Special: A full report.
Jack Thompson and Take-Two have come to an agreement over their dueling lawsuits and, while there's no "winner" per se, it looks like Take-Two will come out of this unscathed while Thompson has had his megaphone taken away.
Under the terms of the settlement, Thompson and Take-Two have agreed to drop all pending litigation against each other. This includes Take-Two's petition to hold Jack Thompson in contempt of court for his conduct during the Bully case. This could have resulted in jail time for Thompson.
The rest of the settlement comes down to three specific points that stipulate what Thompson can and can not do in his future dealings with Take-Two:
1. Thompson may not sue or threaten to sue Take-Two in an attempt to block the sale of any Take-Two published or developed title.
2. Thompson can no longer threaten stores that sell Take-Two games or other companies that do business with the distribution of Take-Two games (i.e. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft for "allowing" Take-Two games to appear on their systems).
However, he is allowed to air his comments on the content of Take-Two titles and he may still represent any person who wishes to sue Take-Two for their own individual means.
3. Finally, all of Thompson's communications with Take-Two must go through a lawyer or other approved spokesperson. This means that we will no longer have the privelege of reading anymore of Thompson's "letters" to people he disagrees with.
So what does this mean? Well, for one, it looks like Grand Theft Auto IV and Manhunt 2 are in the clear for the time being.
It also may mean that Thompson is feeling the sting after police found no evidence the Virginia Tech shooter was a game player. In the hours after the shooting (before law enforcement even knew his name), Thompson went on various news programs spouting off about "the link" between the shooting and games. In the days since, his theories have received smackdowns from the likes of Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh and the entire gaming press. This settlement may have been his way of saving face.
And lastly, the second clause of the settlement may lead to more "GTA Grandmothers" coming out of the woodwork claiming Take-Two caused damages to themselves or their underage family members. Thompson will no doubt still represent these suits in court and may even begin to seek them out.
It's also important to note that this settlement only applies to games published or developed by Take-Two. Other companies are still open to Thompson's verbal attacks and lawsuit threats.
Realistically, the true fallout of this settlement won't be felt until later this year when Take-Two ships Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV. Until then, this is all just speculation from someone who is pleased everyone involved is happy with the settlement, even Thompson, who, according to GamePolitics
, told GameSpot:
"They dropped the contempt matter in state court. I got everything I wanted."
So on behalf of gamers everywhere Jack, I say we're happy that you've got what you wanted. Because we got what we wanted.
Jack Thompson's reprehensible behavior with regards to the Virginia Tech shooting are the subject of an editorial on MSNBC.com
. It is an excellent read and it should be added to the required reading list (along with Everything Bad Is Good For You
and Killing Monsters
) for anyone who still thinks the "video game boogeyman" has any bearing on these mass shootings.
So it begins. Jack Thompson has threatened to sic the FBI on Kotaku after a commenter suggested Thompson should be shot for his conduct ("Jack should be shot for taking the opportunity to leech off a tragedy to push his own agenda"). Kotaku owner Brian Crecente has mentioned he may look into pressing charges against Thompson for filing a false police report.