2:06pm PT by Eriq Gardner
'Grand Theft Auto' Maker Sues Over BBC Film
Take-Two Interactive, whose Rockstar Games unit publishes Grand Theft Auto, says it has gone to court against the BBC over a film titled Game Changer, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton.
The game company told IGN that it has filed a lawsuit to ensure its trademarks "are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games."
The film is described as covering the real-life conflict between Rockstar and Jack Thompson, an activist infamous for several lawsuits that objected to the violence in Grand Theft Auto. In response to the litigation, Rockstar asserted First Amendment rights.
Now, Take-Two is claiming that the BBC's movie infringes its intellectual property, though the substance of its arguments remain vague. The company wouldn't provide a copy of the complaint that it had filed against BBC.
If a lawsuit that objects to a film covering a First Amendment battle isn't sufficiently on the wild side, the complaint comes as Take-Two and Rockstar are still in court defending themselves against Lindsay Lohan's allegation that Grand Theft Auto V ripped off her image and persona.
In that dispute, Take-Two has sought to sanction Lohan for filing a frivolous lawsuit and has told the judge, "Artistic works like GTAV simply cannot form the basis for right of publicity claims under either New York law or the First Amendment."
Lohan is suing on rights of publicity grounds while Rockstar is suing for trademark infringement, but the free speech principles are similar. In many circuits, courts apply something known as the "Rogers test," which examines whether there's "artistic relevance" in creative works making use of someone's trademark.
The maker of Grand Theft Auto has roger-dodgered this lawsuit over to London, which has its own way of establishing fair use of another's trademark.
According to IGN, the film has already started shooting, with a broadcast scheduled for later this year.