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Rockstar parent company sues BBC over upcoming GTA drama

Take-Two Interactive today filed a lawsuit against the BBC over the broadcaster's upcoming unauthorized television show about the birth, growth and controversies of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games.

The suit was filed in London Thursday morning.

The BBC Two's upcoming show, Gamechanger, is meant to be a 90-minute drama directed by Owen Harris. James Wood, who wrote and produced Rev. for the BBC, is reportedly writing the script for the show. The star of the Harry Potter films, British actor Daniel Radcliffe, is reportedly in negotiations to play Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser.

The show is said to be a dramatization of Rockstar Games and Grand Theft Auto's success, as well as "the subsequent fallout as various groups objected to its violent gameplay."

Reached for comment this morning, Take-Two sent the following statement to Polygon:

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.

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. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary.

We've reached out to the BBC for comment and will update this story when it replies.

The show is meant to be part of the BBC Make it Digital initiative, a UK-wide movement designed to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.

The initial, official description for the show on the BBC calls the story of Grand Theft Auto's creation "arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park.

"Unlike many coding success stories, Grant Theft Auto was not created in Silicon Valley — it was the brainchild of a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration — GTA:V — earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

"GTA offered gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they could behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American gangland underworld.

"But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding success led to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values it encourages; and above all from moral-campaigners, who have fought passionately to stop it.

"Grand Theft Auto tells the story of how the game was conceived and created and the subsequent fallout as various groups objected to its violent gameplay."

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