Lindsay Lohan’s claim that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s “Grand Theft Auto V” game violated her privacy by using her likeness without permission was thrown out by an appeals court that ruled the game was a work of fiction and satire.
The “Mean Girls” star sued New York-based Take-Two alleging the company used a lookalike model as a character in the game to evoke her image - complete with a voice impersonation, bikini, shoulder-length blond hair and her “signature ‘peace sign’ pose.”
A New York state appeals court on Thursday threw out the suit, as well as a similar case filed by Karen Gravano, the daughter of former Mafia underboss and FBI informant Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, who alleged her likeness was used in the game too. The panel said that even if the depictions are close enough to be considered likenesses of the two women, the game falls outside the legal definitions of advertising and trade and is protected by the First Amendment.
The company didn’t refer to Lohan or Gravano by name and didn’t use photographs of either woman or use them as actresses in the game.
“This video game’s unique story, characters, dialogue and environment, combined with the player’s ability to choose how to proceed in the game, render it a work of fiction and satire,” the appeals court said. “Further, Lohan’s claim that her image was used in advertising materials for the video game should also be dismissed. The images are not of Lohan herself, but merely the avatar in the game that Lohan claims is a depiction of her.”