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Manuel Noriega, the ex-dictator of Panama in the 1980s until he was deposed in an invasion by the United States, is suing video game publisher Activision for using his likeness without his permission in the massively successful game Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
As reported by PC Gamer, Noriega is suing the publisher for the misuse of his image in the game, claiming that his villainous role in the game caused damage to his image by asserting he was the culprit of various fictional crimes against humanity.
Noriega’s lawyers claim that Activision used nonfictional characters like Noriega to heighten the realism of the game’s world and increase the game’s sales, but also deliberately exaggerate the actions of Noriega to increase revenue, at the expense and without the consent of Noriega himself.
As such, Noriega is seeking damages for lost profits and violation of common law public rights, insisting that the game portrayed him as a kidnapper and a murderer. As Gamesbeat notes, Noriega is a convicted criminal, but was never found guilty of any of the crimes Black Ops II presents him doing.
As noted by Polygon, Noriega is not the only person to sue for a use of his likeness in a video game. A few weeks ago, actress Lindsay Lohan sued video game developer Rockstar Games, for allegedly using her likeness in the massively successful Grand Theft Auto V.
PC Gamer notes, however, that Noriega might not have any legal standing in this case, since Noriega is not a United States citizen, and does not have the right of publicity, in which a citizen can determine and control how they are portrayed in commercial products such as video games.
In the game, Noriega is central to the plot and in one mission in particular, the game’s characters refer to him by a number of insults and expletives like “old pineapple face himself," reports Kotaku. He is also seen in news footage in the game’s cut scenes. He was voiced by Benito Martinez (pictured above.)
Photo Credit: Credit Peter West/ACE/INFphoto.com