Take-Two Tells Jack Thompson Debate Promoter to Stop Using GTA Images

December 19, 2006 -
Last week, Jack Thompson told ABC's Nightline that he's out to destroy Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games.

Yesterday, attorneys for Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, fired off a letter to Wolfman Productions, a Connecticut firm which is promoting a college debate tour featuring the controversial Miami attorney.

T2's lawyers demanded that Wolfman immediately cease displaying a GTA San Andreas logo on the web page used to publicize the Thompson tour. By last evening, Wolfman Productions had apparently complied with the demand, as the GTA image is no longer visible. Remaining on the debate page, however, are well-known video game characters Duke Nukem, Master Chief and Lara Croft.

GamePolitics has not yet received a comment from Wolfman Productions, although, to be fair, it was after-hours when we learned of this situation via e-mail from Thompson. For his part, the Miami lawyer's response to the Take-Two cease-and-desist was typically vitriolic. An e-mail from Thompson to Take-Two's attorney read, in part:
Are y’all threatening CBS and ABC and Rolling Stone  and every gaming site and magazine in the universe, or just my college debate booking agent because you and your bullying company think they can get away with it?  

... I am going to have am absolute ball pointing out to the world that Take-Two, the self-righteous, great defenders of “freedom of expression,” simply CANNOT abide Jack Thompson’s agent using allegedly protected trademarks of Take-Two.  Freedom of expression my butt.  

By the way, we note that author Gerard Jones (Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes & Make Believe Violence) has been added to the Thompson debate tour. That's a step up from Bob Gucicone, Jr., whose connection to the video game issue was unclear, at best.

Comments

@ Carlos Ovalle

No. Read the letter that GP has linked to. The lawyers for TTWO are using trademarked logo law, NOT copyright. Copyright is an IP issue, and not mentioned. Trademark logos are not "tricky." They are used by permission only. The "Fair Use" clause of trademark law only covers issues where the trademark infringes on Free Speech.

In this case, TTWO is NOT infringing on the free speech of the debate promotor, they are simply not allowing the specific trademarked image (logo). This image is used by TTWO to show endorsement of a product, and is immediately recognizeable by consumers as such. When, in reality, TTWO/R* has nothing to do with this debate, other than a possible whipping post. So the Free Speech arguement clearly fails, because the debate promotor can stil advertise, host, and profit from the debate in every way excepting the small, narrow detraction of the specific logos that the lawyers attached to the letter.

Do you wonder why they removed the logo so quickly? Because it wasn't used with permission, and the debate promoter's lawyers know they couldn't use a free speech defense effectively. And most importantly, IT DOESN'T MATTER. The debate tour will go on, and all the publicity around this letter only helps market it.

And Jack Thompson knows this. He is getting paid for this tour, you know. Nothing like a little spite and flamboyance to stir up attendance.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

@ Prof Ding Dong

Great comment! He's a loser, a golddiger and an ambulance chaser! It's lawyers like him that give lawyers a bad name. The state of Florida has to take away his license to practice law.

@ Daniel

Though Jacky Boy has really been chasing hearses since 1997.

[...] Link to GamePolitics.com » Blog Archive » Take-Two Tells Jack Thompson Debate Promoter to Stop Using GTA Images [...]

Games don't kill people, guns do

oh wait, guns don't kill people, people do

i guess Jack Thompson should change his goal to destroying people

is it just me or does that person(dude???) next to JT look like they're planning on blowing up the earth

maybe he just wants rockstar to give him some money so he can go away and buy a 12 inch golden dildo to shove up his ass

don't you guys understand, he just wants to destroy rockstar for jesus so he can get into heaven

Rockstar should put him into the next gta game, and you can put a code in and bang this guy's ass in an alleyway, or someone should make a mod for sa, film it and then slap it on youtube

unamerican bastard, somebody strap him to a rocket and launch him over to iraq, maybe his mouth will divert their hate away

I don't think the issue here is the displaying of GTA logos on Jack Thompson's tour. It's what he said that disturbs me. He said that he wants to destroy Rockstar Games. He has to lose his license to practice law before he can do it. Rockstar Games is innocent and must be protected from the evil grasp of this madman. Another thing that deeply bothers me is that Jack Thompson managed to get on T.V. and go around the country with his lying case and that people are willing to listen to his raving lies and deceit. No one should listen to him. Where can I get an I Hate Jack Thompson T-shirt? I am starting to want one more and more.

I still fail to understand why those popular characters are used in the first place, they have no text... they're just there. they represent absolutely nothing at their current position, it's almost as though they want to treat these characters as un-official poster boys/girls. It's annoying as hell, and perhaps it's just to get a rise out of the gaming community, and possibly spur violence on it's part. And ultimately furthering THEIR cause. Furthermore, Mister JT is going the way of an annoying blister, just give it some ointment and it will eventually go away right? WRONG!! JT here is a bit more annoying than the other blisters, instead of just oozing pus, this one likes to yell and make fun of your mother (Figuratively of course). And like some of the more annoying of blisters, this one likes to re-appear from time to time just to make your life a living hell. The pain might be unbearable right now. But from what I can see it is far from un-endurable, for the time-being. So remain steadfast gamers.

--Fox out--

"You’re not quite right on this. Using someone else’s trademark or logo without permission to promote yourself for profit does not fall under “fair use.” At this point, I’m wondering if Eidos and Microsoft are aware of the violations occurring against their trademarked properties."

@dog welder

It depends almost entirely on how they are using it. Retailers use other's trademarks all the time when they advertise products. Be it selling Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, or World of Warcraft : The Burning Crusade. You think IGE hasn't been sent a cease and desist by almost every MMOG out there?

To me there is little difference between Take Two's letter to Wacky Jacky, and the recent episode we had of a company trying to quash a negative piece on a blog site.

My Name has been invoked again.

I feel loved. :p

Anyway, Yes, jack has a long history of such actions. Gamespot for example was threatened by him for not reporting his death threat claim without proof. Tom Busgilla, I think thats how it's spelled, was to debate jack and jack backed out in fear.

Liberty City Stories is another example. Mortal Kombat most recently to.

Jacks A loud mouth loser who hates losing, It's a shame thats all he's been doing for the past 12 months.

Regardless, odds are this debate tour will rapidly fall apart on itself no that someone who knows what the hell there talking about is lined up to debate jack. considering that jack was afraid to debate our buddy Tom, It's doubtful that he'd have a prayer against Gerard Jones either.

Oh what i'd give to be there with a bag of popcorn.

Sorry, all. Although I disagree with Thompson just about every time I've heard or read the man, I agree with Thabor: I think Take Two is wrong on this one, especially on the copyright allegation.

A profit motive does not immediately rule out a fair use under copyright or trademark law.

Criticism is specifically one of the things that fair use in copyright is supposed to encourage. Using copyright law to quash criticism is certainly a free speech issue.

Trademark is trickier, but there are certainly nomitive uses of trademarks that are legal.
 
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