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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 15:16 GMT
Games designer claims grand theft
Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto has sold millions of copies
A computer consultant has launched a 1.5m legal action claiming that the firm behind a best-selling game has infringed his copyright.

Mark Gallagher alleges that the Grand Theft Auto game is strikingly similar to one he developed years ago.

As a result, he is seeking damages from Rockstar North Ltd in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh-based firm is contesting the action and denies it infringed any copyright owned by the Glasgow man.

Crime Inc

Mr Gallagher, of Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, claims the plot, look, structure and style of the game closely resembles one he developed several years before the launch of Grand Theft Auto.

His game, Crime Inc, which was developed between 1991 and 1993, involved gangs taking part in street crime.

In December 1993 he applied for a job with a firm, DMA Design, and attended for an interview with a computer software industry director, he said in his action.

Mr Gallagher said that as part of the interview process he was asked to show an example of his practical ability.

Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto
Mr Gallagher says the game closely resembles one he developed
He said he exhibited a demonstration disc of Crime Inc which was retained, although he did not get the post.

Rockstar North said that until a change of name it was called DMA Design Ltd, but said that the circumstances of any interview between Mr Gallagher and DMA Design were not known.

Mr Gallagher claims that the firm had access to his work prior to the launch of the original Grand Theft Auto computer game in 1997.

The legal action was originally raised at Edinburgh Sheriff Court but was transferred to the higher court as an intellectual property action.

A procedural hearing was due to go ahead in the action before Lord Kingarth on Thursday but lawyers for both sides sought a continuation, which the judge granted.


SEE ALSO:
Vice pays for games publisher
28 Feb 03  |  Technology
Grand game plan hatched in Scotland
16 Nov 02  |  Scotland
Grand Theft Auto sequel hits UK
08 Nov 02  |  Technology


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