Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega Suing Activision Over CoD: Black Ops II
Former military dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, is the type of person you’d expect to be used as a basis for a Call of Duty villain but his turn as a character in Call of Duty: Black Ops II hit a little close to home for him. Noriega is suing Activision over using his name and likeness in the popular game series.
Noriega appeared in CoD:Blops2 as an NPC antagonist. The suit complains that he was portrayed as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.” A quick bit of research on that would indicate that portrayal of Noriega likely isn’t too far from the truth but I still wouldn’t want to be described as such, even if it was true. Noriega was also portrayed as assisting by later betraying the CIA which, again, is fairly close to history.
Noriega is suing for a share of the game’s profits earned as a result of his inclusion in the game as well as damages.
The suit reads in part:
“In an effort to increase the popularity and revenue generated by Black Ops II, defendants used, without authorization or consent, the image and likeness of plaintiff.
“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 authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received.”
The case is likely to come down to a legal principle known as the Right Of Publicity which allows a person to control the use of their name and likeness. These sorts of cases tend to be unpredictable but legal experts don’t rate Noriega’s chances very well.
Noriega isn’t the first famous person to sue over the alleged use of his likeness in a game. Last year, Lindsay Lohan filed a suit against Rockstar Games alleging that her likeness was used in a side mission of Grand Theft Auto V. Of course, her Right Of Publicity doesn’t prevent her from being satirized in a video game.