fact, sufficient justification to pull the ads. There were no direct complaints about these ads, the game involved, the content of the ads, etc. They were pulled because of complaints about ads for a different game 4 years ago. T2 believes that is not sufficient justification and the CTA has breached their contract. They also believe that the CTA is contradictory in the way they handle different types of similar media. If you could pull ads at any time for any reason, why even have a contract?! Anyone could just buy up your advertising space if they paid more money to the ad company to shove you out. There are very clear and specific reasons for these contracts to exist, and there needs to be clear and sufficient justification to back out. Also... how are they going to make revolutionary games ( a la GTA IV ) if they don't make money? Maybe it's unfortunate that companies need so much capital to churn out AAA titles these days, but I don't see that changing any time soon.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

11707

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

I haven't seen a copy of the contract, but most contracts have various opt-out clauses to avoid this kind of litigation... and as far as the "free speech" issue, they're just trying to play the victim this time around... there's no constitutional issue here. At best, it's a breach of contract issue and I really don't think the CTA would be so stupid as to so brazenly breach a contract. My best guess is that this pans out to nothing.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for omgcracka
omgcracka

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"ads dont work" LOLOLOLOLOLOL Yes they do.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

I personally don't want games held on the same level as tv or movies... I want them better. They're closer to books than anything else because of the level of interaction and imagination involved. Mainstreaming games has brought us nothing but cheap movie and beverage tie-ins. A case like this does nothing but show that T2 is just in it for the money. If this was an art form, it would be about making games more revolutionary, not peddled products. In fact, I don't really see the need for bus advertisements.... we all knew GTA4 was coming out :P Give me $300k and I'll get you more gamers than the CTA would.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sophospeare
sophospeare

443

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mysterylobster
mysterylobster

1931

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"Uhhh, yes they do. Its called a contract. You cant make an advertisements contract and then decide not to run the advertisements." Have you SEEN the contract that was signed? Practically every contract for advertising space will say the owner on the space can yank the ads at their discretion, and the comment from the CTA above proves this is no different. In an earlier post I pointed to the closest example I could find: CNET's policy regarding ad sales, in which they say they can pull an ad even if readers complain.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for carljohnson3456
carljohnson3456

12489

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

Wow, so Take-Two is the one doing the suing now. lol Who would think after GTA4 came out the first lawsuit would be filed by Take-Two??? I hope EA doesnt buy them out. Take-Two is quality!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JamesSharp
JamesSharp

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Yes, a business - even a state-controlled one - has no right to refuse advertising. People on this site are such morons it causes me physical pain.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Ardus
Ardus

201

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Here's hoping they stick it to the CTA.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for markharris31
markharris31

332

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Phaze is right here, they do have a case. And if you think about it, this is a very important case. If T2 wins, it sets a precedent for holding games accountable using the same standards as TV and movies. The industry has been fighting to legtimize games as an art form on parallel with other media, including TV, movies, and books. Pulling the GTA ads is directly contradictory to the attitude of the CTA concerning other media. We all need to pay attention, this could set a fantastic case precendent for gaming.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

"First thing I did when i got the game was nock the contrast up 2 notches and the brightness up one notch.. fixed the "dark" issue right away. I remember them saying that in the gamespot review soemwhere about having the options to control those made the ps3 and 360 versions have the same ability for colour saturation and darkness... you jsut have to adjust it." I cranked up both and it still gives me a migraine from squinting after an hour.... maybe I'll try my luck with component cables. When I tried to play SH3, it was almost completely black.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Sgt_Politeness
Sgt_Politeness

276

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's strange that they decided to pull the ad based on something that happened four years ago. It's even more strange that they agreed to post ads for GTA4 and then later remembered "Oh yeah, did we get some complaints about these guys a few years back?" Does the CTA not keep track of things like that, or do they have high turnover for employees?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

"After the ads were pulled, the CTA said Take-Two would not be charged for the aborted campaign." They weren't charged. I'm guessing someone low on the chain approved this and his/her boss didn't want the hassling phone calls from the public again. With the CTA money situation this year, the 'free-ride' giveaways, and the crumbling system... they don't need any more hassles. I'd like to take the CTA next year for school people :P

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Nineball2112
Nineball2112

504

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Quote: Take Two was NOT charged. Contracts aren't as cut and dry as most everyone thinks and this is NOT an issue of free speech. My god people... I hope most of the people posting don't want to become attorneys.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Phazevariance
Phazevariance

12334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

First thing I did when i got the game was nock the contrast up 2 notches and the brightness up one notch.. fixed the "dark" issue right away. I remember them saying that in the gamespot review soemwhere about having the options to control those made the ps3 and 360 versions have the same ability for colour saturation and darkness... you jsut have to adjust it. With regards to this, the CTA can choose not to run any ad they want, but after they sign a contract, they can't change their mind without breaching and that is a chargeable offence.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Coviehunter
Coviehunter

52

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

So wait, I don't get it, did Take-Two get charged or didn't they?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for a__7__x
a__7__x

564

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Not only can the video game industry take lawsuits based on nothing more than wanting more money, they can give em to :)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Serious06
Serious06

106

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

nice

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

""On another note, why does gameplay look better in the commercial than they do in the game? Can I sue for false advertising? " Lol, I told my wife that last night. Its prolly running on some crazy powerful pc..." It's just ALOT brighter... I can barely see because it's too dark during the same segments they were showing on tv. I was thinking it's from the HDMI because I have the same problem running PS2 games through my PS3.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Phazevariance
Phazevariance

12334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's rediculous that they can advertise for things like the gory CSI tv series, or movies like "house of wax" which are storyless grotesque gore machine movies and yet an ad for an interactive game of violence is rejected? and not even because of GTA4 but because of a game that was advertised 4 years ago. WOW, this law suit is considered WON by TT

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dannyrun56
dannyrun56

86

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i have seen more violence, blood, guts, gore, sex, drugs, alcohol in movies than in games

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mkuhlens2
mkuhlens2

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I live in Chicago. Where were these adds pulled from? I still see them all over the city at CTA bus stops

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MonkeManFoSho
MonkeManFoSho

223

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

finally a stand against the people overly critical about games, when movies and other crap are just as bad if not worse

Upvote • 
Avatar image for bonafidetk
bonafidetk

3911

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

"I agree with the CTA on this one...after all, they don't HAVE TO put up the ads if they don't want to. It's their buses etc." Uhhh, yes they do. Its called a contract. You cant make an advertisements contract and then decide not to run the advertisements.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for CharlieFubar
CharlieFubar

703

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"On another note, why does gameplay look better in the commercial than they do in the game? Can I sue for false advertising? " Lol, I told my wife that last night. Its prolly running on some crazy powerful pc...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IGDetail
IGDetail

6881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Chicago transit is having enough problems without grievances over a video game. It's a business, pure and simple. There's no law created here that's stopping Take Two from taking their ads elsewhere. On another note, why does gameplay look better in the commercial than they do in the game? Can I sue for false advertising?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for bizuit
bizuit

557

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Take Two was never charged! "After the ads were pulled, the CTA said Take-Two would not be charged for the aborted campaign" So that means they still have the money to invest, well because they never exchanged hands.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for klugenbeel
klugenbeel

1000

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

Hey Chicago, great job at putting those public officials in charge, they just cost your tax money a law suit. Want to rethink things before your public screw up even more?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for CharlieFubar
CharlieFubar

703

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Good to see Take Two getting proactive for a change... I always wondered why they "sat there and took everyones crap". I'd have sued and countersued any crap group that got in the way of my awesome game... Chicago - your taxpayers dollars are belong to TTwo.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for LausDomini
LausDomini

57

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

What's outrageous is the filth in GTA IV.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Sheiko
Sheiko

438

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Someone paid in advance and only got 5% i think Take Two at least deserves their money back. Keyword Contract.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chiller420
chiller420

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

pwnd

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Thesimsfrk111
Thesimsfrk111

188

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 25

User Lists: 0

I agree with the CTA on this one...after all, they don't HAVE TO put up the ads if they don't want to. It's their buses etc.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chancellor28
chancellor28

406

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

They pulled that add because it was GTA, Take Two better win. Its Insane that as an adult i can see all sortsa violence on TV 14 or TV MA (which can be blocked on my cable box if needed. You can block Games as well on the Xbox of certain ratings. Why all this nonsense and censorship.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for McGregor
McGregor

505

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This got a bit confusing. they pulled the ad because of complaints from a game that came out 4 years ago? isn't it a little late for that? This is one of the situations that Take-Two needs to just leave it alone. Yeah, they pulled your ad, it sucks, move on and continue to make your millions off of a game that needs no advertising.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Zikar
Zikar

175

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

jfpl138 hit the nail on the head. They never should agreed to the contract in the first place.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Windblade91
Windblade91

4343

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

ugh god..plz...as much as i agree dont do it..if they lose theyll take the money from workers -.-'

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sean_ph
sean_ph

116

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm unclear on this since I'm not American but is the CTA's property also city property?

Upvote •