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Rockstar Games takes BBC to court over Grand Theft Auto film

Rockstar Games parent company Take Two Interactive has filed a lawsuit against the BBC for trademark infringement on Grand Theft Auto, after reports of a new BBC documentary series called ‘Game Changer’, involving Rockstar’s president Sam Houser and anti-video games activist Jack Thompson.

Thompson is infamous in the video games community for trying routinely to have Grand Theft Auto and several other violent video games banned from the US.

"Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled 'Game Changer' as it relates to Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto video game series,” Take Two said in a statement.

"While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games."

The TV show is bound to show footage of Grand Theft Auto or mention the game. Knowing the BBC’s previous coverage when it comes to video games, it is clear Rockstar is worried the media group will portray GTA in a poor light.

The BBC plans to feature Daniel Radcliffe as Sam Houser and Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson. Owen Harris will be directing Game Changer and the script will be written by James Wood.

Take Two may be able to delay or even remove the show entirely, but if the BBC prevails it is set to air later this year. The controversy from the lawsuit might spark even more interest in the drama, similar to The Interview drama in North Korea, although slightly less intense.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.