GTA race case filed
Correspondents in Palm Beach, Florida
January 2, 2004
A US lawsuit that claims a top-selling video game is dangerous to society and asks that it be removed from store shelves will be decided in the country's federal court.
Haitian civil rights groups filed the lawsuit because the game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, instructs players to "kill the Haitians" and awards points for each kill.
The New York-based Rockstar Games has agreed to remove the offensive line from future versions of the award-winning video that has sold 11 million copies.
But the Haitian organisations, led by the Haitian-American Coalition of Palm Beach County, have also asked for more than $US15,000 in damages.
The suit was filed on December 23 in state circuit court in Palm Beach County. Attorneys for Rockstar Games opted to move the case to federal court, and that motion was granted Tuesday. No hearing dates were immediately set.
The lawsuit takes on heavyweights in the video game industry, including Rockstar Games, its parent company Take-Two Interactive Software, Sony Computer Entertainment, the Microsoft, and retailers Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
The manufacturer of the game, in which an ex-convict is hired to recover stolen drug money in the streets of Miami, has been harshly criticized for its portrayal of Haitians.
Earlier this month, about 100 Haitian-Americans demonstrated outside a Wal-Mart Supercenter in nearby Boynton Beach chanting, "Stop Vice City."
Attorneys for the Haitian organisations and the video game manufacturer did not return phone calls late Wednesday.
The Associated Press