Now here’s a turn-up for the books. News just coming in indicates that Rockstar Games, the scourge of right-thinking elderly Daily Mail readers across the land, has just won a legal spat with a Los Angeles Gentleman’s Club called the Play Pen.
It seems the owners of said club didn’t react too kindly upon finding out that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured a fictional strip club called the Pig Pen (pictured right) claiming that that game infringed on its trademark.
E.S.S. Entertainment, who own the Play Pen, filed the suit against Rockstar back in April, 2005. Last week, US District Court Judge Margaret Morrow finally closed the case, siding with Rockstar (and reason, say we).
The concerned strip club moguls of E.S.S. made a case based on their belief that the in-game club had a similar awning and logo to the Play Pen’s. See the two pictures to the right here and let us know what you think.
The legalised pimps then went on to also claim that GTA’s Pig Pen featured the words ‘totally nude’, also used by the Play Pen. SPOnG does not have much experience of Los Angeles strip clubs (Ha! Yeah, right! – Ed) but we imagine that the words ‘totally nude’ are fairly common in such establishments.
Freedom of speech thankfully won out, with Judge Morrow noting: "The Pig Pen has artistic relevance to the defendants' twisted, irreverent image of urban Los Angeles… [Rockstar’s] aim in creating East Los Santos was to evoke an image of East Los Angeles, but to tweak that image to fit the overall 'look and feel' of San Andreas, as well as the narrative of a city overrun by gangs, drug dealers, and prostitutes. 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."
In addition to these First Amendment protections, Morrow also ruled that GTA’s use of a likeness of the Play Pen could not "...explicitly mislead consumers as to the content of the game."
"As these facts show, defendants' use of the Play Pen trade dress and mark presents little, if any, chance that consumers will be misled about the content of the game," she added.