Former dictator fails in his bid to sue Call of Duty for using his likeness

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Thursday 30 October 2014 17:30
Science and Tech

The former dictator of Panama has failed in his bid to sue the makers of Call of Duty after claiming they used his likeness for one of the characters in the video game.

A fictional portrayal of Manuel Noriega, who ruled the Central American country from 1983-1989, featured in the Black Ops II version of the game which was released in 2012.

Noriega sought to claim that the game makers, Activision had implied that he was “the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes.”

He also alleged that Activision depicted him as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”

However, the judge at Los Angeles Superior Court ruled the inclusion of the character was protected under free speech laws.

This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we're gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn't win.

This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.

  • Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York who represented Activision in the case

Activision had said that if Noriega had succeeded in his legal action it might have encouraged other political figures to sue over the use of their appearance in films, television programmes and books as well as video games.

The former military general is currently serving a prison sentence in Panama for crimes including the murder of critics.

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