Eurogamer.net

Lindsay Lohan's Grand Theft Auto lawsuit rules in Rockstar's favour

Court considers GTA5 "a work of fiction and satire".

The lawsuit Lindsey Lohan filed against Rockstar for allegedly using her likeness in Grand Theft Auto 5 has been dismissed by the New York County Supreme Court.

1

Lindsey Lohan and Lacey Jonas.

Back in 2014 Lohan sued Rockstar as she accused the company of making a character, Lacey Jonas, who was an "unequivocal" reference to the Mean Girls star.

Jonas, like Lohan, is a blonde movie star with an eating disorder. In one of the game's side-missions the player is asked to escort her home so she can avoid the paparazzi. The character's portrayal, as seen in the video below, is less than flattering.

Lohan also believed that a promotional image for the game depicting a woman blonde woman in a bikini making a peace sign was based on a picture of her making the same gesture in a swimsuit.

"Lohan argues that defendants purposefully used Lohan's bikini, shoulder-length blonde hair, jewelry, cell phone, and 'signature peace sign' pose' in one image, and used Lohan's likeness in another image by appropriating facial features, body type, physical appearance, hair, hat, sunglasses, jean shorts, and loose white top," the complaint read.

Lohan wasn't the only one suing Rockstar for allegedly basing a character off of them. Mob Wives star Karen Gravano likewise took legal action against the game developer claiming that Rockstar cribbed her story of being a mobster's daughter afraid of the repercussions of her father aligning himself with the government. A similar setup was true of GTA5 character Andrea Bottino, whose father won't let her be on a reality TV show, just as the real Gravano was publicly criticised by her father for being on a reality TV show.

Gravano further believed that the Bottino character utilised her "image, portrait, voice, and likeness".

The court did not find the evidence damning enough to warrant either of these cases. Rather it ruled that both complaints "must fail because defendants did not use [plaintiffs'] name, portrait, or picture'".

More specifically, neither Lohan or Gravano appeared in the game (in video or photograph form), nor were their names ever uttered in either the game or its marketing.

2

Karen Gravano and Andrea Bottino.

There's more. The court alleged that even if the fictitious characters were based on Lohan and Gravano, a video game is a work of fiction and thus falls outside the statutory definitions of "advertising" or "trade" so the plaintiffs' complaints that their likeness was used to sell a product didn't hold up.

In the US, video games are offered the same First Amendment protection as books, plays and movies.

"Video games communicate ideas," the court ruled in the famous Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association trial, in which mature video games were in danger of being banned from minors (as opposed to the current system where a ratings board merely suggests an age range and retailers are only encouraged to comply by these).

"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," the court ruled of GTA5. As such, both Lohan or Gravano's cases were dismissed.

Comments (84)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!