Take Two Warns Jack Thompson Over Manhunt 2

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.

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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

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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

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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.

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