A New York state court of appeals court handed actress Lindsay Lohan a loss in the lawsuit that she filed against Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the makers of "Grand Theft Auto” in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in July 2014. As of this week a five-judge panel for the New York state Appellate Division dismissed lawsuit in which Lohan accused Take-Two of using her likeness for a character in its "Grand Theft Auto V" without her authorization.
According to Lohan’s complaint, the cover of the game depicts a bikini-clad woman that bears a striking resemblance to Lohan, and the game, itself, includes more alleged similarities, including the fact that the character runs from paparazzi, takes cover in the Chateau Marmont, and incorporates Lohan’s “image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan’s] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses, jean shorts.”
In a hearing on Thursday, the court held that Take-Two did not use Lohan's "name, portrait or picture" in the game and as a result, the court found that the company did not violate her right of publicity. The court further held that even if the character resembled Lohan, "Grand Theft Auto V [is] protected as a work of fiction and satire,” and thereby, shielded from right of publicity claims.
For the uninitiated, New York state right of publicity laws provide protection for a person's name, portrait, picture, and voice. To constitute a violation of such laws (namely Section 51 of the statute), a use of a person's identity must be: within New York state; for advertising or trade purposes; and without written consent.