#1 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11412 posts) -

Source: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/call-of-duty-black-ops-2-draws-lawsuit-from-former/1100-6421153/

So, today several websites have reported that former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing Activision over the use of his name and likeness in Black Ops II. For those that haven't played Black Ops II, Noriega appears as a character in several missions, voiced by a "soundalike." Or I assume at least, I've never heard the real Noriega speak.

Anyway, I think this is a really interesting case. I really don't know how much legal standing Noriega has in this case. I'm inclined to think that he has a decent point, because a fictional version of him appears in the game, and doing things that he never did. But on the other hand, he is a historical figure, and not a very pleasant one. I don't think anyone besides him is upset about how he was portrayed in Black Ops II.

I'm interested in how this develops over time, assuming it does. He might not have any ground and it might just disappear, who knows!

#2 Posted by bmccann42 (137 posts) -

Isn't he still in prison somewhere?

#3 Edited by Corevi (5044 posts) -

It's pretty obvious that Black Ops 2 is fiction (even more so than the other Call of Dutys) so I don't really think he has a case.

#4 Edited by Nightriff (5365 posts) -

Crazy/funny story. If he actually won...

#5 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

I could be totally wrong, and don't have the time to look it up, but I think there's some likeness right copyright allowance in the US when it comes to political figures. Like, as they are public figures, paid by that public, their likenesses can be used with impunity or something.

Again, probably wrong though, and even that would really not extend to political figures from other countries, even if the company using that likeness is an American one.

Also, I'm listening to old Bombcasts and they were just talking about when Courtney Love flipped out about Kurt Cobain being in Guitar Hero 5.

Now all I can think of is digital Noriega singing "Under Pressure".

#6 Posted by GaspoweR (3526 posts) -

@joshwent said:

I could be totally wrong, and don't have the time to look it up, but I think there's some likeness right copyright allowance in the US when it comes to political figures. Like, as they are public figures, paid by that public, their likenesses can be used with impunity or something.

Again, probably wrong though, and even that would really not extend to political figures from other countries, even if the company using that likeness is an American one.

Also, I'm listening to old Bombcasts and they were just talking about when Courtney Love flipped out about Kurt Cobain being in Guitar Hero 5.

Now all I can think of is digital Noriega singing "Under Pressure".

BTW, how did that Courtney Love case turn out?

#7 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

@gaspower said:

BTW, how did that Courtney Love case turn out?

Don't remember, but I'll tell you after I listen to the next Bombcast. ;)

#8 Edited by GaspoweR (3526 posts) -

@joshwent said:

Don't remember, but I'll tell you after I listen to the next Bombcast. ;)

@gaspower said:

BTW, how did that Courtney Love case turn out?

okay then...I'll be waiting.

#10 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3825 posts) -

It's been awhile since I played Black Ops II but I wonder if the game had some sort of all persons fictitious disclaimer warning in it to try and limit or prevent these types of suits.

#11 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3508 posts) -

It's pretty obvious that Black Ops 2 is fiction (even more so than the other Call of Dutys) so I don't really think he has a case.

@joshwent said:

I could be totally wrong, and don't have the time to look it up, but I think there's some likeness right copyright allowance in the US when it comes to political figures. Like, as they are public figures, paid by that public, their likenesses can be used with impunity or something.

Again, probably wrong though, and even that would really not extend to political figures from other countries, even if the company using that likeness is an American one.

If Activision made a game that had you explicitly in the story, fictional or not, you could sue them (assuming you are an American citizen) because they are fucking with your reputation. It's the same thing with Lindsay Lohan suing Rockstar, and in that case her name isn't even in the game and it's obviously fiction.

Basically the law says you cannot simply insult people's reputations for the sake of your product. Or, more literally, you cannot use their likeness for any reason without permission/payment.

The Noriega case is, basically, about race and nationality. He's not American, so Activision doesn't need to extend the same rights to him.

Which, not to sound anti-American or whatever, is really fucking stupid.

#12 Posted by Corevi (5044 posts) -
#13 Edited by ottoman673 (573 posts) -

@joshwent said:

I could be totally wrong, and don't have the time to look it up, but I think there's some likeness right copyright allowance in the US when it comes to political figures. Like, as they are public figures, paid by that public, their likenesses can be used with impunity or something.

Again, probably wrong though, and even that would really not extend to political figures from other countries, even if the company using that likeness is an American one.

Also, I'm listening to old Bombcasts and they were just talking about when Courtney Love flipped out about Kurt Cobain being in Guitar Hero 5.

Now all I can think of is digital Noriega singing "Under Pressure".

Governmental bodies are supposedly immune to actions for libel on the basis that there could be no intent by a non-personal entity, and further, public records are exempt from claims of libel. However, there is at least one known case in which there was a financial settlement as well as a published correction when a state government newsletter incorrectly stated that a dentist had been disciplined for illegal conduct. The rules covering libel against a "public figure" (particularly a political or governmental person) are special, based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The key is that to uphold the right to express opinions or fair comment on public figures, the libel must be malicious to constitute grounds for a lawsuit for damages. Minor errors in reporting are not libel, such as saying Mrs. Jones was 55 when she was only 48, or getting an address or title incorrect.

Source.

#14 Posted by TheHT (11819 posts) -
#15 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11412 posts) -

@theht: I think I'm missing something in your reaction. Granted, I played the game, and was aware of who he was prior to playing it.

#16 Posted by TheHT (11819 posts) -

@mooseymcman: Did not play the game or know who he was. Just the thought of a former dictator suing a video game company is crazy.

#17 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11412 posts) -

@theht: Yeah, that's why I made the thread about it.

#18 Posted by MB (13139 posts) -

Noriega is never, ever getting out of prison...sounds like the family attorney going after that big Call of Duty payday.

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