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Take-Two sues over yanked 'GTA IV' ads

Suit claims Chicago Transit Authority pulled ads promoting the video game just days after the ads began appearing, violating its free speech and contractual rights.

The publisher of the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise feels like it got ripped off in Chicago--and it's suing.

Grand Theft Auto IV
Take-Two wants ads for "Grand Theft Auto IV" replaced on CTA buses and display spaces. Rockstar Games

Take-Two Interactive Software sued the Chicago Transit Authority on Monday for allegedly pulling its ads promoting the latest version of the action-driving and crime game just days after the ads began appearing, thus violating its free-speech and contractual rights, according to a Reuters report.

The suit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks reinstatement of the ads on buses and display spaces, as well as monetary damages of at least $300,000, the reported value of the contract, according to the report.

The suit claims that ads for the game, which has been criticized as excessively violent, were removed after a television news report questioned why the advertisements were allowed to run following a crime wave in the city, according to the report.

This is not the first time the CTA has come under fire for GTA ads. In 2004, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich criticized the transit authority for agreeing to run ads for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, leading the CTA to remove the ads, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Take-Two hasn't yet released the game's first-week sales figures, but analysts are expecting sales to top last year's record $300 million first-week sales of Halo 3. The game is expected to sell more than 9 million copies.