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Former dictator sues Call Of Duty in slow news week

Jonathan Lester
Activision, Call Of Duty, lawsuit

Former dictator sues Call Of Duty in slow news week

Perfect timing.

In a headline that I wouldn't even consider as an April Fool's last resort, the former military dictator of Panama between 1983-1989, Manuel Noriega, is suing Activision for the use of his name and likeness in Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. He appears in the level Suffer With Me, in which Alex Mason and Frank Woods hunt the real-world despot throughout Panama city.

Courthouse News Service [via CNN] reports that Noriega's legal team has now officially filed a suit with the Los Angeles Country Superior Court, claiming that the "defendants' use of plaintiff's image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff. Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorised to use plaintiff's image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received."

"Defendants [Activision] deliberately and systematically misappropriated plaintiff's likeness to increase revenues and royalties, at the expense of plaintiff and without the consent of plaintiff."

As such, Noriega seeks a slice of the profits and damages for unfair business practice, amongst other accusations.

I'm not entirely sure what's more perverse about this situation: the fact that an ex-dictator who killed political opponents and engaged in drug trafficking is quibbling over copyright, or that he might actually be in the right here. After all, the evidence is pretty clear: that is his name, face and even character model. I'll leave you to be the judge of that one, before an actual judge presides over the case, and perhaps make a last cheap shot about Activision and dictators. All the pieces of a groan-worthy joke are in there somewhere.

Add a comment2 comments
Late  Jul. 18, 2014 at 09:18

Seems pretty damned sloppy of Activision to release a game featuring a living person without their permission, really. Were their legal department on holiday the day that one was discussed in the office?

Congratulations on managing to defame and donate a load of money to an allegedly despicable person. (Yeah, I've nothing for your legal team to grab, Noriega, but I'm still more careful than Activision/Treyarch!)

Of course there'll be appeals and it'll drag out, and the only winners will be Noriega's lawyers, as is usually the case with these things.

JonLester  Jul. 18, 2014 at 09:59

My knowledge of the American legal system is basically limited to Law & Order, but as far as I know there's some sort of 'Son Of Sam' law that stops criminals from profiting from their crimes via publicity etc. This could nip the case in the bud, I guess.

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