British tabloid The Daily Star will pay “substantial damages” due to a reported hoax in which they claimed Rockstar was creating a Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury. Evidently, Rockstar didn’t take too kindly to being connected to the events of a manhunt that occured in Rothbury just recently during July 2010 and decided to sue.
Accompanying the article was an image purported to be the game’s cover which offended many people including relatives of the victims involved in the ordeal. The Daily Star also solicited and published reactions to this cover all without notifying Rockstar before publishing the “hoax”.
There’s an easy lesson learned here: be careful what you print and keep in mind that freedom of the press does not equal freedom from litigation. A simple joke is not worth “substancial damages” – use common sense.