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Category — Sexuality Cases

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Permanent Injunction Against ‘Safe Games Illinois Act’

Categories: DecisionsInjunctionsSexuality CasesViolent Game Law Cases

- 7th Circuit Court of Appeal Ruling ESA v. Illinois Decision (November 27, 2006)
- Lower Court Ruling in ESA v. Illinois Decision (December 2, 2005)
- Text of Rejected Act

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld the prior Illinois District Court permanent injunction against the implementation of Illinois’ “Safe Game Illinois Act” that provided for two new criminal laws, the Violent Video Games Law and the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law. Illinois had not appealed the Violent Video Games Law portion of the earlier decision. The Court of Appeal held that the Sexually Explicit Video Games Portion of the Law swept too broadly:

The game God of War… is illustrative of this point. Because the (Illinois law) potentially criminalizes the sale of any game that features exposed breasts, without concern for the game considered in its entirety or for the game’s social value for minors, distribution of God of War is potentially illegal, in spite of the fact that the game tracks the Homeric epics in content and theme. As we have suggested in the past, there is serious reason to believe that a statute sweeps too broadly when it prohibits a game that is essentially an interactive, digital version of the Odyssey.

Similarly, it seems unlikely that a statute is narrowly tailored to achieving the stated compelling interest when it potentially criminalizes distribution of works featuring only brief flashes of nudity.

The Court of Appeal also held that the portion of the law requiring a 4″ warning sticker in addition to the ESRB warning was not sufficiently narrowly tailored.

According to Next Generation (and other sources), the state has not yet paid the $150,000+ legal costs that the court awarded to ESA on August 12, 2006.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | GameDaily.biz | GamePolitics.com | ars technica | CNet| Chicago Tribune | First Amendment Center | Media Law Prof

GamePolitics Full Coverage of Illinois Game Law

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Granny Cohen’s GTA Class Action Suit Against Take-Two to Proceed

Categories: Class Action CasesSexuality Cases

In July of last year a concerned 81 year old grand-mother, Florence Cohen, filed a class action lawsuit against Take-Two for false, misleading and deceptive practices with regard to the hidden ‘Hot Coffee’ sex scenes hidden within the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. She had purchased the game for her 14-year-old grandson. A Manhattan federal judge has now denied a Take-Two motion to dismiss this, and four similar suits, which Cohen’s lawyers are consolidating into one. Take-Two and its subsidiary, Rockstar Games Inc., had argued that the plaintiffs could only file claims in the states where they resided, not all 50 states. In denying the motion District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram wrote:

“If class certification is granted, the court will have the benefit of a well-defined class and a more fully developed treatment of potential choice of law questions,”

Sources: Gamasutra | GameDaily.biz | GamePolitcs.com | TheState.com | Reuters | IGN.com | ars technica | GameSpot | New York Daily News | New York Post | ZDNet | Fox News (AP)

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

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Hot Coffee’s Effects on the Mod Scene

Categories: Featured ArticlesGame RatingsModding CasesSexuality Cases

This Gamasutra feature article is a very interesting article on the Effects of ‘Hot Coffee’ on the game modding scene. Mods can inprove and extend the life of video games but since Hot Coffee, there is a keen awareness of the liability that game modding can expose developers and publishers to.

Sources: Gamasutra

‘Hot Coffee’ Related Posts:

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Take-Two Receives Subpoenas Over Hot Coffee

Categories: Sexuality Cases

Take-Two received grand jury subpoenas issued by the District Attorney of the County of New York requesting production of documents, relating to: the knowledge of the Company’s officers and directors regarding the creation, inclusion and programming of hidden sex scenes (commonly referred to as “hot coffee”) in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office appears to be exploring the possibility of criminal charges against Take-Two or some of its employees.

Sources: GameSpot | ars technica | Team Xbox | Gamasutra | GameDaily.biz | GameIndustry.biz | GamePolitics.com | The Register | Red Herring | joystiq | Business Week | New York Times | Law.com (AP) | Times Online | Fox News | MSNBC | Forbes

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Louisiana Passes Second Video Games Bill – with ESA Support

Categories: New LawsSexuality Cases

Text of Law (SB 340)
Shortly after passing the more controversial, violent game bill (HB 1381), Louisiana has enacted a law, SB 340, that extends the state’s current list of sexually explicit material considered “harmful to minors” to be inclusive of video games in the same way the law extends to pornographic videos, books and magazines. Because the definition of “harmful to minors” deals exclusively with sexually explicit and not “violent” content, the bill will not be contested by the Entertainment Software Association.

Sources: GameIndustry.biz | GameSpot | GamePolitics | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | Digital Lifestyle | Gamasutra

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Oklahoma ‘Games As Porn’ Bill Signed Into Law – ESA to Fight It

Categories: Sexuality CasesViolent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

Text of Law (HB 3004)
Here we go again! This law redefines a list of items, such as hardcore pornography, which are deemed “harmful to minors”, to include video games which use “inappropriate violence”.The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence. Stores must keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The law ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence. The law is due to come into force on November 1, 2006. The ESA has already launched a constitutional challenge to the law which is likely to succeed based on the experience of similar challenges in other jurisdictions.

Sources: Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com | Governor Henry’s Press Release | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | joystiq
ESA to Fight: Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz | Next Generation | 1Up.com | ars technica | Business Week

Note: Oklahoma becomes the eighth U.S. jurisdiction to enact such a law. Previous laws in Washington State, Illinois, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Michigan were held unconstitutional. California’s video game law is currently under review. Minnesota’s bill was signed into law last week.

GamePolitics.com Full Coverage of Oklahoma ‘Games as Porn’ Law
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Take-Two/Rockstar Settle with FTC over Hot Coffee Mod

Categories: Game RatingsInvestigationsSettlementsSexuality Cases

Text of Consent Agreement
Under a consent agreement, accepted by the FTC in a 5-0 vote, Take-Two and Rockstar Games will be subject to civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation if they violate their agreement to: (i) “clearly and prominently disclose on product packaging and in any promotion or advertisement for electronic games, content relevant to the rating, unless that content had been disclosed sufficiently in prior submissions to the rating authority”; (ii) not misrepresent the rating or content descriptors for an electronic game; and (iii) “establish, implement, and maintain a comprehensive system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic game is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to a rating authority.”

Sources: FTC Press Release | Gamasutra | ars technica | joystiq | GameSpot | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | GamePolitics.com | ars technica | 1Up.com | CNet | San Jose Mercury News | TheStreet.com | CNN

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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ESA Supports Maryland Gaming Law Designed to Protect Minors from Obscenities

Categories: Sexuality Cases

In a move that is reminiscent of the tobacco industry ‘voluntarily’ providing health information on the dangers of smoking, the ESA made the surprising move today, of supporting a Maryland law making it illegal to show, advertise, or otherwise distribute obscene games to minors.
 
Sources: Gamespot  |  GamePolitics  |  GameDaily.biz  |  Next Generation

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ESRB Re-rates Oblivion to Mature Following 3rd Party Mods

Categories: Agency/Board ActionsGame RatingsSexuality Cases

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has changed the rating assigned to the PC version of Bethesda Softwork’s blockbuster video game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from T (Teen 13+) to M (Mature 17+), following the revelation of a topless game skin contained within modded versions of the game. The un-moddable Xbox 360 version of the game has also been re-rated to M ostensibly due to “Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence”. While critical of the decision, Bethesda has chosen not to challenge the ruling.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | GameIndustry.biz | 1Up.com | GameSpy | Washington Post | Reuters | San Jose Mercury News | The Inquirer | Joystiq | GamePolitics

Bethesda’s Response: Bethesda Press Release | Gamasutra | GameSpot | Next Generation | Team Xbox | GamePolitics

ESRB’s Response to Industry Criticism:GameDaily.biz

Dale’s Comment: Based on the facts as I understand them, this is regrettable. It is unclear why Bethesda should suffer as a result of third-party mods added into their game without their control. This ruling has the effect of requiring developers to make their games tamper-proof in order to avoid retroactive ratings changes based on the malicious behavior of others. This is very different from last year’s GTA Hot Coffee controversy where, despite early denials, it was later determined that Rockstar had, indeed, embedded unlockable sex scenes within the source code of the game. As far as we understand from Bethesda so far, this is not the case here. But, given the heat the ESRB took last year for its failure to quickly respond, I can somewhat understand this “shoot first, ask questions later” approach, as unfair as it may be to Bethesda.

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Take-Two Filing Reveals Multiple Lawsuits

Categories: Game Violence CasesSexuality Cases

Take-Two and Rockstar are facing a large number of legal proceedings revolving around the Grand Theft Auto franchise, with multiple lawsuits pending from, amongst others, the city attorney of Los Angeles, the family of police officers killed by a man allegedly influenced by the game and class action complaints in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Sources: GamaSutra | GameSpot | Next Generation | GameDaily | GameIndustry.biz

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Yet another Take-Two/GTA Lawsuit

Categories: Sexuality Cases

Text of Complaint
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo sued the makers of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” Thursday, claiming they violated state law by embedding ‘Hot Coffee’ sex scenes into the video game.

Sources: NBC 4 | Gamasutra | Next Generation | GameDaily | GameIndustry.biz | Good Morning Silicon Valley | GamePolitics | Reuters UK | Forbes | IGN | MTV.com | Inquirer | San Jose Mercury News | L.A. Times | San Francisco Chronicle | 1Up.com | ABC News

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Illinois District Judge Rejects Safe Game Illinois Act

Categories: InjunctionsSexuality CasesViolent Game Law Cases

Text of ESA v. Illinois Decision
Text of Rejected Act

In ESA v. Illinois, an Illinois District Court issued a permanent injunction against the implementation of Illinois’ “Safe Game Illinois Act” that implemented two new criminal laws, the Violent Video Games Law and the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law, finding that each violate the First Amendment.

Sources: Gamasutra | MSNBC | Chicago Tribune | CBS News | L.A. Times | Chicago Sun Times | Next Generation | Gamers.com | joystiq | ESA Statement

GamePolitics Full Coverage of Illinois Game Law

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EA Faces a Third Employment-Related Class-Action Suit in Florida (Tam Su)

Categories: Employment Law CasesSexuality Cases

Text of Tam Su Class-Action Complaint Within a week of EA's settlement of the Kirschenbaum class-action suit, Tam Su's over-time law suit emerges. The original suit was filed in February 2005 Sources: GamePolitics.com | Edge Online Activision (Canulti):

Activision (Erimez):

EA (Lender Hasty): EA Programmers

EA (Tam Su):

EA (Kirschenbaum): EA animators, texture artists, and modelers

Sony:

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Stanhouse GTA San Andreas Class-Action Suit Moved to Federal Court

Categories: Class Action CasesSexuality Cases

The most recent class action filed in St. Clair County over a controversial rating on a video game has been removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.”

Source: St. Clair Record

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Another GTA San Andreas Class Action Suit Filed (Stanhouse)

Categories: Class Action CasesSexuality Cases

Claiming her teen-age children were exposed to sexually explicit content in a popular video game, a concerned mother, Brenda Stanhouse, filed a class action lawsuit in St. Clair County Court against the promoters of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA).”

Sources: St. Clair Record | GamePolitics.com | Lunabean

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:


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ESRB Demands U.S. Game Publisher Audits For Hidden Game Content

Categories: Agency/Board ActionsGame RatingsSexuality Cases

In the wake of the hot-coffee controversy, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is demanding that US publishers complete a comprehensive audit of all titles released over the past year in a bid to crack down on hidden in-game content.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | The Register | Ferrago

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Hot Coffee Spills into Australia as GTA:San Andreas is Banned

Categories: Game BansSexuality Cases

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has been pulled from shelves in Australia after the increasingly censorious Office of Film and Literature Classification withdrew its rating in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal.

Source: GameIndustry.biz | Gamasutra

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Outraged Granny Sues over Grand Theft Auto (Cohen)

Categories: Class Action CasesSexuality Cases

Text of Cohen’s Class Action Complaint
In another hot coffee, motivated case, a litigious 81-year-old New York grandmother files suit against the game’s manufacturer for engaging in “false, misleading and deceptive practices”

Sources: The Register | Gamasutra | GameSpot | New York Daily News | GamePolitics.com

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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‘Hot Coffee’ FTC Inquiry Given Go Ahead

Categories: Game RatingsInvestigationsSexuality Cases

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 355 to 21 to support a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) inquiry into Take-Two Interactive/Rockstar Games, with the intention of discovering whether the company and its subsidiary attempted to deceive the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) over the sexual content of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to avoid an ‘Adults Only’ rating.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | The Register | 1Up.com | MSNBC | Gamespot | Yahoo! Games

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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GTA San Andreas Rerated AO, Take-Two Suspends Production

Categories: Game RatingsInvestigationsSexuality Cases

In the wake of the ‘hot coffee’ controversy, the ESRB slaps dreaded rating on controversial best seller. Take-Two lowers guidance; Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target pull game from shelves.

Sources: Gamespot | Gamasutra | CNN Money | Gamespot | PC Magazine | Joystiq | IGN.com | Forbes

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Confirmed: ‘Hot Coffee’ Sex minigame in PS2 GTA: San Andreas

Categories: Game RatingsInvestigationsSexuality Cases

Cheat unlocks preexisting code in controversy-rocked Grand Theft Auto game, undermining Rockstar Games’ claims of hacker mischief.

Source: Gamespot

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Topheavy Enjoined from Guy Game Sales

Categories: InjunctionsPersonality Rights CasesPolice ActionsSexuality Cases

Travis Co. District Judge Suzanne Covington granted a restraining order and, in January, granted a subsequent request for a temporary injunction against Topheavy. As a result, copies of The Guy Game have been removed from store shelves.

Source: Austin Chronicle

Related Posts:


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Take-Two, Topheavy, Sony, and Microsoft Sued over Topless Minor in The Guy Game

Categories: Personality Rights CasesPolice ActionsSexuality Cases

A young woman has filed suit against for including footage of her topless, taken during the annual spring break revels on Texas’ South Padre Island, without her legal consent. The woman was only 17 at the time, and therefore legally incapable of giving her consent to be in The Guy Game, let alone half naked.

Sources: Gamespot | EuroGamer | 1Up.com | The Register | XBox Addict | Statesman.com
Related Posts:

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Australian Office of Film and Literature bans Vivendi’s Leisure Suit Larry

Categories: Game BansPolice ActionsSexuality Cases

The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) took exception to the portrayal of sexual activity in the game.

Source: gameindustry.biz

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