Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over 6-Year-Old Game

December 15, 2010 -

Would you believe yet another musician is suing a game developer/publisher?

Joining the ranks of No Doubt, Courtney Love and most recently, Axl Rose, Michael “Shagg” Washington, backup singer of rap group Cypress Hill, has filed suit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two.  He alleges that the main character of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was created using his image and life story.

Yeah, that’s right.  The GTA title that came out six years ago.

The complaint says Washington doesn’t play games so he didn’t find out about the likeness until last July when his nephew (who I dearly hope addresses him as “Uncle Shagg”) pointed it out to him.  At that point, he remembered meeting with Rockstar for a couple hours back in 2003 about possibly participating in the creation of a video game.

“The plaintiff, who had led a troubled life in his youth, responded to their questions and related details of his life.  The plaintiff told them about details of his street life including how the teen-agers in his gang rode around on bicycles...  After almost two hours of questioning which covered many topics of gang and street life, the meeting ended and the plaintiff was allowed to leave.

Before he left, the Plaintiff was told that if they chose to use him in the game, he would be notified."


Well, Rockstar never called so Washington is seeking $250 million (which he estimates is a quarter of the game's total profits) for fraud, misappropriation of likeness, and copyright infringement.  He is also requesting that Take-Two be enjoined from selling the six-year-old game until he’s been compensated for use of his likeness and ideas.

For its part, Take-Two said, "The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter."

Read the entire complaint here.

Via: IGN

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

He's mad because they put bikes in the game? I ride a bike? Can I sue them too?

Re: Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

If this case was the other way around, Rockstar would probably be just as petty. Welcome to the Litigious States of America.

-Greevar

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

He wants $250 million? Didn't he get enough money from the casino heist?

Re: Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

You know why he's angry, right?  Now the government knows that it was him who stole their jetpack and green goo. 

Re: Cypruss Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

6 years?! Come on. If Rockstar asked me details about my life and then a year later came out with a game, I would be interested to see if they did add my likeness within weeks of release.

Regardless, they did not use his image or likeness. They didn't violate anything. Could they have borrowed some details from the stories he told them? SURE! Happens all the time when it comes to writing. If someone told me about an experience they had as a soldier and I happened to write a short story with some similarities based off of the events told, that is not illegal but common-place. Rockstar asked details about gang life and his troubled youth, he provided info. Sounds perfectly legit. No contracts signed? 

I see this being without merit and most likely dismissed by the court.

 

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: Cypruss Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over ...

Well yes, it happens all the time in writing.. it is also a common lawsuit.

This is a case of where the entertainment industry tends to be a bit slimy.. it is not unusual for the people who listen to pitches, read drafts, or start up projects to turn around and hand the material over to their internal teams, cutting out the 'outsider' who originated much of the content. A lot of young, unconnected, unknown authors have really been screwed by the practice over the years.... and there are people in the industry who build their entire career out of this class of IP theft.

 
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