Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama who spent two decades in U.S. prison on drug trafficking charges, is suing video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. for their portrayal of him in “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”
The game portrays Noriega as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” the Los Angeles Times reported
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The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks lost profits and damages on behalf of Noriega, who is 80.
The game was released in 2012 and previously drew scrutiny for a character resembling former U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, the LA Times reported.
In the game, Noriega helps the CIA capture a terrorist before turning against the United States.
Interactive entertainment lawyer Jas Purewal said the case is questionable.
"It all focuses upon the American legal ability for an individual to be only depicted with their permission, which in practice means payment of a fee,” Purewal told the BBC. "But Noriega isn't a U.S. citizen
or even a resident. This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it's unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision."
Noriega presently is serving a jail sentence in Panama for crimes committed during his time in power.
Kim J. Landsman, a partner at the New York law firm Golenbock Eiseman, told The New York Times that Noriega’s chances of winning the case were slim
“The question is whether the courts will go beyond procedural issues and decide whether someone who has been convicted of heinous acts should have a right of publicity at all,” Landsman said. “If California is going to bend over backward to help a plaintiff, it shouldn’t be this guy.”
Twitter users seemed to think the lawsuit was absurd.
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