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Grand Theft Auto identity theft case closes

Take Two spared having to make a $250m payout
Mon Nov 05 2012, 12:49
Grand Theft Auto 4 Liberty City Google Street View

GAMES DEVELOPER Rockstar and Take Two Interactive have won a lawsuit filed by a chap who complained that a character in its Grand Theft Auto game looked a lot like him.

Michael "Shagg" Washington is a model and backing singer for the rap band Cypress Hill. He said that he looks, sounds and is a lot like a character called CJ in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and that this is probably because he met with the developers in 2003 and told them about his life.

Washington, who is credited in the games titles as a model, asked for $250m in damages according to the Hollywood Reporter, but he didn't get it.

He had already lost the case at trial and this was his appeal. Unfortunately for him the judge did not find his arguments to be very convincing, and was unbending.

"Plaintiff is relying entirely on CJ's physical appearance in the game, but that appearance is so generic that it necessarily includes hundreds of other black males," he said, adding that it would have been better for Washington if he and game character CJ had the same tattoos, or something.

Rockstar and Take Two used a First Amendment-based "transformative use" defense. µ


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