LiLo’s Grand Theft Auto lawsuit thrown out because it was dumb
On Thursday, my favorite freckled fake-twin Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against “Grand Theft Auto V” was dismissed by a court in Manhattan. The lawsuit was originally filed by Lohan in 2014, when she claimed the game’s character Lacey Jonas was based on her likeness, and there are some very clear similarities there. In the fifth installment of GTA, the character is under a constant siege of paparazzi from which players can save her and potentially take her home (scatter my ashes in the ocean please).
According to the lawsuit, Lohan took issue with the game advertising an image of a blonde woman sporting a red bikini and peace sign, as the combination of the swimsuit style, hair length and color, and signature peace sign appeared to be an avatar version of Lohan. The lawsuit itself stated: “It is unequivocal that the Plaintiff was the intended referent in the GTA V game by using her likenesses, portraits, and voice solely to advertise the game for trade purposes and by specifically announcing the Plaintiff’s name in the media as a ‘Lindsay Lohan look-alike side mission’ at least two months before the release of the game purely to promote, hype the game to attract sales of the defendants video game.”
Lohan also noted that one of the game’s location’s, West Hollywood’s popular Chateau Marmont Hotel was for a time her home.
Despite Lohan’s persistence, the court ruled that given the nature of the game, her accusations didn’t actually fall under Section 51 of The New York Civil Rights Law, an act that prohibits a person’s name or likeness to be used in advertising without consent.
The court ruled that the character’s likeness to Lohan falls under the safe umbrella of fiction or satire, and because the image used in advertisements wasn’t directly stated as a portrait of Lohan, it was legal as a fictional avatar. The final ruling, all of which you can read here, shut down the two-year case when it stated:
“This video game does not fall under the statutory definitions of ‘advertising’ or ‘trade.’ This video game’s unique story, characters, dialogue, and environment, combined with the player’s ability to choose how to proceed in the game, render it a work of fiction and satire.”
Well, there you have it. As long as it’s fiction or satire, you can legally use the likeness of a public figure. This only fuels the fire for my coming-of-age vampire book about a rat nesting in Newt Gingrich’s house.