Manuel Noriega, the former Military Dictator of Panama, has officially been denied in his Right to Publicity lawsuit filed against the creators of a popular video game franchise.  Noriega took issue with the use of his likeness in and to promote the Call of Duty Black Ops II game.

This ruling could have easily gone either way as the Right to Publicity can be interpreted in a number of different ways depending upon the details of the portrayal, the medium and the parameters of the actual use.  Noriega’s likeness was clearly used by the creator of the video game, but the courts ruled that the use was transformative and that the product (the game in its entirety) made little use of Noriega to actually create the product as a whole.

Similar cases have resulted in very different rulings.  Popular rock band No Doubt came out on top in a Right of Publicity lawsuit levied against Activision for use of their likeness in the game Band Hero and a former college quarterback won a lawsuit against EA Sports for use of his likeness in the game NCAA Football.

This style of lawsuit can be very difficult to prove as many factors can be taken into consideration and there seems to now be at least some precedence for both sides.  Simply knowingly using a person’s likeness, image or voice in a product or in promotion of a product isn’t always enough to be pegged for a Right of Publicity lawsuit.

If you feel as though someone is using your image or likeness to profit without your permission, you need to enlist the help of a legal professional.  An experienced California attorney will need to carefully examine the facts of the case to determine if your rights were violated in accordance with California statute.  If there is evidence of wrongdoing, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf to stop the use of your likeness and to try and secure money for any damages you may have incurred as a result of the unfair use of your image.

AXIS Legal Counsel offers representation to individual and business clients in numerous infringement, trademark, copyright, right of privacy, right of publicity, false advertising, unfair competition, and other similar types of disputes. For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel to represent you in connection with any right of publicity or false advertising matter, contact or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation. AXIS Legal Counsel serves clients throughout Los Angeles and California.  Please visit our Individual Privacy Rights Practice Area or Business & Corporate Privacy Practice Area for more information.