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Lindsay Lohan is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto V" for allegedly basing a ditzy blond character on her image.
In Lohan's suit against Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (which owns Rockstar Games), she claims the character in question -- a digital buxom blonde named Lacey Jonas -- was a video game simulacrum of the "Mean Girls" actress' likeness, outfits, and hairstyle, the New York Daily News reports.
Does LiLo actually have a case against the makers of "GTA V"?
This isn't the first time that someone has sued for having his or her image allegedly swiped for a video game. College athletes were having their digital lookalikes ported into EA Sports' various NCAA games for years before they were eventually compensated.
"Grand Theft Auto" has made a name for itself by creating fairly expansive worlds for its protagonists to run around and commit crimes in, including a whole panoply of in-game radio stations, ad campaigns, and life-like cityscapes. Inspiration for these elements are often clearly drawn from real life entities -- "GTA: San Andreas" has a world modeled after the real-life states of California and Nevada.
The question for Lohan's lawsuit is whether the character Lacey Jonas is more than just inspired from real-life people like the "Parent Trap" star. Likeness rights, also called rights of publicity, prevent a person's name, likeness, and persona from being used without his or her permission. If LiLo can prove that Take-Two essentially used her image and celebrity in order to promote their game via Lacey Jonas, she might just have a case.
"GTA V's" cover art features an illustrated version of Lacey Jones in a red bikini taking a selfie with her fingers in the "deuces" sign. Lohan claims that images like these were drawn directly from similar pictures she had taken in a swimsuit.
Ignoring for a moment how common and ubiquitous that sort of pose is, Lohan may need to prove that her celebrity and image are so distinct that consumers could not help but associate Lacey with Lindsay.
Other celebrities have tried similar legal arguments: "Wheel of Fortune's" Vanna White once fought a legal battle against Samsung over a robot with a wig and a dress turning the "Wheel of Fortune" letters. Lacey Jones certainly looks more like Lindsay Lohan than a robot in a wig, but for our money ... she kinda looks more like Scarlett Johansson.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.