Judge dismisses Lindsay Lohan's suit against Take-Two for allegedly using her likeness in GTA 5

The suit was tossed because GTA 5 is fictional, and protected under the First Amendment.

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A judge has dismissed Lindsay Lohan's lawsuit against Take-Two, in which the actress alleged that a character appearing in 2013's Grand Theft Auto 5 was based on her image (via PC Gamer).

According to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Lohan's suit failed for a couple of reasons. First, neither Take-Two nor Rockstar made explicit reference to her name, picture, or image in the game. "As to Lohan's claim that an avatar in the videogame is she and that her image is used in various images, defendants also never referred to Lohan by name or used her actual name in the videogame, never used Lohan herself as an actor for the videogame, and never used a photograph of Lohan."

Second, and most importantly, the judge ruled that Grand Theft Auto 5 does not meet definitions of advertising or trade; it's both fictional and satirical, and therefore protected under the First Amendment.

Lohan filed her suit in July 2014, claiming that Take-Two used her likeness in both GTA 5 and promotional materials for the game without her permission. In fact, Lohan believed two characters were based on her: Lacey Jonas, an anorexic actress who pops up in one of the game's events and asks players to help them sneak past paparazzi; and a woman wearing a red bikini, who appears on the game's cover and in in-game ads.

Daily Dot debunked the second rumor, revealing that the woman in the bikini had been played by model Shelby Welinder. Other reports claimed the character was based on model Kate Upton; although there are similarities, Welinder killed both rumors in one fell swoop when she disclosed a copy of her invoice from Rockstar.

Lohan wasn't the only one seeking damges from Take-Two. Karen Gravano, daughter of mob boss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, filed a similar suit against Take-Two, alleging that she was the basis for GTA 5 character Antonia Bottino's likeness and backstory. Gravano's suit was also tossed on the basis of First Amendment rights.

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David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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