Lawyers Work Hard To Protect Us From Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee Mod. Your Cut? $5.

from the grand-theft-lawyer dept

Over two years ago, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas got into a bit of hot water over the "Hot Coffee" mod that allowed players to unlock a hidden mini-game that would then show characters engaging in (gasp!) consensual sex. Considering that the rest of the game was completely awash in acts of violence, which garnered it the appropriate "M" rating, all of the hubbub that arose over the mod seemed overblown, ultimately culminating in a class-action lawsuit against the game's publisher, Take-Two. Consumerist points to the recently released details of the settlement. What do you get? $5, if you don't have the receipt for the game -- for those that are more diligent about filing away their 2 year old video game receipts, $35. The lawyers' take? A cool million. In any case, here's some free advice for the much-anticipated next release in the Grand Theft Auto series, avoid lawsuits and don't hide the sex in the game this time.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Overcast, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:46am

    Nothing unexpected there..

    It makes me want to jump on Ebay now and find a version 1.0 of GTA. I still fail to see how you can claim 'damages' when you had to go out of your way to get to the content.

    It's like me suing a retail store because I tripped on a rug, when I went out of my way to walk on a rug in a back storage room..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    ITGuy, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    They can keep my $35

    Just like all the other GTA games I enjoyed playing SA on the PS2. After I heard about the hot coffee mod I aquired a copy of the PC version and tested it out. I really dont see the big deal. The game was rated M which requires you to be 17+. Kids these days are going out and having sex at 15 or younger.

    The thing that really gets me, is its fine that the game lets you pick up a hooker, watch the car shake as your health goes up and you cash goes down, then get out and beat the girl with a bat (or any of the other weapons in the game), and take your cash back. But its wrong to show a little graphic nudity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dudr, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:11am


    "In any case, here's some free advice for the much-anticipated next release in the Grand Theft Auto series, avoid lawsuits and don't hide the sex in the game this time."

    exactly, have the sexual parts out there in the open.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    All this was was a payday for some lucky ass lawyer. (which realisticly probably plays the dam game.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Graychin, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Highwaymen of the Bar

    I despise some of the "conservative" tactics to limit plaintiffs' access to the courts, but something needs to be done about this kind of class action lawsuit where the lawyers get millions and the "injured plaintiffs" get next to nothing. I write letters of protest to the judges when my name pops up on a plaintiffs' list, but of course it never does any good.

    The lawyers' fees should be limited to one-third of the amount actually paid out by the defendant in the settlement. And coupons for future discounts don't count.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    germdove (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:42am

    There should be no controversy, Hot Coffee isn't even in the game unless you change the game code, which is certainly something you have to choose to do, and really isn't easy on any platform other than PC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Pro, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:47am

    Fucking Parasites

    They should put the lawyers into GTA4.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Michael, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:06am


    Try multiplying that $5-$35 dollars times the number of claimants and I think you'll get a much larger number in terms of total penalty against Take Two.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm horribly opposed to this atrocity ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Josh, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Way to go

    Gotta love our wonderful legal system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Lucy, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:48am

    Weak Lawsuit - Ambulance Chasing Attorneys

    By anyone's standards, this has to be described as a weak claim, at best. Even if the average player of this game is an underage boy, the game is rated M, and no underage child should be playing the game, but that's the parent's job. If I had children, GTA would not be in my house, although I have played it, and did derive some sick pleasure out of beating people up. I'm well into adulthood but some inner devil streak in me kept going back to the drunken bums and the transvestites and beating them up, over and over again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:50am

    Re: Fucking Parasites

    I'll second that. IP lawyers especially. Then we can go around beating the crap out of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Rajio, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 11:56am

    only in america

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    yeah, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 11:56am


    Wrong. Rockstar put "Hot Coffee" in the game (PC and console versions) in keeping with their "push-the-envelope" philosophy. Knowing that an AO rating was a death knell for sales, they disabled it all the while knowing that some modder would find it and re-enable the feature. It gave them what they thought was plausible deniability.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Jon, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    If Rockstar meant for it to be found and unlocked, they probably should have done a better job finishing it. From what I remember, the whole minigame was buggy and the animations weren't done. No, my guess is that they decided it wasn't worth finishing for whatever reason but running tight on schedule so they just disabled it instead of removing the code (which would have taken a lot longer.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Mike Schmitt (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 12:45pm

    Litigation Industry

    When will Americans get sick of the litigation industry that has sprung up in our Legal System? There are lawyers out there who have the money to advertise on national television about suing for mesothelioma and other tragedies and the lawyer makes money referring you to a local lawyer so that you can get in on a lawsuit that will net you a very small percentage of that settlement but will put millions of dollars in their wallet. Until this is seen as a mis-use of our legal system, we'll just have to put up with it, I guess...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Its like saying that since The Sims can have new skinned characters and those skins can be made to look like they are naked (call it the naked sim mod) so, we should sue them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    germdove (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re:

    So if it's in the game, you show me how to get to it with an unmodded copy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Lucretious, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    Trial Attorneys = parasite scum.

    All Attorneys = One level up on the food chain from the aforementioned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Highwaymen of the Bar

    Rofl, for the most part I agree, but you need to check your fact. The recent De Beers class action judge decided that the lawyers could take no more than 20%, and alot of judges do the same. There's not a static law about percentages anyway. And what happens to those attorneys if they lose? They're supposed to get a larger percentage if they win, because they get zip if they lose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Generic Lawyer, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:52am


    I'll take the case, you clearly have some sort of damages and money or something. Yea, lets go with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Chatterbox, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    Re: They can keep my $35

    Save your $35.00, good approach. Agree with your sentiments.

    On another matter, you are lucky I have a sense of humor and find you distracting. Otherwise, I would not be amused!!!! UNCLE already. It is really over the top.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Ancrman, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:40pm

    Class action

    This is fairly typical of class action settlements. The members of the class frequently get a distribution that's close to worthless, while the attorneys get substantial fees. It may be a coupon good for a few dollars off on your next purchase of another product from the company that made the defective product. My favorite was a class action against AOL for rounding upward to the next full minute when they were charging $3 an hour. My share of the settlement was one free hour, worth $3.00.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Barr.Alex Gbanga, Mar 15th, 2008 @ 1:13am

    Reply me

    Dear Sir ,

    How are you ? i got your contact through some body and i think we can work out things without any problem.

    I am the personal lawyer to Mr.Frank , a foreigner who used to work with an indeginous company here in Benin Here in after shall be referred to as my client.

    On the 25th of December 2003,my client, his wife And their three children were lnvolved in Plain Crash accident at Benin International Airport ,as soon as the plain take off it got problem and fail into the Ocean , All occupants of the plain unfortunately lost there lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives,this has also proved unsuccessful.

    I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the BANK of Africa SA Benin where the deceased had an account valued at about[$5,586,000.00 dollars] has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the funds confiscated within the next ten official working days.

    Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over a year. Now I Seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at [$5,586,000.00 dollars] can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money 50% 50%.

    I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we shall make. All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

    Thanks and Best Regard.
    Barr.Alex Gbanga.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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