In 2014, actress Lindsay Lohan filed suit against GTA publisher Take-Two for what she believed was an unauthorized depiction of her image in Grand Theft Auto V. She claimed she was even used in the game’s promotional materials. Today, however, the court tossed her suit.
Both Lohan and Mob Wives star Karen Gravano ended up filing suit, alleging that the game used their likenesses and violated their rights to privacy. At first, Lohan took aim at a character named Lacey Jonas, an anorexic actress who asks your characters to help her avoid paparazzi. Later, she claimed a bikini-clad character making a peace sign used in the game’s promo materials was also a representation of her likeness.
The peace sign, for some reason, was a real sticking point. “The Plaintiff has been using the peace sign hand gesture for years before and after its use in the video game,” read Lohan’s complaint at the time. Thank goodness we live in a world where literally no one else has ever used a peace sign.
Gravano, whose father is a mob killer who ultimately cooperated with police, alleged that GTA V character Andrea Bottino incorporated elements of her likeness and story. Specifically, “that the character’s story about moving out west to safe houses mirrors Gravano’s fear of being ripped out of her former life and being sent to Nebraska; that the character’s story about dealing with the character’s father cooperating with the state government is the same as Gravano dealing with the repercussions of her father’s cooperation; and that the character’s father not letting the character do a reality show is the same as Gravano’s father publicly decrying her doing a reality show.”
Ultimately, however, a five-judge panel ruled that the suits were without merit because Lohan and Gravano’s actual names and images are not used in the game. Moreover, the court added that, even if they did accept Lohan and Gravano’s argument that the GTA characters were close enough to count as representations, “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”—granting it First Amendment protection.
So there you have it. Thus concludes our grim period of national peril.