Manuel Noriega Sues Over Call of Duty

As if all the mishegoss over Gamergate hasn’t been enough, how about a Panamanian dictator suing over his depiction in a video game?

Seems like gaming news has taken a turn into The Twilight Zone lately, because Manuel Noriega has sued Activision over his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. As Bloomberg reports, Activision is being repped in court by Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani told the court, “Noriega was a major part of our history. He made himself part of history.”

People sue over their likenesses being used in games all the time, and Activision is hoping the case will be thrown out. Noreiga is a public figure, so the law could decide against him, but Bloomberg also brought up a ruling against Activision where they used the band No Doubt in one of their Band Hero games, but using their image was not considered free speech “because it [didn’t] add creative elements to significantly ‘transform’ their depiction.”

Maybe Noriega can get his image copyrighted and license it for money, but we think Activision could win this one, as long as Noreiga is not used in the game in a libelous way. While you’d think some people, like members of the mafia, would hate something like this, they often like publicity and how they were depicted in movies and shows like The Godfather and The Sopranos. So loosen up Manuel, you’re part of pop culture again.

David Konow

David Konow has been a writer for far too long. He has written for Deadline, Indiewire, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, The Wrap, Tom's Games, and many others. He has also authored three books: Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and Reel Terror (St Martins).


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