Take Two Sues Chicago Transit Over Pulling of GTA IV Ads

May 5, 2008 -
Reuters is reporting that Grand Theft Auto IV publisher Take Two Interactive is suing the Chicago Transit Authority over the CTA's recent decision to remove ads for the game from its vehicles and facilities.

As reported by GamePolitics, the CTA pulled the ads about a week before GTA IV launched. The move followed a sensationalistic Fox News report which seemed to draw a linkage between GTA and a rash of local shootings. From Reuters:
Take Two accused the authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a $300,000... ad campaign agreement that included running "Grand Theft Auto 4" poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June.

The suit seeks an order for the transit authority to run the ads as well as monetary damages of at least $300,000.

GP: Congrats to Take Two for standing up for its rights. Let's hope they bring the same kind of legal pressure to bear on Miami-Dade Transit as well. There, GP readers will recall, Jack Thompson pushed the agency into removing ads from Miami bus shelters.

Comments

hayabusa75: No, it wouldn't. The CTA, as far as I know, is under no obligation to accept all ads. They can refuse ads for any reason. Freedom of Speech does not mean right to advertisement through government services. This case seems to be about a breach of contract and a breach of contract alone. Even if the CTA is forced to run the ads and pay Take-Two (which they will...there's no way they're getting out of this one), there's nothing stopping them from refusing ads in the future.

While the Reuters article mentioned freedom of speech, I doubt you can make a case here.

I'm sure all of you are having a riot, but I am NOT in the mood to see the CTA paying out more taxpayer dollars. I already have a terribly slow ride to work because Chicago and the state doesn't fund the CTA enough, now it's going to be even worse off.

Come on. Why does T2 need to sue for damages above 300k? Just get the money back from the ads not going up and stop there. Settle it fast so WE TAXPAYERS are not shelling out money for lawyer fees. Am I the only one who thinks this is out of line on T2's part?

Again, get the 300k back if they won't run the ads, stop there. Stop costing Chicago commuters and taxpayers money. It has to come from somewhere, everyone seems to forget that when it's all about the righteous (more like sleazy) fight to defend T2.

And while Take Two is at it they should make Manhunt 3 way more violent then the other 2 and use the Amendment to release the game for retail uncut to let people like Jack Thompson know that they will not mess with adults rights.

And here I said the industry needs to grow a pair.

Well done Take-Two 2! Maybe more will follow suit?

@Tim Kowalenko

Will he ever pass for a First Amendment Attorney again after that?

The CTA has banned some ads from their buses based on objectionable material before.

IMO the buses suck. I'm more for improved trains and elevated rail infrastructure.

Overdue

Go get 'em T2!! It's like watching your favorite team's coach go over and yell at the refs for making a horrible call. Yeah, it's overdue, but I'm sure Zelnick was busying counting money from all the sales he got from the free advertising.

YES! TO ALL THOSE WHO SAID THIS DAY WOULD NEVER COME, WHAT HAVE YOU TO SAY NOW?

About fucking time

Thompson had filed a complaint with the CTA as well.

http://www.pal-item.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080504/NEWS01/80504...

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptReuters is reporting that Grand Theft Auto IV publisher Take Two Interactive is suing the Chicago Transit Authority over the CTA’s recent decision to remove ads for the game from its vehicles and facilities. As reported by GamePolitics, the CTA pulled the ads about a week before GTA IV launched. The move followed a sensationalistic Fox News report which seemed to draw a linkage between GTA and a rash of local shootings. From Reuters: Take Two accused the authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a $300,000… ad campaign agreement that included running “Grand Theft Auto 4″ poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June. [...]

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! We need to see more of this!

I don't think this means much. This isn't a suit over freedom of speech, it's a very valid suit the city is going to get raped in because of a breach of contract.

...And then King Richard and the Toddler are going to whine for more money while Emil Jones says he of all people needs and deserves a pay raise. Ain't life in Illinois and C(r)ook County grand?

Why isn't the ESA involved in with this?

@JQuilty:

Perhaps not, but the end result may very well serve the ends of free speech anyway, so it's still significant.

YES!!! This, this right here is the begining the time when game companies will stand up for their rights and not take this kind of bullshit! This is a momentous day for gamers everywhere, The day we stand up and say, We won't take this anymore We are Gamers and we are powerful and nobody, NOBODY fucks with us!

Damn it. I live way downstate IL and I already had to bail out the CTA once. If I get taxed again because of this, you guys owe me! :P

I am so sick of Chicago politics dictating the rest of the state.

@Zerodash

Because they have no balls.

WOOHOO go TakeTwo!!!!!!

Oh and we should get a cooler name than "gamer". It doesn't sound too good when we're tearing ass across victory lane. Yeeeeeah boy!

After years of careful fertilization efforts, and soil testing, experts have finally succeed in making the gaming industry grow a pair.

Oye, finally T2 shows some backbone!

Now if only they would get around to getting on JT's case for blatently ignoring his agreement with them more times than i care to remember.

You know, I saw that video of the Fox segment. They somehow linked the ads, none of which are even remotely violent, to several shootings. Somehow, this was the Governor's fault because he didn't turn down a $300,000 increase in city revenue....

The whole thing's ridiculous.

Good. It sounds like CTA is in clear violation of contract.

Well hell... go Take-Two! It's been said before, and I'm going to bloody say it again, it's about Goddamn time.

@JQuilty:

Are you sure about that? Most transit authorities are creatures of state legislation and are, therefore, quasi-government agencies. If a quasi-government agency refuses to host an advertisement solely because of its content, that could well be in violation of the First Amendment.

JackDon'tKnowJack: Yes, the CTA is operated by the city of Chicago. However, they are under no obligation to give me publication. This is like me suing Dennis because he wouldn't post an editorial I wrote. The issue is breach of contract, which the city is clearly going to lose in.

Don't get me wrong, I think the whole ad controversy is nothing but nonsense perpetuated by Faux News and self proclaimed culture cops like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Jack Thompson, but freedom of speech doesn't mean right to publication.

However, I am not lawyer, just a schmuck who knows a bit on this, so it's possible I'm wrong, like if Chicago has an ordinance that prohibits this type of discrimination on ads.

@JQuilty:

In 1993, a US District Judge in Boston ruled that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's "G-rated" advertising policy violated the US Constitution. The advertisements in question dealt with the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. The federal judge stated that a transit service "cannot open its transit car doors to public service advertising and hang only its favorite posters." The judge noted that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority had concurrently accepted advertising for the R-rated movie, Basic Instincts. With respect to "protecting" children from inappropriate advertisements, the judge wrote, "that concern evaporates on examination because shielding children from [the] advertisements is insufficiently compelling to justify the resulting limitation of speech."

JackDon'tKnowJack: Thing is, that was a public service announcement, not an advertisement. It sounds like the judge simply pointed out a double standard, and that the MBTA wasn't following its own rules.

@JQuilty:

And your comparison to Dennis and GP fails because GP is wholly private. Transportation authorities are not private; they are an arm of the government.

Jackdon'tknowjack: Maybe, but I feel it's a good example of the freedom of speech not meaning right of publication.

@JQuilty:

PSA or commercial advertising, it doesn't matter. You'll notice that the court took pains to point out commercial (i.e., non-PSA) advertising for an R-rated movie which was also on the MBTA's buses. The same objectionable double-standard applies in this case. The important point is that it was content-based speech regulation by a government entity and that's just a straight-up no-no under the First Amendment.

@JQuilty,

There was that successful lawsuit against the CTA for not allowing marijuana discussion ads. They won on the grounds of discriminating viewpoint.

The judge was pointing out that the MBTA wasn't following it's own rules, which is why it was a violation of free speech.

I can't find any case that says they have to, even the one you and GP have cited. From the source GP cited:

"As a government agency, they shouldn't have the right to [b]pick and choose what opinions[/b] they allow to be advertised,"

The 1st Circuit found that although the MBTA's advertising guidelines are "viewpoint neutral" and constitutional, its rejection of the three Change the Climate ads was unreasonable and amounted to "viewpoint discrimination."
"
The court did find, however, that the MBTA advertising space does not constitute a public forum, as had been claimed by Change the Climate."

http://www.changetheclimate.org/news/2004/12/2/mbta.php

The issue in the MBTA case was the MBTA not following it's own rules and rejection based solely on viewpoints clashing.

About time!

Time to shut Johnny Bruce Thompson's fear mongering efforts down...

@JQuilty:

"Rejection based solely on viewpoints clashing" is another way of saying "content-based speech regulation."

No, it's them rejecting it because they don't like the message. Again,

The 1st Circuit found that although the MBTA’s advertising guidelines are “viewpoint neutral” and constitutional


The court did find, however, that the MBTA advertising space does not constitute a public forum, as had been claimed by Change the Climate.”

About...damn...time!

I was predicting this could happen. I've also noticed some of the ads are still up and I live in Chicago.

@JQuilty:

"Rejecting [advertising] because [a goverment entity] doesn't like the message" is yet another way of saying "“content-based speech regulation.”

About damn time the counteroffensive began, but better late than never!

Now let's kick some ass!

@JQuilty:

Either way, and putting aside the fine details, I'm sure we can agree that the First Amendment is of some relevance to the discussion of a transit authority's ability to refuse advertising based solely on its content. No?

After this it'll probably go back to the way it was earlier with the inaction. Just watch.

Good to see that the game industry is finally fighting back. If they keep this up, people may actually have to begin taking them seriously, and people like Jack Thompson will be out one ill-informed moral crusade.

Took long enough...

----
Papa Midnight

this really isnt a first amendment issue its a simple breach of contract

Watch JT try to claim he's helping the city avoid having to pay.

JackDon'tKnowJack: I have to disagree. As I've said, freedom of speech is not the right to be published. Most transit authorities have ad guidelines. Breach of contract and selective enforcement are not first amendment issues.

JQuilty:
I'm not sure if you already know this but from what I've seen from your previous comments it raises some doubt. But, if you have then this is for everyone else

The issue isn't on free speech, it's on a violation of a contract. Yes, Chicago Transit DOES have the right to refuse any ads that they don't want to have on their buses, but they had already signed a contract saying that they would have the ads in the designated time. BY taking these down they violated this contract and Take Two has every right to sue them.

Also, Jack claiming "free speech hate" or something stupid in 3, 2....
 
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