Grand Theft Auntie: Video Game Maker to Sue BBC Over Rights Infringement

Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive
Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive

The parent company of Rockstar Games, developers of Grand Theft Auto, is suing the BBC over an upcoming film telling the story of the creation and phenomenal success of the best-selling action video game series and legal censorship battles which followed. The Edinburgh-based company is bringing the case against the British public-service broadcaster for trademark infringement.

In a statement released to IGN, Rockstar Games said it has launched the action to ensure “trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events.” It continues:

“We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary.”

The game has attracted a great deal of controversy for its adult nature and violent themes that enables users to enjoy a virtual life of crime. Criticism has focused on the games’ alleged sexism and racism as well as graphic depictions of sex, torture, drug-dealing and drink-driving.

The film will depict the court fights between the company’s British co-founder Sam Houser and Jack Thompson, the born-again Christian lawyer and activist from America. Former Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, is playing House and Hollywood star Bill Paxton his opponent. The film is due to air later this year at the same time as a season of BBC programmes on the theme of computer coding.

The BBC says it does not comment on legal matters.