Manuel Noriega sues Activision over game portrayal

The notorious dictator is upset that a 'Call of Duty' title made him out to be a kidnapper and murderer.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 16, 2014 4:13PM
File photo of Manuel Noriega
© Alberto Lowe/ReutersBy Joseph Adinolfi, MarketWatch

Three years after being freed from a U.S. prison and returning to Panama, former strongman Manuel Noriega (pictured) is suing Activision Blizzard (ATVI) for using his name and likeness without his permission.

Panama's notorious military dictator, who ruled the country from 1983 until 1989 when he was removed from power and imprisoned in the U.S., alleges that the game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" portrayed him as a "kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state."

The lawsuit alleges this was done to "heighten realism in the game . . . [which] translates directly into heightened sales," The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Noriega is not the only notable figure whose likeness was used in "Black Ops II." The game received media attention on its release because of a character resembling former U.S. Gen. David Petraeus.

Activision told reporters at the time that Petraeus hadn't been paid, and that characters resembling him and other public figures are works of fantasy.

Suing the makers of video games for unauthorized use of a person's likeness is becoming increasingly common. Earlier in July, Lindsay Lohan sued Take Two Interactive (TTWO) and its subsidiary Rockstar Games for creating a character in its hit game "Grand Theft Auto V" that she alleges is based on her.

Popular tattoo artists have also sued video game makers like EA Sports, alleging they own the copyright for the tattoos of famous athletes depicted in the games.

"Black Ops II" was released in late 2012. The Call of Duty series relies heavily on characters from military history to create its storylines.

Noriega spent about two decades imprisoned in the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges.

Jul 16, 2014 5:11PM
Dang everyone wants to sue someone for money. Next lawsuit Man sues Walmart for running out of toilet paper in restrooms claims emotional distress and embarrassment. Lol might actually work.
Jul 16, 2014 5:44PM
Maybe he shouldn't have been a kidnapper and murderer then?? 
Jul 16, 2014 5:01PM
Jul 16, 2014 5:50PM
"portrayed him as a "kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state."
Ok, and?  What's the problem here?

Jul 16, 2014 5:30PM
Jul 16, 2014 5:38PM
He's like most drug dealers-- they never save their money for a rainy day.
Jul 16, 2014 5:42PM
And if this suit goes through the courts in California he will win.
Jul 16, 2014 5:53PM
I'm a six foot tall white male, I'm gonna sue because all these video games have likenesses of me!
Jul 16, 2014 5:03PM
I'm amazed some gang members from Central America didn't get their hands on this **** and torture him to death. It certainly would have been very apt and would've served him right.
Jul 16, 2014 6:10PM
He's suing because the game portrays him as a kidnapper and murderer.
But he IS a kidnapper and murderer. It's not like the game maker is lying.

Jul 16, 2014 5:52PM
Wait a minute...there is a guy that looks like me in the game.... has a beard and wears a t-shirt... and the same color jeans.... it is me... can I sue the game company... how about fay guys that wear blue pants and yellow shirts...Homer Simpson look a likes may have something to gripe about...
Jul 16, 2014 5:55PM
I want to sue someone with deep pockets!  This is much better than playing the lottery.  Maybe I can sue all the socialist bastard democrats for causing me such aggravation.  
Jul 16, 2014 5:40PM
Jul 16, 2014 6:15PM
After 2016 we will see the Barack Obama games when he single handed destroys one of the greatest countries on Earth as we recover
Jul 16, 2014 6:10PM

I'm sorry but no criminal in my book should have any rights ...they need to turn all prisons in to laboratories and use the criminals as test subjects for all the things that innocent animals are used for......

Jul 16, 2014 5:26PM
the wheel's spinning,but the hamster's asleep.

he forgot to pay his brain bill.

his antenna doesn't pick up all the channels.

not the sharpest knife in the drawer,is he?

got an IQ that's about room temperature.

the gates are down,the lights are flashing,but the train just isn't coming.

i think he rode the Tilt-a-Whirl too long.

hard to believe he beat out a million other sperm.
Jul 16, 2014 6:38PM
does anyone actually care what he thinks . . . .?
Jul 16, 2014 10:31PM
Sues video company.
Sues the US.
Get's his US. citizenship....
Marries Nobama's illegal Aunt giving her citizenship...?
Runs for president.?
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