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.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen