Games

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Former Panama Dictator Manuel Noriega sues Activision over 'Call of Duty' game

Frank Whelan

Published 16/07/2014 | 17:46

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Panaman's former dictator Manuel Noriega is seen in Miami, Florida, after his arrest by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents, in this file booking photo taken January 4, 1990. Manuel Noriega, Panama's drug-running military dictator of the 1980s, left Paris early on December 11, 2011, headed for a prison in his home country to serve a 20-year term for the murders of opponents during his rule. Noriega, now 77, was toppled in a U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and has spent the last two decades behind bars, first in Florida and then in France after being convicted for drug trafficking and money laundering during his time in power.     REUTERS/Handout/Files
Panaman's former dictator Manuel Noriega is seen in Miami, Florida, after his arrest by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents, in this file booking photo taken January 4, 1990. Reuters

The ex-dictator is suing games company Activision Blizzard Inc. for depicting him and using his name without permission in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.'

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According to the Los Angeles Times, Noriega filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in L.A. .

Noriega, the military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, is currently serving twenty years in a Panamanian prison.

The ex-dictator is seeking damages for unfair business practices, violation of common-law publicity rights and unjust enrichment.

A scene from Call of Duty Black Ops 2

The lawsuit claims: "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 in BLACK OPS II. 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."

Activision has yet to comment.

In 1989, at the end of his reign, Noriega famously took refuge in the Vatican embassy and surrendered after US forces blasted loud rock music at the building. He was convicted in 1992 of drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering, serving a sentence in the US until 2007. Noriega was extradited from France to Panama in 2011.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was released in November 2013 and was hugely successful, holding the title of largest entertainment launch of all time, until Grand Theft Auto V broke the record. 

The Noriega lawsuit is the latest involving a game's use of likeness rights, just weeks after Lindsay Lohan sued over Grand Theft Auto V

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