Feeds

Ex-despot Noriega sues: How dare Call of Duty make me look like, like...

Jailed dictator gets precious over image rights

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Brutal former Central American dictator Manuel Noriega is mimicking a Hollywood starlet by launching legal proceedings against a computer games designer for using his likeness in a popular franchise.

Noriega is suing Activision for "blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain" of his image in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the latest iteration of the popular war 'em up franchise.

Reformed boozer and one-time movie star Lindsey Lohan recently did the same, suing Rockstar for including a blonde, bikini-clad character in its game Grand Theft Auto V.

Noriega is angry that a man bearing a resemblance to him was used to portray "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state" in Call of Duty, which was released two years ago.

"Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist, as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff's image and likeness," the dictator's legal team alleged in its legal filings, which were submitted on 15 July.

Known as pineapple face for his pockmarked complexion, Noriega tortured and brutalised opponents during a reign of terror. American Navy SEALS eventually snared him in an operation code-named Nifty Package, which involved using psy-op tactics such as blaring out rock music to flush the dictator from his sanctuary in a Vatican embassy.

The former despot is now serving a prison sentence in Panama.

"Noriega isn't a US citizen or even a resident," said Jas Purewal, an interactive entertainment lawyer. "This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it's unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision."

Americans enjoy a "right to publicity", he continued, which means they have control over how their image is used commercially.

The game in question also contains a likeness of David Petraeus, a former Central Intelligence Agency chief who left office in late 2012 when he admitted to an extramarital affair.

Activision released the following statement:

"Call of Duty: Black Ops II and its fictional storylines are aimed at providing fun and enjoyment. It is clear to game players that his [Noriega's] character and others that are based on real-life figures are fantasy.

"Including Gen. Petraeus and other real-life figures was strictly a creative decision made many months ago when the storyline was drafted."

The games dev has not commented on Noriega's legal case. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?