A lawsuit was filed in California yesterday by former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega, 80. The lawsuit was filed against Activision Blizzard Inc., claiming that a character modeled after him portrays him as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state” in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Noriega seeks lost profits and damages since he claims that the use of his person boosted game’s sales.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II does have a character that looks like Manuel Noriega and is also called Manuel Noriega in the game. The character initially assists the CIA but then turns against them.
Those who know their history will remember that Noriega remained a close U.S. ally until the country got fed up with his use of force against citizens and enemies. Ties were cut and the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989 which ultimately resulted in his ouster and capture.
However according to the BBC the former dictator’s legal claim is questionable since he is not a U.S. citizen. It is unclear on what legal basis he can bring a case against Activision given that it focuses on the “American legal ability for an individual to be only depicted with their permission.” When contacted, a spokeswoman for Activision declined to comment.
This is just one of the many lawsuits we have seen recently against gamemakers. Electronic Arts paid $40 million to U.S. college and football players who complained that their likenesses had been used in several of EA’s titles. Actress Lindsay Lohan is suing Rockstar for what she believes to be a character modeled after her.