Well, you can certainly file this one under the term “unusual.”
Ex-Panama dictator and recently released inmate, Manuel Noriega is suing Activision over his likeness being used in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. According to a court document reported by Courthouse News Service, Noriega is suing the Call of Duty publisher over “blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain” from his appearance in the game.
If you remember from Treyarch’s last game, lead characters Alex Mason and Frank Woods actively hunt and capture Noriega during the “Suffer With Me” mission. This apparently did not sit well with the real life former military dictator who didn’t like being portrayed as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.
“Defendants’ use of plaintiff’s image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff. Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorised to use plaintiff’s image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received.”
According to online reports, Activision has yet to respond but since Noriega is not a US citizen, I’m curious to see how this case takes shape. It’s worth noting that the US does extend publicity rights laws to foreigners in some cases, but it’ll be interesting to see if it is done in this case.