David Jacoby: Dismissal of Lindsay Lohan’s Video Game Suit “Good Result” for Gaming Companies

Our New York partner David Jacoby was recently interviewed by the New York Law Journal about a ruling that dismisses Lindsay Lohan’s suit against the maker of the Grand Theft Auto video game for creating a character that allegedly looked like the actress. Here are some excerpts of the article –

Ruling in a matter of first impression, New York’s high court dismissed suits filed by Lindsay Lohan and the daughter of ex-mobster Sammy “The Bull” Gravano against the makers of “Grand Theft Auto V,” disagreeing with their claims that characters in the game were intended to be their look-alikes.

But an attorney for one of the plaintiff’s said the New York Court of Appeals’ ruling, brought under a section of New York’s Civil Rights law pertaining to the “right to publicity,” is a partial victory since the panel found the state’s privacy laws can be applied to digital avatars of people.

***

“An optimist can argue it’s a split decision,” Farinella said. “They certainly didn’t get what they wanted, which is First Amendment protection as to a video game.”

David Jacoby, a partner at Culhane Meadows who was not involved with either the Lohan or Gravano cases, and who has litigated on behalf of software firms, said in an email forwarded by a spokeswoman that he sees the rulings as a “good result” for video game companies, as it provides them the freedom to “paint culturally evocative images” in their games.

“But the decision also leaves the door open for individuals who are recognizably depicted without their permission in some contexts – for example, in a supposedly factually accurate historical game – to assert a claim,” Jacoby said.

The case is styled Lindsay Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Click HERE to access the full article from New York Law Journal.

*Culhane Meadows is ranked by U.S. News/Best Law Firms in Technology Law, Bankruptcy/Reorganization Law, and Information Technology Law. This website and the communications herein may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information herein is not intended to create an attorney-client or similar relationship. Until you establish such a relationship and receive an engagement letter, you have not hired a Culhane Meadows attorney nor become a client of the firm. Whether you are a new or existing client of the firm, Culhane Meadows must determine that there is no conflict of interest and that it is willing and otherwise able to accept the new engagement before representing you on a new matter. Only if and after Culhane Meadows has informed you it is willing and able to accept your new matter should you send the firm any information or documents that you consider private or confidential. Such information will not be treated as private, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure until Culhane Meadows has communicated in writing that it is willing and able to accept your new matter and provide you with legal counsel. Whether you need legal services and which lawyer or law firm you select are important decisions that should not be based on this website alone.