Recently, the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega sued Activison for using his likeness in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 without proper permission.
The case was expected to hold and so it did; however, the publisher has now submitted their response to the courts.
They say that the Black Ops 2 lawsuit is completely ‘frivolous’ and go on to give detailed reasoning for why that is so.
Activision believes that although the game really does show the person Manuel Noriega, it was just a ‘transformative’ depiction. In the context of law, this means that everything was done fictionally. Such a work is actually protected by the law under freedom of speech.
Their response also cited that Noriega didn’t interpret the work transformative correctly saying that ‘Noriega barely acknowledges Activision’s showing, which establishes that the entire Black Ops II game is transformative of Noriega’s name and likeness.’
According to their lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the Black Ops 2 lawsuit is formed on ‘flatly wrong’ bases as the appearance of Noriega is only inconsequential. He warned that if this case was successful, it would ‘obliterate the entire genre of historical fiction.’ Activision has reiterated that in their response saying:
If successful, Noriega’s efforts would give numerous historical and political figures–and their heirs–a veto right over their appearances in works of art, having a chilling effect on everything from movies such asForrest Gump and Zero Dark Thirty, to TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and Boardwalk Empire, to beloved books such as The Paris Wife, just to name a few.
Naturally, the Entertainment Software Association has shown support to Activision against the Black Ops 2 lawsuit going on to say that it would be an attack on art if such cases continue.
What do you think?