Cypress Hill singer sues Rockstar over San Andreas likeness use

By Johnny Cullen
9 December 2010 08:58 GMT

San Andreas

Amazing. Just amazing.

Cypress Hill singer Michael “Shagg” Washington is suing Rockstar over claims the company used his likeness without permission for the lead character of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carl “CJ” Johnson.

The game came out six years ago on PlayStation 2 with an Xbox and PC release in 2005, but Washington says he didn’t know about his likeness being used for the game until earlier this summer. The full complaint mentioned he consulted with Rockstar on the game about “street life” in 2003.

“The plaintiff, who had led a troubled life in his youth, responded to their questions and related details of his life,” the report read.

“The plaintiff told them about details of his street life including how the teen-agers in his gang rode around on bicycles.

“After almost two hours of questioning which covered many topics of gang and street life, the meeting ended and the plaintiff was allowed to leave.”

Washington was told by Rockstar he would be notified if he was included in the game. He didn’t hear anything back if that was the case, but only found out about San Andreas from his nephew in July.

“The plaintiff had never seen the game. He did not own or play video games, but it seemed possible that he had been included in the game.

“He then recalled the meeting in or about 2003, and it began to dawn on him that his image had been stolen for the game.”

It continues: “Upon examination of images of ‘CJ’ and comparison to his photos from that year and other evidence, it became clear that Rockstar had stolen his image and never paid him.”

Washington wants $250 million – 25 percent of GTA: San Andreas’ profits – from Rockstar for infringement, fraud and misappropriation.

Take Two said it will fight the case.

“The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter,” it told IGN.

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