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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 8, August 2014, Posted On: 7/18/2014

Ex Dictator Manual Noriega Sues Videogame Maker

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: video game news, Manuel Noriega, Activision Blizzard Inc., Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Manual Noriega LOS ANGELES -- Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, 80, has filed a lawsuit against game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. in a Los Angeles County court. The Central American strongman alleges that the gamemaker's portrayal of him in its Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012) has caused harm to his reputation.

According to the lawsuit, 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 authorized to use plaintiff's image and likeness."

The suit also claims that use of Noriega's image added realism to the game, increasing sales and profits.

Noriega's lawsuit seeks restitution in excess of $25,000 from Activision with the exact amount to be determined by a jury.

Noriega is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Panama. He is following in the litigious footsteps of actress Lindsay Lohan, who sued Rock Star Games, makers of Grand Theft Auto V, for damage to her reputation for what she claimed was her likeness in the game. And Gwen Stafani has also sued Activision over a character in Band Hero. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts had to pay $40 million to U.S. college and football players whose likenesses were used in games.

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