Lindsay Lohan Moves Forward With Lawsuit Against GTAV

from the dragging-yourself-through-the-muck dept

And we’re back with another episode of Lindsay Lohan Sues People For Stuff They Didn’t Do. It’s been a while, so you may not remember that Lohan, who has been quite lawsuit-happy in the past, was reportedly discussing filing a likeness-rights suit against the makers of Grand Theft Auto 5, claiming that a character in the game is based on her. That was in December of last year and apparently over six months of her lawyers explaining to her what parody is hasn’t taken, because reports are now coming out that she has indeed filed in a New York court.

Lindsay Lohan is suing the makers of the “Grand Theft Auto” video games. The actress says the latest installment used her image and created a character based on her without her permission. Lohan’s lawsuit says a character named Lacey Jonas is an “unequivocal” reference to the “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday” star. The suit says Lohan’s image, voice and styles from her clothing line are depicted. It says the game features West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont hotel, where Lohan once lived.

Once again, lawyers for GTA5 should be able to walk into the courtroom, softly say the word “parody”, and then walk right the hell back out victorious. But, as I previously described, Lohan’s allegations are way more fun than that. She claims that two separate characters are based off her in the same game, including a character that is described as a drunk driver and who enjoys fornicating in public places. One would think that a person would want to avoid claiming a likeness to such a thing, but that’s apparently not the case with old LiLo. Worse yet, while there may be some obvious draws on Lohan’s life story to create this parody, there are several aspects of both characters that clearly have nothing to do with her and are simply composites of celebrity culture in order to create a funny homage to the L.A. celebrity lifestyle.

As other commentators note, suing over this kind of thing has little chance of going anywhere.

As a general matter, you will not be held liable for using someone’s name or likeness in a creative, entertaining, or artistic work that is transformative, meaning that you add some substantial creative element over and above the mere depiction of the person. In other words, the First Amendment ordinarily protects you if you use someone’s name or likeness to create something new that is recognizably your own, rather than something that just evokes and exploits the person’s identity.

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve played this game, played this mission, and I didn’t once even think about Lindsay Lohan. The character is just mocking celebrities that get themselves into trouble and generally behave like entitled miscreants. The only reason I now associate those kind of personality flaws with Lindsay Lohan is because she insisted on it through this lawsuit that will likely fail. So…well done all around, Lindsay!

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Companies: rockstar games, take two interactive

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Comments on “Lindsay Lohan Moves Forward With Lawsuit Against GTAV”

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33 Comments
Travis says:

Re: If my (evil) gods appreciated the goat I sacrificed...

Not quite right, though I do 2nd the acceptance of the “Lohan Effect”.

The “Streisand Effect” deals with taking action to suppress factual information that is relatively unknown and thereby increasing exposure of said information.

The “Lohan Effect” should be defined as taking action to suppress perceived (though unsupported) links between fictional characters (with embarrassing or illegal habits) and the person taking action.

Anonymous Coward says:

Never tried this GTA game beyond the first one. It got boring and old. Now I’m gonna have to go look at it, simply for this business.

Also never connected Lohan to this game because I never went beyond the first one. Now I have this intense desire to know about what seems in her mind to connect these characters to her real life.

Knowing past stuff in the news I really didn’t want to know now makes me curious. Way to hide all this data you are concerned with Lohan.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Corollary to the Streisand Effect

Streisand effect doesn’t capture the nuance of this situation. This is more of a corollary: when the adverse publicity being drawn as a result of a lawsuit is specifically to things that would never have been associated in people’s minds in the first place (such as the GTA characters and Lohan), especially when those things are unsavory. I propose the term term “Lohanization”.

Christenson says:

Vexatious Litigant? (Fantasy [il]legal dialogue)

GTA Lawyer to LL Lawyer, at dinner: You do know this suit is frivolous and sanctionable?
LL Lawyer: Yes, we had Ms Lohan indemnify us for that…
GTA Lawyer: Do I have to ask the judge to declare Ms Lohan a vexatious litigant? or have the judge force her to testify in person?
LL Lawyer: Thank you, thank you…we needed that!

Anonymous Coward says:

Lindsay Lohan Wins!

A New York jury found today that there was “a point-to point correspondence” in the behavior of Lindsay Lohan and a foul-mouthed, slutty and poorly dressed character portrayed in Grand Theft Auto V. The jury ruled, however, that Ms. Lohan’s own look of a washed-up, drug-raddled and poorly aging child star was too generic to Hollywood to be eligible for publicity rights.

Anon says:

This is actually ambitious lawyers who approached her and said they would file the suit at no cost to Lindsay, if they could keep 1/2 the settlement. Her career is so in the toilet, there’s really not a negative aspect for her to agree with said lawyers.

Everyone assumes it’s the defendant who drives these suits, but there are quite a few lawyers who push these suits on people who don’t see a downside. In this specific instance, there really is no downside for Lohan.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Celebrity behavior 101

She claims that two separate characters are based off her in the same game, including a character that is described as a drunk driver and who enjoys fornicating in public places. One would think that a person would want to avoid claiming a likeness to such a thing, but that’s apparently not the case with old LiLo.

Protip: if a celebrity exhibits two or more of the following traits…

1. Repeatedly has highly public affairs
2. Repeatedly has minor run-ins with the law, which get substantial publicity
3. Is female and repeatedly is caught without underwear by paparazzi telephoto lenses, or
4. Repeatedly files lawsuits over frivolous matters, which get substantial publicity,

particularly if a new incident occurs shortly after the publicity from a movie/a new album/the previous incident/etc. is wearing off, then it’s highly likely that much of it is a calculated campaign of publicity stunts to stay in the public spotlight.

And that, of course, makes for a suspicion that lawsuits that fit characteristic 4 here are filed in bad faith, and thus that the celebrity filing them is a vexatious litigant. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

Celebrities = Toddlers

Seriously the dynamic with the paparazzi and celebrities is deeply unhealthy. Celebrities act out and do stupid things to get attention and the paparazzi gives it to them, along with reporters who find covering real news let alone journalism too much effort. If only we could all ignore them and watch them get hit with a sane bat.

Zem (profile) says:

DAG, Digital Actors Guild, is now suing LL.

Stella, one of the many digital actors in the GTA, was quoted as saying,

“it’s just plain wrong, trying to push in on our action, generic pro is a tough digital acting job, she needs to get out more and get her own look”

Big Top, DAG communications officer, has also expressed outrage and hopes that the increased exposure of the law suit will help their fight for extra polygons from the design studios.

Anonymous Coward says:

Compare to Vanna White v. Samsung

If Samsung didn’t approproate Vanna’s likeness, then how could it violate her right of publicity? Not to worry, the appeals court says it can happen.

Wiki:
White sued the Samsung Electronics corporation over its use of a humorous ad featuring a robot turning letters on a game show. The lower court decision in Samsung’s favor was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc. White sued the Samsung Electronics corporation over its use of a humorous ad featuring a robot turning letters on a game show. The lower court decision in Samsung’s favor was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.,

DISSENT BY KOZINSKI:
The district judge quite reasonably held that, because Samsung didn’t use White’s name, likeness, voice or signature, it didn’t violate her right of publicity. Not so, says the panel majority..

The panel’s opinion is a classic case of overprotection. Concerned about what it sees as a wrong done to Vanna White, the panel majority erects a property right of remarkable and dangerous breadth: Under the majority’s opinion, it’s now a tort for advertisers to remind the public of a celebrity. Not to use a celebrity’s name, voice, signature or likeness; not to imply the celebrity endorses a product; but simply to evoke the celebrity’s image in the public’s mind. This Orwellian notion withdraws far more from the public domain than prudence and common sense allow. It conflicts with the Copyright Act and the Copyright Clause. It raises serious First Amendment problems. It’s bad law, and it deserves a long, hard second look.
.

Anonymous Coward says:

It isn't too late,...

“It isn’t too late, it isn’t too late, it isn’t too late to be famous,
So many people vying for space, you really got to be shameless,
Stumble out into the night, show the world my cellulite,
Always smiling, just like Kyle, I’m gonna be famous.”
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjkkumvTZ-U&feature=kp )

and, as if this wasn’t enough, she apparently claims, she likes dogging…

She was dogging, she was dogging, she was treat for any passers-by out jogging…
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXzaVOk_Ydk )

This is a beautiful disaster ๐Ÿ™‚

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