Judge Decides That Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee Mod Didn't Deceive Shareholders

from the easter-eggs-remain-legal dept

Hidden "easter eggs" are quite common. These are little things hidden within software, often for the amusement of the programmers. In video games, it's often fun to try to find these hidden parts. It's really kind of a tradition for some. However, folks who didn't quite understand this freaked out a few years back, when the "Hot Coffee" mod/hidden content was revealed within the game Grand Theft Auto. This was a special modification to the game that would unlock a hidden part of the game allowing players to (gasp!) participate in consensual intercourse. It was such a big deal that various Senators proposed laws to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. And, there was even a class action for all those people "damaged" by this mod. And, because no moral outrage directed at companies is complete without a shareholder class action lawsuit, there was one of those as well -- accusing the company of somehow "misleading shareholders" with Hot Coffee. Luckily a judge has realized how ridiculous this is and has dismissed that particular claim in the shareholder lawsuit. Phew. Now software developers will be able to keep adding easter eggs and hidden content without a special explanation for all shareholders.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2008 @ 1:49pm

    America's censorship system in general is odd, in my opinion. The whole hot coffee thing basically got a "so what?" from the UK rating system folk (I'm not entirely sure, but I think any game/movie in the UK has to be rated, there's no "unrated" system here), since the game had already been rated 18 (which is the highest one we have... i.e. you have to be 18 to buy/play it). The fact that it was full of random, extreme (and hilarious) violence already knocked it up that high. Added sex (all sexual activity (except some forms which are banned from sale in the UK, some forms of BDSM etc...) is already covered under the 18 rating) doesn't bother them at all, and I'm sure I remember an official statement from the BBFC saying pretty much exactly that.

    Being in a country that uses this rating system, it's just weird to see that some consensual sex in a game full of murder can actually make it be rated higher. The fact that it was already rated "Mature" (which is 17 years old) and the push was to make it Adults Only (which I'm fairly sure is 18, but I guess at the most it's 21). 1-3 years makes the difference? That's ridiculous. So I can steal, assault and murder my way through a game safely at age 17, but having my character actively invited to have sex with his girlfriend, and I'm not mature enough to do it until I'm 18? Insane.

    And yeah, the whole "have to actively interfere to get to the sequence" thing should, to anyone with common sense, that fact alone should remove blame from anyone but the person who downloaded and installed the mod. The "accidentally kicked the DVD player" analogy doesn't work here. It'd work if it was "intentionally looking for a way to play pornography on the DVD player, finding an exact sequence of kicks, then performing them).

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