August 17th, 2006

Rockstar Won't Be Bullied in Court By Strip Club

These days, Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two Interactive seem to get more court time that the average NBA team.

Gamasutra is reporting that E.S.S. Entertainment, owners of the Play Pen, a Los Angeles "gentleman's club," filed suit against Rockstar in April 2005 for trademark infringement over the inclusion of a strip bar in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas called the Pig Pen.

At issue was the Pig Pen's similar awning and logo (both pictured) which, like those of the Play Pen, feature the nude silhouette of a female dancer in the stem of the first letter "P". Additionally, the GTA Pig Pen's exterior displayed the words "Totally Nude," a phrase also used by the real-world Play Pen.

AE: Maybe things are different up in L.A. but down here in San Diego, all the strip clubs feature the words "Totally Nude" somewhere on their signs. I only know this because I, um... can see them from the freeway.

Displaying a clear grasp on the concept of parody, Judge Margaret Morrow said in her ruling, "Any visual work that seeks to offer an artistic commentary on a particular subject must use identifiable features of that subject so that the commentary will be understood and appreciated by the consumer."
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Judge in Louisiana Game Case Issues Deadline, Promises a Ruling

The federal judge presiding over ESA/EMA vs. Foti, the video game industry's constitutional challenge to Louisiana's new video game law, has indicated he will rule soon on the industry's request for a preliminary injunction.

Federal District Court Judge James Brady held what is known as a "status conference" yesterday in his chambers. Representing the video game industry were local attorney James Brown and lead attorney Paul Smith, who was conferenced in via speakerphone. Smith (left) has enjoyed a string of victories on behalf of the video game industry of late, including big wins in Ilinois, Michigan and Minnesota.
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