Lindsay Lohan sued Take-Two Interactive in 2014, claiming that it had used her likeness in Grand Theft Auto 5, and its promotional materials, without her permission. Lohan alleged the character Lacey Jonas was based on her, and then later said the woman in the red bikini was also her, although the Daily Dot had previously confirmed that someone else served as the model for that character.
Karen Gravano of Mob Wives tragi-fame filed a similar suit that same year, saying that the character of Andrea Bottino was based on her life and likeness. Both cases have now been tossed out of court.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled that the lawsuits “must fail because defendants did not use [plaintiffs’] name, portrait, or picture” in the game. “As to Lohan’s claim that an avatar in the videogame is she and that her image is used in various images, defendants also never referred to Lohan by name or used her actual name in the videogame, never used Lohan herself as an actor for the videogame, and never used a photograph of Lohan,” the ruling says.
“Even if we accept plaintiffs’ contentions that the videogame depictions are close enough to be considered representations of the respective plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed because this videogame does not fall under the statutory definitions of ‘advertising’ or ‘trade’,” it continues. “This videogame’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,” which confers upon it First Amendment protections.
Finally, Lohan’s claim that her image was used to promote the game was tossed because the pictures of the woman in the red bikini “are not of Lohan herself, but merely the avatar in the game that Lohan claims is a depiction of her.” And since that claim was dismissed, there was no foundation remaining for this one.