In a move that surprises no one at all, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey has dismissed Manuel Noriega’s lawsuit against Activision.
Let’s play catch up first: In July of this year, Panama’s former dictator filed a lawsuit against Activision over using his likeness, and name, in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
He claimed “blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain” on Activision’s part, and claimed Treyarch didn’t have his authorization or consent to use neither his likeness nor image.
Noriega was offended that the game portrayed him as “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state”. Bless.
In September, Activision hired one-time New York City mayor and 2008 republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani as its attorney.
The Bracewell & Giuliani LL partner argued that using Noriega in the game was covered by the firm’s First Amendment and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said Giuliani. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win.
“This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”
Should the lawsuit had been permitted to proceed, it was argued that Noriega’s efforts could have “provided numerous historical and political figures a veto right over their appearances in works of art,” such as movies and even television programs such as Saturday Night Live and Boardwalk Empire and books.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the 40 million dedicated members of our Call of Duty community and global audiences who enjoy historical fiction across all works of art,” added Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “I want to thank Mayor Giuliani, who has dedicated his life to the protection of citizens against terrorists like Manuel Noriega and today for defending free speech.”
A taped video of co-counsel Rudy Giuliani discussing the key themes of the case is available HERE.