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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Apr 2008 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    "The whole hot coffee thing basically got a "so what?" from the UK rating system folk"

    There's a very good reason for that. For some reason, Americans seem to have a section of society that abhors sex and nudity but worships violence. I remember when the whole Hot Coffee thing first hit, there was a grandmother who was outraged at "sexual content" being available in the game she bought for her 14 year old grandson. That's right, she was fine with a game featuring swearing, drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, murder and gang violence but was *outraged* at the existence of a short, non-interactive sequence involving 2 consenting adults having sexual intercourse that would be tame for an R-rated movie. This kind of puritanical obsession with the human body (like the Janet Jackson nipple incident) is sadly hilarious to the rest of the world.

    Now, the UK isn't an enlightened utopia by any means when it comes to censorship, but at least we have our priorities straight. The only 2 games ever to have had serious problems at the BBFC are Carmageddon and Manhunt 2 - both games controversial because of their graphic violence, not activities practiced by millions of adults every day.

    Oh, by the way you're right about the way the rating system works. Every movie, and any videogame likely to contain adult content, has to be rated by the BBFC in order to be legally released - there's no "unrated" here. The highest normal rating is 18 (the next lowest being 15). There is a higher rating, R18, but this is normally used for porn videos as the rating means that the product can only be sold is specially licenced sex shops - the BBFC has a very good website (www.bbfc.co.uk) if you want to look further. Also, 18 is the normal maximum age for most activities in the UK - we don't really use 21 for anything here (16 is the age of consent, 17 to drive, 18 to vote, drink, etc.)

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