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Category — “Inside Baseball”

Take Two Settles with Jack Thompson

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack ThompsonSettlementsViolent Game Law Cases

Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release (April 17, 2007)
Text of Amended Answer and Counterclaim (March 28, 2007)
- amended to remove all but one paragraph of the counterclaim
Text of Original Answer and Counterclaim (March 21, 2007)
Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

Take-Two and Jack Thompson have settled their GTA IV/Manhunt 2 suit and counter suit. Thompson has agreed:

  1. not to sue or threaten to sue over the sale and distribution of ANY game – not just Manhunt 2 and GTA IV as sought in the original complaint – designed, published, manufactured, distributed or sold by Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc.;
  2. not to threaten such suits; and
  3. to communicate with Take-Two only through its lawyers.

However, Thompson will still be free to criticize the content and distribution of such games and to represent third-party plaintiffs in actions against Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc. alleging individual harm.

Dale’s Comment: It is odd for a settlement to contain an explicit agreement to limit communication with an opposing party to communication through counsel as the rules of professional conduct in most jurisdictions specifically prohibit lawyers from communicating directly with persons represented by counsel.

CONTINUE READING →

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Jack Thompson Countersues Take-Two

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack ThompsonViolent Game Law Cases

Text of Amended Answer and Counterclaim (March 28, 2007)
- amended to remove all but one paragraph of the counterclaim
Text of Original Answer and Counterclaim (March 21, 2007)
Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

In response to last-week’s Take-Take-Two law-suit seeking to preemptively stop him from bringing suit:

  1. to stop the sale and distribution of Manhunt 2 (due out in the summer of 2007) and GTA IV (due out in October 2007); and
  2. seeking pre-publication review of the games;

as he did in the past with Bully, Thompson has predictably brought a countersuit accusing Take-Two of racketeering and violation of his civil rights.Astonishingly, Thompson, in the original counterclaim (subsequently amended), Thompson accused Take-Two of conspiring with prominent online gaming publications GamePolitics, Kotaku, Spong, Joystiq, Gamespot, IGN, Game Informer, Electronic Gaming Weekly, Penny Arcade, and others to commit racketeering activities!Specifically, Thompson originally claimed that such “conspiracy” violated section 18 USC 241 which states, in part:

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in ny State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or njoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;… They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

Wow, this is, err, novel! As noted by GamePolitics.com, however, Thompson subsequently amended the counterclaim from 20 pages down to the following single pargraph:

If the court finds that it has jurisdiction over this matter, it should review the video games in question, allow a review of those games by this defendant and then hear argument if requested by this defendant as to wherein the Plaintiff should be enjoined from distributing video games to minors.

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Take Two Seeks to Enjoin Thompson From Brining GTA IV & Manhunt 2 Suits

Categories: "Inside Baseball"InjunctionsJack ThompsonViolent Game Laws

Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

In response to pre-existing threats form Jack Thompson, Take-Two Interactive has preemptively asked the Southern District Court of Florida to provide declaratory and injunctive relief against Jack Thompson to stop him from bringing suit:

  1. to stop the sale and distribution of Manhunt 2 (due out in the summer of 2007) and GTA IV (due out in October 2007); and
  2. seeking pre-publication review of the games;

as he did in the past with Bully. In the words of the complaint:

…declaratory relief is especially necessary here because Thompson has a history of making multiple threats of legal action, whether substantiated or not, both against Plaintiff as well as the retailers who purchase the video games and offer them for sale to the public.

Dale’s Comment: Interestingly, the firm representing Take-Two in this action, Blank Rome, LLP, is the same firm that previously had sought to have Jack Thompson held in contempt of court.

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PS3 vs. Xbox 360 Head to Head, PS3 Reviews and other Miscellanea

Categories: "Inside Baseball"New Tech

Game sites are doing head-to-head comparisons of the two Next Gen systems. They take games developed for both systems, run them side-by-side and create either side-by-side videos or pictures where you can see the differences:

Other PS3 Video Issues:

  • Joystiq (Motorstorm – What Sony promised at E3 2005 and what it delivered)
  • Joystiq (PS1 and PS2 video quality is worse on the PS3 vs. original Xbox games which look better when played on the Xbox 360)

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Newsweek Alleges Kutaragi Dropped the Ball on PS3 3rd Party Exclusives

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Industry Contracts

In this third part of a very interesting 3-part “inside baseball” article, Newsweek alleges that Kutaragi dragged his feet on signing third party exclusives for the PS3 while Microsoft was aggressively pursuing exclusives from third parties such as EA (FIFA), Konami (Winning Eleven) Take-Two (Bioshock) and Ubisoft (the next Splinter Cell). Famously, Sony lost its Grand Theft Auto exclusive with Take-Two and Rockstar Games. And Assassin’s Creed, long assumed to be a PS3 exclusive, has now been confirmed to be under development for the XBox 360.

Sources: Newsweek

Discussed: 1Up.com

Related Posts:

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Massive Black Sues Ex-Employees for Pilfering Development Business, Fraud, Etc.

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Criminal ProsecutionsEmployment Law CasesMisc. Contract CasesNon-Compete CasesUnfair Business Practice Casses

Massive Black is suing its former employees James Xi Zhang and Jenny Chen for interference with contractual relations, fraud, unlawful access to computer network, trespass, breach of contract and interference with prospective business advantage. Massive, a game-art and design subcontractor for games such as Killzone 2, Helgate: Longdon and Battlefield 2142, alleges, among other things, that Zhang and Chen, while still employed by Massive Black, competitively bid on projects from Massive’s customer, without Massive’s knowledge, won the contract and used Massive’s resources (equipment and development personnel – while still on Massive’s payroll) to work on the pilfered projects. Massive also alleges that up to $150,000 was siphoned out of the company using inflated expense reporting.
 
Sources: 1Up.com  |  Discussed in the April 14, 2006 “1Up Yours” Podcast (Time Index 48:15-52:15)  |  Gamasutra

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Top 20 American Game Publishers

Categories: "Inside Baseball"

Next Generation Feature: The top 20 are: 1. Electronic Arts, 2. Nintendo, 3. Activision, 4. Sony, 5. THQ, 6. Take-Two Interactive, 7. Ubisoft, 8. LucasArts, 9. Vivendi Games, 10. Konami, 11. Microsoft, 12. Namco Bandai, 13. Sega, 14. Midway, 15. Atari (Infogames), 16. Capcom, 17. Buena Vista Games, 18. Eidos (SCI), 19. Square Enix, and 20. the rest.
 
Source: Next Generation

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“EA Spouse” Revealed to be Erin Hoffman

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Employment Law Cases

The “EA Spouse”, has been revealed to be Erin Hoffman, wife of programmer Leander Hasty. She shook up the video game industry in November, 2004, when she posted this anonymous letter as an “EA Spouse” on the Live Journal Blog. In it she detailed the harsh working conditions of EA Employees. The post led to three class-action lawsuits (two of which have settled) against Electronic Arts and other big video game companies.

Sources: San Jose Mercury News 1 | San Jose Mercury News 2 | 1Up.com

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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Develop Magazine Names the Top 100 U.K. Power Video Game Development Studios

Categories: "Inside Baseball"

Develop Magazine has named the top 100 game developers in terms of U.K. sales performance and year-to-year achievements. EA Canada is listed as the number 1 studio. Pandemic, Konami, Maxis, Nintendo, Ubisoft Montreal, Polyphony, Traveler’s Tales and Sony London round out the top 10.
 
Sources: Next Generation  |  Joystiq

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Jack Thompson Files $1M Harassment Lawsuit Against Florida Bar

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson has filed a $1,000,000 harassment lawsuit against the Florida Bar. Specifically, in this complaint, Thompson alleges that: (i) the Florida Bar has participated in a civil conspiracy, collaborating with complainants who have filed SLAPP bar complaints against him to shut him up; and (ii) Rule 4-8.4(d) of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct, as interpreted by the Florida Bar, impinge on his First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights. Thompson had previously claimed in a letter to the the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida that: “The Florida Bar and its agents have engaged in a documented pattern of this illegal activity, which may sink to the level of criminal racketeering activity, in a knowing and illegal effort to chill my federal First Amendment rights“.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | North Country Gazette | GameSpot | MTV | Gamasutra

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The Hot 100 Game Developers

Categories: "Inside Baseball"

Next-Gen.Biz has gathered together the names and bios of the 100 game developers they believe are the most influential in shaping the 2006 game industry.

Source: Next Generation

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Game Boss Shelley Day Jailed

Categories: "Inside Baseball"

Shelley Day, former boss of games publishers Hulabee and Humongous Entertainment has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of defrauding the Asia Europe Americas Bank of Seattle of more than $1.5 million.

Sources: Next Generation | GameLaw.org | Next Level Gamingg | Mortgage Fraud Blog

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