Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc.; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment, 34620-34621 [E6-9359]

Download as PDF 34620 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 115 / Thursday, June 15, 2006 / Notices Alan White, Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marva E. Williams, Senior Vice President, Woodstock Institute, Chicago, Illinois Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, June 12, 2006. Jennifer J. Johnson, Secretary of the Board. [FR Doc. E6–9336 Filed 6–14–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210–01–P FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 052 3158] Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc.; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment Federal Trade Commission. Proposed consent agreement. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of Federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations. Comments must be received on or before July 10, 2006. ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to ‘‘Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., et al., File No. 052 3158,’’ to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, Room 135–H (Annex N), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled ‘‘Confidential,’’ and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). 16 CFR 4.9(c) (2005).1 The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES DATES: 1 The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c). VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:47 Jun 14, 2006 Jkt 208001 U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. Comments that do not contain any nonpublic information may instead be filed in electronic form as part of or as an attachment to email messages directed to the following email box: https:// secure.commentworks.com/ftc-taketwo/. The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, will be considered by the Commission, and will be available to the public on the FTC Web site, to the extent practicable, at https://www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC’s privacy policy, at https://www.ftc.gov/ ftc/privacy.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard F. Kelly (202/326–3304) or Keith R. Fentonmiller (202/326–2775), Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580. Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and § 2.34 of the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for June 8, 2006), on the World Wide Web, at https://www.ftc.gov/ os/2006/0/index.htm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130–H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326–2222. Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 received on or before the date specified in the DATES section. Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc. (‘‘the companies’’). The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement’s proposed order. This matter involves alleged deceptive representations in advertising and on product packaging concerning the content in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (‘‘San Andreas’’). In September 2004, the companies submitted materials to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (‘‘ESRB’’) for the purpose of obtaining a rating for the PlayStation 2 version of San Andreas. The companies did not inform the ESRB about the existence of an interactive sex mini-game that was embedded in the game’s computer code, but was inaccessible during normal game play. Nor did the companies tell the ESRB that the game disc contained data files (unused in game play) for female skins, which, if accessed, render the female characters partially or completely nude. However, the ESRB’s published requirements in effect at that time did not state that game companies were required to disclose unused skins in the game software or content in the game code that was inaccessible and unplayable without modifying the code. Based on the companies’ submission, the ESRB assigned San Andreas a M (Mature 17+) rating and content descriptors for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs. The companies released the Playstation 2 version of San Andreas in October 2004. On June 7, 2005, the companies released versions of San Andreas playable on PCs and the Xbox console. The PC and Xbox game discs also contained the same code for the sex mini-game and the nude skins. As with the PlayStation 2 version, the companies did not disclose the existence of the disabled sex mini-game or the nude skins on the PC and Xbox game discs. The ESRB rated the PC and Xbox versions of the game M (Mature E:\FR\FM\15JNN1.SGM 15JNN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 115 / Thursday, June 15, 2006 / Notices 17+) and assigned the same content descriptors previously assigned to the PlayStation 2 version. The ESRB rating information appeared in print, television, and retailer advertisements for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and on game packaging, for all three versions of the game. Among other things, the companies made the following claims about the game: ‘‘MATURE 17+ * * * M * * *’’ and ‘‘CONTENT RATED BY ESRB.’’ None of the advertising mentioned that the game contained nudity. On June 9, 2005—two days after the release of the PC version of the game— game enthusiasts posted a program on the Internet, which, when downloaded and installed on a user’s PC, enables the sex mini-game code. This program was dubbed ‘‘Hot Coffee.’’ A subsequent version of the program imported nude skins resident on the game disc onto several of the female characters. PlayStation 2 and Xbox players eventually were able to access the minigame by physically modifying or adding a hardware accessory to their game console, installing special software, and inputting cheat codes developed by third parties. On July 20, 2005, the ESRB revoked the existing rating for the game as a result of, among other things, viewing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as modified by the Hot Coffee program and the widespread availability of that program. The companies entered into an agreement with the ESRB that provided that they would not contest a change in rating for the game from M (Mature 17+) to AO (Adults Only 18+) with an additional content descriptor for nudity. The companies also agreed to re-label or recall all existing inventory, and to make available to consumers a downloadable patch rendering the Hot Coffee content inoperable. In response, most retailers decided not to sell the relabeled AO version of the game. In September 2005, the companies released a second M-rated version of San Andreas without the Hot Coffee content. According to the FTC complaint, the companies represented, expressly or by implication, that the ESRB had rated the content of the original versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas M (Mature 17+) and that the ESRB had assigned the following content descriptors as part of the ESRB rating: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs. The complaint alleges that the companies did not disclose to consumers that the game discs contained unused, but potentially viewable, nude female skins and VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:47 Jun 14, 2006 Jkt 208001 disabled, but potentially playable, software code for a sexually explicit mini-game that the ESRB had not rated. The presence on the game discs of this unrated content that might change, and, in fact, did change, the rating of the game to AO (Adults Only 18+) with an additional content descriptor for nudity, would have been material to many consumers, particularly parents, in their purchase, rental, or use of the product. The complaint alleges that the companies’ failure to disclose these facts, in light of the representation made, was and is a deceptive practice. The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent the companies from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future. Part I of the consent order requires the companies, in connection with the advertising, sale, or distribution of any electronic game, to disclose, clearly and prominently, on product packaging and in any promotion or advertisement for an electronic game, content relevant to the rating, unless that content has been disclosed sufficiently in prior submissions to the rating authority. Part I also prohibits the companies from misrepresenting the rating or content descriptors for an electronic game, and requires the companies to establish and implement, and thereafter maintain, a comprehensive system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic game is considered and reviewed by the companies in preparing submissions to a rating authority. Finally, Part I of the order states that nothing in the order shall constitute a waiver of the companies’ right to assert that any of their conduct is or was protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or any analogous provision of a State constitution, except that the companies nonetheless acknowledge their obligations to comply with the order. Parts II through V of the consent order require the companies to keep copies of relevant advertisements and promotional materials, to provide copies of the order to certain of their personnel, to notify the Commission of changes in corporate structure, and to file compliance reports with the Commission. Part VI provides that the order will terminate after twenty (20) years under certain circumstances. The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 34621 By direction of the Commission. Donald S. Clark, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–9359 Filed 6–14–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [60Day–06–0601] Proposed Data Collections Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations In compliance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, call 404–639–5960 and send comments to Seleda Perryman, CDC Assistant Reports Clearance Officer, 1600 Clifton Road, MS–D74, Atlanta, GA 30333 or send an e-mail to omb@cdc.gov. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice. Proposed Project The National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) Chronicle Progress Reporting System—Revision—(OMB No. 0920–0601) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Background and Brief Description Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and most people begin using tobacco in early adolescence. Annually, tobacco use E:\FR\FM\15JNN1.SGM 15JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 115 (Thursday, June 15, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34620-34621]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-9359]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

[File No. 052 3158]


Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc.; 
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Proposed consent agreement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged 
violations of Federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to 
Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft 
complaint and the terms of the consent order--embodied in the consent 
agreement--that would settle these allegations.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 10, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. 
Comments should refer to ``Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., et al., 
File No. 052 3158,'' to facilitate the organization of comments. A 
comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the 
text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the 
following address: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, 
Room 135-H (Annex N), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20580. Comments containing confidential material must be filed in paper 
form, must be clearly labeled ``Confidential,'' and must comply with 
Commission Rule 4.9(c). 16 CFR 4.9(c) (2005).\1\ The FTC is requesting 
that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight 
service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area 
and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security 
precautions. Comments that do not contain any nonpublic information may 
instead be filed in electronic form as part of or as an attachment to 
email messages directed to the following e-mail box: https://
secure.commentworks.com/ftc-taketwo/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for 
confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for 
the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment 
to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted 
or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with 
applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 
16 CFR 4.9(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the 
collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as 
appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments, whether filed 
in paper or electronic form, will be considered by the Commission, and 
will be available to the public on the FTC Web site, to the extent 
practicable, at https://www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC 
makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals 
from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on 
the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by 
the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy, at https://
www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard F. Kelly (202/326-3304) or 
Keith R. Fentonmiller (202/326-2775), Bureau of Consumer Protection, 
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Sec.  2.34 of 
the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given 
that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order 
to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to 
final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record 
for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public 
Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the 
allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of 
the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page 
(for June 8, 2006), on the World Wide Web, at https://www.ftc.gov/os/
2006/0/index.htm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public 
Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, 
DC 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.
    Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission 
in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as 
prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or 
before the date specified in the DATES section.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

    The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final 
approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Take-Two 
Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc. (``the 
companies''). The proposed consent order has been placed on the public 
record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested 
persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the 
public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review 
the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it 
should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement's 
proposed order.
    This matter involves alleged deceptive representations in 
advertising and on product packaging concerning the content in the 
video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (``San Andreas''). In 
September 2004, the companies submitted materials to the Entertainment 
Software Rating Board (``ESRB'') for the purpose of obtaining a rating 
for the PlayStation 2 version of San Andreas. The companies did not 
inform the ESRB about the existence of an interactive sex mini-game 
that was embedded in the game's computer code, but was inaccessible 
during normal game play. Nor did the companies tell the ESRB that the 
game disc contained data files (unused in game play) for female skins, 
which, if accessed, render the female characters partially or 
completely nude. However, the ESRB's published requirements in effect 
at that time did not state that game companies were required to 
disclose unused skins in the game software or content in the game code 
that was inaccessible and unplayable without modifying the code. Based 
on the companies' submission, the ESRB assigned San Andreas a M (Mature 
17+) rating and content descriptors for Blood and Gore, Intense 
Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs. The 
companies released the Playstation 2 version of San Andreas in October 
2004.
    On June 7, 2005, the companies released versions of San Andreas 
playable on PCs and the Xbox console. The PC and Xbox game discs also 
contained the same code for the sex mini-game and the nude skins. As 
with the PlayStation 2 version, the companies did not disclose the 
existence of the disabled sex mini-game or the nude skins on the PC and 
Xbox game discs. The ESRB rated the PC and Xbox versions of the game M 
(Mature

[[Page 34621]]

17+) and assigned the same content descriptors previously assigned to 
the PlayStation 2 version.
    The ESRB rating information appeared in print, television, and 
retailer advertisements for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and on game 
packaging, for all three versions of the game. Among other things, the 
companies made the following claims about the game: ``MATURE 17+ * * * 
M * * *'' and ``CONTENT RATED BY ESRB.'' None of the advertising 
mentioned that the game contained nudity.
    On June 9, 2005--two days after the release of the PC version of 
the game--game enthusiasts posted a program on the Internet, which, 
when downloaded and installed on a user's PC, enables the sex mini-game 
code. This program was dubbed ``Hot Coffee.'' A subsequent version of 
the program imported nude skins resident on the game disc onto several 
of the female characters. PlayStation 2 and Xbox players eventually 
were able to access the mini-game by physically modifying or adding a 
hardware accessory to their game console, installing special software, 
and inputting cheat codes developed by third parties.
    On July 20, 2005, the ESRB revoked the existing rating for the game 
as a result of, among other things, viewing Grand Theft Auto: San 
Andreas as modified by the Hot Coffee program and the widespread 
availability of that program. The companies entered into an agreement 
with the ESRB that provided that they would not contest a change in 
rating for the game from M (Mature 17+) to AO (Adults Only 18+) with an 
additional content descriptor for nudity. The companies also agreed to 
re-label or recall all existing inventory, and to make available to 
consumers a downloadable patch rendering the Hot Coffee content 
inoperable. In response, most retailers decided not to sell the re-
labeled AO version of the game. In September 2005, the companies 
released a second M-rated version of San Andreas without the Hot Coffee 
content.
    According to the FTC complaint, the companies represented, 
expressly or by implication, that the ESRB had rated the content of the 
original versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas M (Mature 17+) and 
that the ESRB had assigned the following content descriptors as part of 
the ESRB rating: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, 
Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs. The complaint alleges that the 
companies did not disclose to consumers that the game discs contained 
unused, but potentially viewable, nude female skins and disabled, but 
potentially playable, software code for a sexually explicit mini-game 
that the ESRB had not rated. The presence on the game discs of this 
unrated content that might change, and, in fact, did change, the rating 
of the game to AO (Adults Only 18+) with an additional content 
descriptor for nudity, would have been material to many consumers, 
particularly parents, in their purchase, rental, or use of the product. 
The complaint alleges that the companies' failure to disclose these 
facts, in light of the representation made, was and is a deceptive 
practice.
    The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent 
the companies from engaging in similar acts and practices in the 
future. Part I of the consent order requires the companies, in 
connection with the advertising, sale, or distribution of any 
electronic game, to disclose, clearly and prominently, on product 
packaging and in any promotion or advertisement for an electronic game, 
content relevant to the rating, unless that content has been disclosed 
sufficiently in prior submissions to the rating authority. Part I also 
prohibits the companies from misrepresenting the rating or content 
descriptors for an electronic game, and requires the companies to 
establish and implement, and thereafter maintain, a comprehensive 
system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic 
game is considered and reviewed by the companies in preparing 
submissions to a rating authority. Finally, Part I of the order states 
that nothing in the order shall constitute a waiver of the companies' 
right to assert that any of their conduct is or was protected by the 
First Amendment to the United States Constitution or any analogous 
provision of a State constitution, except that the companies 
nonetheless acknowledge their obligations to comply with the order.
    Parts II through V of the consent order require the companies to 
keep copies of relevant advertisements and promotional materials, to 
provide copies of the order to certain of their personnel, to notify 
the Commission of changes in corporate structure, and to file 
compliance reports with the Commission. Part VI provides that the order 
will terminate after twenty (20) years under certain circumstances.
    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the 
proposed order, and it is not intended to constitute an official 
interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any 
way their terms.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. E6-9359 Filed 6-14-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P