Take Two Warns Jack Thompson Over Manhunt 2

August 31, 2007 -
The legal settlement between Manhunt 2 publisher Take Two Interactive and controversial attorney Jack Thompson continues to erode.

In June GamePolitics reported on the first sign of cracks in the April agreement between the parties (see: Take Two-Thompson Settlement Crumbling?). The relationship hasn't gotten any smoother in the interim.

An e-mail exchange between the anti-game activist and Gena Feist, T2's VP and Associate General Counsel, shows that Thompson was warned that the software publisher believed he was violating the terms of settlement. Thompson characterized Take Two's e-mails as "threats", writing:
Take-Two is threatening me because of the exercise of my rights, under our settlement agreement, to criticize the company's practices...

For its part, Take Two declined to comment.  

GamePolitics received the following copies of the e-mail exchange from Thompson. For readability and privacy reasons, GP has stripped e-mail addresses, cc's, signatures and the like from the originals.

While they provide a fascinating glimpse into the longstanding struggle between Thompson and Take Two, it's important to remember that there may be additional e-mails which we haven't received. Also, the exchange came to us cut-and-pasted into five e-mails from Thompson, which then had to be re-assembled in proper order. The sequence of time stamps between Thompson and Feist doesn't match up exactly. We're not sure what to make of that, but we've attempted to place the e-mails in what seems to be their correct sequence based on context.

The exchange was triggered by an e-mail Thompson sent to on Monday to Take Two chairman Strauss Zelnick, CEO Ben Feder, the Federal Trade Commission, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an attorney for Blank Rome, and GP.

-----------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson

Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 4:55 PM

Subject: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

Dear Mr. Zelnick and Mr. Feder:

Congratulations on receiving a "Mature" rating for Manhunt 2.  You'll live to regret it (trust me), so enjoy it while you can.

I want to bring to your attention the fact that at www.rockstargames.com anyone of any age can order Manhunt 2 and receive it, with no age verification whatsoever.  Asking a 14-year-old if he's 17 is not age verification, now is it?

You also know that the use of a bank card as an age verifier is a violation of all bank card agreements, right?

Govern yourselves accordingly, if you can.

Regards, Jack Thompson

----------------------------------

From: Gena Feist

To: Jack Thompson

Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 2:47 PM

Subject: FW: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

Mr. Thompson,Your statements regarding our practices are false, as you know or should have known.

The Take Two website verifies age in two ways. First, consumers who purchase M or RP rated games certify that they are at least 17 years of age. Numerous websites use the same method for verifying age in connection with sales of movies and games. Second, we verify age through the use of a credit card number in connection with a transaction. Such transaction based verification is acceptable to both credit card companies and the FTC (see, e.g. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/coppa.shtm).

We demand that you cease making these false statements about our online sales practices.  Your dissemination of knowingly false statements for the purpose of adversely affecting Take-Two's business is actionable and we reserve all of our rights under the settlement agreement and state and federal law.

Not only are your statements clearly false, but they were made in an email publicly disseminated to both the FTC and the press. Please be assured that I am happy to answer any questions you have concerning our practices in a private communications. It is for this very reason that our settlement agreement designates a legal contact for you at Take Two.

If you continue to make false statements to an audience of press and public officials, however, we will have no choice but to take action against you.

Sincerely,
Gena


-----------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson

To: Gena Feist (T2 NY)

Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 3:39 PM

Subject: Re: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

As you should be aware, credit cards cannot be used to verify the age of buyers. Kids have credit cards, and they use parents' credit cards. You have then got to be kidding me.

Take-Two is welcome to use age verification software that is available for on-line alcohol, firearm and other purchases of adult material. Stop lying.

Thanks

Jack Thompson, Attorney

-----------------------------------

From: "Gena Feist (T2 NY)"
To: "Jack Thompson"
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:30 PM
Subject: RE: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

Jack, give it a break. I am happy to answer your questions and correct any misapprehensions that you have but I will not engage in this type of discussion with you. I am not a liar, I didn't threaten you, and I wont get roped into this type of dialogue. Don't bother writing back because I will not answer any further communications along these lines.

------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: Gena Feist
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:28 PM
Subject: Re: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

Surely you are not taking the position that I am not allowed to communicate with the government about Take-Two's actions, are you?  If you are, then please know that that position renders the agreement unenforceable as a matter of public policy, since the law is settled that no agreement that restricts a citizen's petition rights to the government is enforceable. 

Are you seriously suggesting that an agreement that does not restrict me in that fashion does restrict me? Becasue [sic] if you are, then I have a new civil rights claim agains [sic] Take-Two.

Jack Thompson

-----------------------------------

From: Gena Feist
To: "Jack Thompson"
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

Jack,

I appreciate that you directed this message to me alone. In regards to your comments below, I understand that you disagree with the use of a credit card transaction as age verification but it is accepted by the FTC and the retail industry as verification of age.

You are on notice that we use two industry and government accepted forms of age verification. Please do not repeat your false claims publicly or make claims that I/the company are lying about this matter.

We entered into the settlement agreement because we did not want to engage in unnecessary litigation with you, but I assure you that we will enforce the terms of the agreement if necessary and that any suit will include a claim for our legal fees under paragraph 11.

Sincerely,
Gena


----------------------------------

From: "Jack Thompson"
To: "Gena Feist (T2 NY)"
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 6:17 PM
Subject: Re: Letter to Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick, Ben Feder Re Manhunt 2

What is wrong with you?  You threaten me with enforcement of the agreement, and I ask you how I have violated it.  Are you nuts?

Jack Thompson, Attorney

-----------------------------------

For all GamePolitics coverage of the Take Two-Thompson settlement, click here. You can also read the terms of the settlement and decide for yourself who's right.

Comments

"Are you nuts"

Wow, real mature....

so accusing the woman of being crazy and a liar is "toning it down" is it?

Wow just WOW!... Take Two even provides a link to the FTC about credit cards as an age verification and he still doesn't believe it. I think Jack has proved my a thought I had he doesn't read anything and just continues to spout off whatever he wants. Jack if you do happen to read this use your brain the next time you open your mouth it might help.

Yup, good old jack

petty petty jack

angry hatefilled and childish jack

i could go on.........



But seriously, what did jack hope to gain from sending the emails here? Clearly he knows we know he's a jackass, he doesnt need to prove it, his comments are doing that job for him.

@blackICE

WHile I admire your passion ,thats not the best way to present yourself as being rational. I know i'm not always the sainist voice in the crowd, as Dennis has reminded me of before, but thats going a bit towards the whole "Threat" zone.

Now, that being said, I gotta ask Jack thompson something.

Have you lost your mind?

It's bad enough that you act like an infant most of the time, but now, you have the nerve to start arguing about something that you've been proved wrong on, repeatedly?

Are you crazy? If take two wants to, they could likely bury you and end your legal exsistance, don't go starting another war. You've already got multiple bar complaints against you, your in the middle of multiple legal battles with the bar, now you want take 2 hitting you with another lawsuit?

Does the saying "don't bite of more then you can chew" Come to mind?

Back off jack, before you wind up regretting this.

That is pretty nuts. I was always a bit on the fence refarding Thompson and his shenadigans, but now I am a believer that the guys has a screw loose.
Gena seems to be articulate, reasonable and level-headed throughout this, whilst Jack comes off as some 15 year old flamer. Madness

Jack, take a break and try to think about what fights to pick, she's explained the legalities to you. Go find someone you can actually scare with your vague and unfounded legal inaccuracies.

JT, with his childish accusations and rantings. I really don't know why he thinks he's in the right here. Additionally, what kind of age verification does he want? Everyone uses credit card age verification, everyone uses the click through portals. They are standard industry policy (not just gaming, but other industries as well). It's VERY clear that JT is just trolling around trying to drum up more drama here. Seriously, he's nothing more than a 12 year old forum troll. It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.

This isn't at all surprising to me. If credit cards are indeed acceptable age verification by the FTC then Thompson has no legal leg to stand on. That he's been lying about that fact is hardly surprising either.

Mr. Thompson again I feel, as a Christian myself, that we are mandated to not bear (bare?) false witness.

I fail to understand why you seem to think that its alright to lie and diseminate false information about people you don't agree with. Aren't actions like those the very defintion of false witness?

@Yuki

Point taken. Still, i'd rather say it here than on a post that JT actually reads.

Hey, that picture of him at the top of the article. What's the bet he's playing Counterstrike on that?

And... hold on, I can edit that picture. You know, put a cowboy hat on him and give him a big red moustache..

@blackice

Guess your right about that one.

Additionally, who did he send the first e-mail to. It wouldn't surprise me if Zelnick and Feder are not part of the "designated contact person in Take-Two's Office of General Council." which would be a direct violation of paragraph 3 of their settlement.

whoever cleared this man at his psych evaluation needs to be shot.

Yep I've susses Jack out.

This is his ridiculous method of practicing law (no wonder why he lost all his cases and is being disbarred)

He's kicking at hornet's nests so he can point fingers during his disbarment, fortunately this wont work, and the more he does maybe, just maybe he'll look stupid enough that the general public will at last see him for what he is.

Jack is going down kicking and screaming, but he's going down, and thats what matters.


Bye bye jack! whats next for you? flipping patties at McDonalds?

@ jonc2006

Please, don't waste ammunition. Slow, painful torture will do.

Whether the "settlement" counts in the same manner, there are plenty of legal documents that exist that legally prevent individuals from making comments or taking certain actions. Documents which could be seen as violation the Freedom of Speech of individuals, yet are legally binding.

Certainly, Confidentiality Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements are such documents. And formal Gag Orders are also among them as well.

I also wonder if Ms. Feist also knows that John Bruce still sent out copies of those emails, even though he made it appear that he was communicating with her privately. So much for the "Trust Me" bit at the beginning of the tirade.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

i really hope he does go off and say something stupid. take-two would fucking crush him like the pathetic insect he is.

Wow - anyone want to take bets on how long it will take wacko-jacko to show up? You know what strikes me as curious? He keeps calling Dennis all kinds of things - he calls him everything from incompetent to an industry stooge. But he keeps sending him material, why send emails with Take2 to someone he thinks is incompetent? What's up with that?

If anyone here has ever read a letter from a lawyer (see all the emails authored by Gena Feist above) you have to be rather shocked at Jack's tone and rhetoric. It reads like a 12 year old Sony fanboy who you just told "Microsoft rules!" I hope the bar committee of whatever state he holds a license in gets a hold of this email chain. Lawyers are supposed to hold themselves out as professionals and act accordingly. He's a joke.

If using credit cards is a violation then why does alot of other sites from porn to ebay allow it? Also, wasn't there a time when certain senators were pushing myspace to use a credit card as verification for age???

You know, I really feel sympathy for his family. I wonder how many fights his kids have gotten into because they were teased about dear old dad?

Once again Jacko focuses on the real issues! We all know that it is impossible to find free hardcore pornography online! We all know that buying cases of alcohol online is impossible if you are under 21! We all know that buying prescription medicines online is impossible if you don't have a valid prescription!

Thank you Jacko for finding the real problems!

I can't quite tell for sure...


But that looks like a pretty nice computer monitor Jack's got there :)

@jadedcritic

Come on its obvious, jack has a crush on dennis, its typical schoolyard tactics, he keeps coming back hoping dennis will write something nice about him and prove he loved jack the way jack loves him.

Why the hell are these Emails public?

That is unreal. Jack, you'll live to regret that... trust me!

Mr. Kanders,
If you think his emails are bad, you should see his legal documents, if you haven't already.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

@chris

Eww.

@RJ

Okay, we all hate the man, but we don't have to bring his family into it. That's his tactic.

Feist shouldn't have responded personally but, rather, made a quick call to her legal department. He has broken the terms of the settlement and should be punished for doing so.

nightwng2000 « If you think his emails are bad, you should see his legal documents, if you haven’t already. »

I remember a few of them (made public by Jack himself). Those were a nightmare to decyfer.

I fail to see what is getting accomplished by making these emails public. Is this just a way of JT proving how he is "fighting the good fight"?

Perhaps its an insurance policy of sorts, so that when he gets disbarred (September, right?) he can point to these emails and claim it was TT who did it.

I don't understand, if the FTC allows Credit Cards as age verification (they clearly do, thanks to the link from Gena Feist), why does Jack continually blame TTWO? When, if he has an issue with this age verification (and he has a point there), why doesn't he direct his ire at the FTC, or write his legislators? Isn't that typically how people deal with problems? From the source?

His ability to either fail at reading comprehension, or his apparent blindness to contrary evidence is astounding. If only he was as skilled at truth ...

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

It's pretty clear what Thompson is doing here; he's laying a trap.

He intentionally sent inflammatory e-mails to Take Two and to members of the media and government hoping that Take Two would take the bait and blindly come out firing with both barrels.

Had Take Two jumped straight into litigation with Thompson, claiming that he violated the terms of their settlement agreement, Thompson would counter-sue them for curtailing his first amendment right to petition the government and would have sought damages.

It's just a legal game, and Thompson is clearly getting frustrated in later e-mails that Take Two isn't biting. That's why he tries more and more desperately to goad her.

Then TT would be hailed as heroes for killing off the last bastard in the "legal" system.

He accuses Gena of threatening him, but his first statement in his email is "You'll live to regret it." Unbelievable.

in before jack shows up and accuses denis of manipulating information sent to him.

This is getting ridicules, it is only a matter of time till Jack shows up here to complain about all the verbal bashing he is receiving whilst still claiming to be correct about all of his statements. When he does, it's going to be chaos...

and just when you thought he couldn't make himself look more like an idiot.

JT: "Take-Two is welcome to use age verification software that is available for on-line alcohol, firearm and other purchases of adult material."

I searched "buy guns" on google. The first site I came to, I put a Glock in the shopping cart and clicked "checkout". Then it asked me for shipping address and credit card number.

Unless there's some magical age-verification step just beyond that page that I don't know about, I think it's safe to assume that a credit card IS the age verification, INCLUDING FOR A FIREARM.

Dumbass.

I find the idea that Jack Thompson asked someone if they are nuts to be hilarious.

I'd love to stick around and tell Jack how wrong he is on this, but I'm in the middle of playing a first person shooter where when you kill the enemies, their guts splatter all over your view. Maybe later I'll play an RPG where the first thing you do is decapitate a person who doesn't agree with you. Who knows, maybe then I'll play a game where crashing cars isn't just encouraged, it's MANDATORY.

(a cookie to the person who figures out what games I'm talking about)

Holy crap they need to put this on TV; though if Jack Thompson was a fictional character I'd have a really hard time suspending my disbelief, how could a real person be so thick-headed.

I particularly like the part where he says "You'll live to regret it (trust me)"; I didn't know real people talked like that, is Jack Thompson a super-villain (it's not the first time he's said that either)? Then later when he goes on the accuse them of threats was kind of like the punch-line.

I can't wait for next week’s episode.

The problem is that Jack will NEVER be happy with a system that a child MIGHT CIRCUMVENT, MAYBE. At some point, parental responsability HAS to come in to play - it is not the publisher's problem if the parent is too farking Lazy or Stupid to care about what their child is buying, stealing, or playing.

Where is the line, Jack? Be precise please, and explain why it's not the parent's responsability. Also, please be precise why you're singling out video games and not movies, books, television, etc. Finally, explain how any such laws can apply to video games and NOT to the affore-mentioned types of media without violating equal protection. If you can do this without strawman arguments, personal insults, or other argumentative or logical fallacies, you might actually earn some credibility and respect (the respect you have claimed you deserve, but have never given to the gaming community - hypocrite much??)

Surely Jack's words in the email violate section of the settlement, in which Jack agreed not to threaten them, at all. i say he's violated his agreement.
also... imo, he's not so much a threat to gamers/ game companies any more, most of the people i know look upon hiim as a comic relief act.

God, I've seen 9- year olds give more mature responses than Jack in this. Right now all Jakie boy is doing is kicking and screaming. I've seen the same behavior in toddlers. Even when the parent points out that the baby is wrong, they still fuss and whine and cry.

@ Jack
Take Two did not threaten you. Judge yourself first. You threatened them. Then they responded saying
"We entered into the settlement agreement because we did not want to engage in unnecessary litigation with you, but I assure you that we will enforce the terms of the agreement if necessary and that any suit will include a claim for our legal fees under paragraph 11."
That is not a threat, that is just following the law...you know...that thing you, as a lawyer have to follow. This however, is a threat:

"You’ll live to regret it (trust me), so enjoy it while you can."

Yeah, quit threatening people, Jack. You're setting a bad example to your kids, whom I guarantee, will eventually see everything you ever wrote to someone. For example... http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson

So nice to know he hasn't found his marbles yet.

inb4 Thompson accuses me of having played Doom, of which I have not.

My big worry about his antics in all of this is that if T2 decide to pounce and sue him, his family will suffer for his actions. I'm happy to see him being disbarred. I'm less keen to hear of him being made bankrupt.

Age verification online is a new and hard to enforce area, in that sense JT is properly concerned. In most locations there is no law restricting the sale of rated games (or movies not calssified as pornography) so Take Two is in the right there and a lawyer should know that.

He has no real legal position for the lack of verification, but a conflicting personal point of view and a lawyer should know that. However the personal attacks against a staff member of Take Two shows just how much of a vendetta JT has against Take Two and will use scare tactics and risk breaking contracts to carry that vendetta out.

(This is all assuming the emails are accurate and JT sent them in so if they were editted to make him look more favorable then...just eep)

A growling creature
A painful tug on the leash
The dog learns it's place

Wow...he's so bored that he's actually DIGGING for things to come up.

Baiting T2 into falling into a legal trap is pathetic, Jack. Take up a normal hobby - you know, fishing, reading novels, playing video games...just do something! I'm honestly getting tired of watching you continually getting shot down.
 
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