Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is the latest public figure to take legal arms against a company for using his likeness in a video game, taking Activision to court for the publisher's portrayal of him in 2012 shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Courthouse News reports.
Following a route similar to that of actress Lindsay Lohan, who is suing developer Rockstar for allegedly using her likeness in last year's Grand Theft Auto 5, Noriega and his lawyers claim Activision used his likeness to "increase the popularity and revenue generated by Black Ops 2" without his consent.
Noriega was Panama's military dictator from 1983 until 1989, when the U.S. invaded the country and removed him from power. He was sent to prison in 1992, but was tried and sentenced again after his release in 2007. Noriega has been on conditional release in Panama since 2011.
In Black Ops 2, Noriega is the central character and catalyst of the "Suffer with Me" mission, in which players track him through the wilderness outside Panama City. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by 80-year-old Noriega, charges Activision with "blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain" of his image within this mission.
"Defendants' use of plaintiff's image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff," reads the lawsuit, according to Courthouse News. "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."
Noriega is seeking damages for unjust enrichment and business practices, lost profits and violation of common law public rights for Black Ops 2's portrayal of him as a "as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," he said.
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