Appeals Court Rules That GTA5 Didn't Infringe On Lindsay Lohan's Likeness Rights

from the now-please-go-away dept

While there are absolutely far too many Techdirt posts featuring celebrity(?) Lindsay Lohan in these pages, most of them deal with one specific issue: her lawsuits against Take Two Interactive. At issue was a character Lohan insisted infringed on her likeness rights because the character is a drunk driver, public-fornicator, and has a backstory as a child actress. If Lindsay wants to insist that her own history lines up with that sort of backstory, I guess I won't argue with her, but the character has many other aspects that clearly have nothing to do with Lohan. Instead, the character is a parody of the sort the GTA series is famous for, with the target in this case being young celebrity stars and starlets. Coming along for the ride was Karen Gravano, who participated in a reality show about the wives of reported mobsters. Gravano sued over another character in the series with her filings essentially mirroring Lohan's. Take Two won both lawsuits, both on First Amendment grounds and due to the court finding that the characters were composite parodies, not representations of either Lohan or Gravano. Both plaintiffs appealed.

And now the New York Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Take Two again in both cases.

Here, the Jonas character simply is not recognizable as plaintiff inasmuch as it merely is a generic artistic depiction of a 'twenty something' woman without any particular identifying physical characteristics. The analysis with respect to the Beach Weather and Stop and Frisk illustrations is the same. Those artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman. It is undisputed that defendants did not refer to plaintiff in GTAV, did not use her name in GTAV, and did not use a photograph of her in that game. Moreover, the ambiguous representations in question are nothing more than cultural comment that is not recognizable as plaintiff and therefore is not actionable under Civil Rights Law article 5.

You can read the full opinion here, but suffice it to say that this should be the end of this nonsense from Lohan. At the same time, the court also ruled on Gravano's appeal, with identical findings.

Concurrently with this opinion comes a loss for ex-Mob Wives star Karen Gravano, who brought a similar lawsuit against Take-Two over the character of "Andrea Bottino" in Grand Theft Auto V. The appeals court fails to see a recognizable image there as well.

That should be the end of that as well. One wonders just how much in legal fees both Gravano and Lohan were billed, with the next natural thought being just how much better such funds could have been used other than to engage in a prolonged legal fight without merit, with almost no chance of success, and over an issue that was not injurious to either party? Lohan in particular has a history of looking for paydays in the form of these types of lawsuits, but it's difficult to see how she could be in the black at this point.

It would probably be best to simply save that money for the future.


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  • icon
    Dan (profile), 6 Apr 2018 @ 7:42am

    Court of Appeals

    It's probably worth pointing out that in New York, the Court of Appeals is the highest court--what most states call the Supreme Court. This isn't simply an intermediate appellate court, it's the highest court in New York State.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Apr 2018 @ 7:55am

    We should start the Prenda Awards. Prenda would have won several such as "most fiery death", "popcorn frenzy" and "Where's Alan Cooper Waldo" prizes.

    I wonder where Lohan would land in these Awards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 6 Apr 2018 @ 10:51am

    Alex Trebek:
    "The character is a drunk driver, public-fornicator, and has a backstory as a child actress."

    Contestant:
    Who is Lindsay Lohan?

    Alex Trebek:
    "That is correct."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2018 @ 1:16pm

    >because the character is a drunk driver, public-fornicator, and has a backstory as a child actress.

    Why wasn't this a class-action suit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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