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Take-Two settles "Hot Coffee" lawsuits

Thu 08 Nov 2007 11:22pm GMT / 6:22pm EST / 3:22pm PST

Take-Two has announced a proposed settlement to class action litigation related to the "Hot Coffee" controversy

Take-Two has announced a proposed settlement to class action litigation related to the "Hot Coffee" controversy.

Back in 2005, the company was sued after it was revealed that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contained a "Hot Coffee" pornographic mini-game.

Under the proposed settlement, which must be approved by the court, neither Take-Two nor Rockstar Games admits liability or wrongdoing.

"If the case had continued, we believe the court would have agreed that Take-Two was not liable for consumers acting independently to modify their games with third-party hardware and software to access normally inaccessible content," said Take-Two CEO Ben Feder.

"Nonetheless, we believe it is in the best interest of the Company to avoid protracted and costly litigation to prove our case and to finally put this matter behind us."

Consumers will be able to exchange their original versions of the game, re-rated AO by the ESRB when the content was revealed, for M-rated versions. They may also be entitled to a USD 35 cash payment if they can provide a proof of purchase.

According to Take-Two, to qualify for benefits consumers will have to swear that they: "(a) bought a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas before July 20, 2005; (b) were offended and upset by the ability of consumers to modify and alter the game's content using the third-party Hot Coffee modification; (c ) would not have bought the game had they known that consumers could modify and alter the game's content using the third-party Hot Coffee modification; and (d) would have returned the game, upon learning the game could be modified and altered, if they thought this possible."

Take-Two said it will spend at least USD 1 million in settlement benefits, with its total out-of-pocket costs capped at USD 2.75 million. Those costs do not include the plaintiff's legal fees, which Take-Two has agreed to pay.

Full details, including the requirements for receiving a replacement disc or a refund, will likely be disclosed after the court has approved the settlement later this month.

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