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L.A. Sues 'Grand Theft Auto'

27 Jan, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Entertainment and Rockstar Games, creators of the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The suit, filed Jan. 26 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges the manufacturers failed to properly disclose the presence of pornographic content in the game.

San Andreas, released in October 2004 with an “M” (mature) rating, allows players to “engage” in a variety of virtual criminal acts, including murder, pimping, home invasion robbery, tagging and drug dealing. It was later discovered that within the game characters could be made to engage in sexual acts.

The game was re-rated to “AO” (adults only) by the video game ratings board, but not before 12 million copies had been sold.

“Greed and deception are part of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas story, and in that respect its publishers are not much different from the characters in their story,” said Delgadillo. “Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products, whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume.”

In addition to the possible violation of two state business codes that each carry maximum penalties of $2,500, Delgadillo is asking the publishers “to disgorge” a portion of the game's profits. The city attorney's office estimated sales of San Andreas in the state have topped $10 million.

Representatives from Take-Two and Rockstar were not immediately available for comment.

Rockstar Games initially said the pornographic content was the result of third-party modification and that the explicit scenes were not playable in the retail version of the game unless the user downloaded and/or installed special software. Rockstar has said it stopped manufacturing that version of the title and has begun working on a new “M” rated version of the game.

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