Lindsay Lohan GTA V: Celebrity Prank or Justified Action?

Lindsay Lohan

As news filters in that Hollywood actress and controversial socialite Lindsay Lohan has finally made good on her threats to sue the makers of the blockbuster video game GTA V, many are beginning to wonder whether this is another attention-seeking gimmick or whether the actress has a genuine reason to feel her rights have been infringed. The Freaky Friday and Mean Girls star claims that creators of Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games, used her image and likeness in portraying a minor character, Lacey Jonas, without permission. The case has opened up a lively debate about the rights and privacy of celebrity figures in contemporary culture. Is her move to sue GTA V a celebrity prank or a justified action?

Lohan, who is better known around the world for her controversial personal life rather than her acting prowess, first threatened to sue Rockstar back in December 2013. She finally filed her suit in a Manhattan court on Wednesday, claiming the character Lacey Jonas “unequivocally” resembles her and that the game has not only shamefacedly depicted her likeness but also her clothing line as well as the Chateau Marmont hotel where the tabloid favorite once lived and wrote a few chapters of her tumultuous personal life.

Many celebrity news pundits and social commentators are not disputing that the GTA V character bears at least some resemblance to Lohan, but many are keen to point out this is not the first time a celebrity figure has come out and expressed concerns about their character being represented in a video game. Last year Ellen Page, the Two Souls star, complained the character Ellie in The Last of Us, a video game by Naughty Dog, closely resembled her. The big difference is that Page did not feel aggrieved enough to take legal action. This has many asking today if Lindsay Lohan is pulling a celebrity prank by suing GTA V or if her action is justified.

Before considering whether Lohan has a case, it is important to note that since its first release, the Grand Theft Auto series has never been averse to parodying actual living people as well as businesses and television shows. However, the question remains whether the character known as Lacey Jonas is a blatant portrayal of Lindsay Lohan or just a fictional depiction of the vain, attention-seeking Hollywood star stereotype. Some feel it would take some lively imagination to classify it as the former rather than the latter.

Many people are wondering whether this latest overture by Lohan will help in her bid to turn around her much tarnished image. By filing the suit, some are asking: is she not tacitly acknowledging that she indeed does bear close resemblance to such a grotesquely vain character as Lacey Jonas? If the case is, as many experts and pundits are predicting, thrown out by the courts; will this not just further soil her reputation?

According to provisions of the Fourth Amendment, it seems clear that the creators of GTA V were well within their rights in their portrayal of Lacey Jonas. The law gives leeway for the artistic, entertaining and creative portrayal of a person’s name or character in a way that is transformative. In other words, all Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games would have to show (assuming even that Lindsay Lohan manages to prove that Lacey Jonas is a portrayal of her) is that their artistic work adds enough creativity as to make their work of art recognizably their own. Is Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against GTA V a celebrity prank or a justified action? Either way, the law will probably win in the end.

Opinion By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

Yahoo Games

The Verge

Daily Mail

Forbes

11 Responses to "Lindsay Lohan GTA V: Celebrity Prank or Justified Action?"

  1. George   July 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Beware political cartoonists; think of all the satirical panels we see every day… does that mean those require the person’s approval?

    Reply
  2. Sean Swan   July 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Sounds like Lindsey is trying to make a bit of money. I’ve seen the character, you could relate that girl to many girls in Hollywood. It’s just Lindsey’s fault she is the perfect stereotype of a Hills girl.

    Reply
  3. Paul Sxtn   July 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    That would be the first, not fourth amendment.

    Reply
  4. Wahome (@NWahome)   July 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Just when you thought Lindsay Lohan had reformed her ways, she manages to pull something even uglier out of the bag! This is a new low. Shame!!!

    Reply
    • Josh   July 4, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      Who thought she had “reformed her ways”????
      That girl is beyond damaged…. I’ve met her… She will NOT be able to change as long as she remains in the spotlight… It’s not just chemicals that are a problem for many of these types of people, but also the attention itself (both positive AND negative)

      Reply
      • Anthony Day Grandin   July 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        Yeah you’ve totally met her.

        Reply
  5. tanner dehne   July 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

    i agree suzie q but justice u are the kind who take fun away from video games, tv, if rockstar wanted that to be lindsay lohan they would ask permission. either way lohan is broke and is looking for a way to get money.

    Reply
  6. justice   July 4, 2014 at 5:23 am

    It is based on Lindsay Lohan and everyone knows it. She should SUE them!

    Reply
    • Fill   July 5, 2014 at 8:29 am

      As long as they didn’t use her name, her image or her voice (of which they didn’t), then it doesn’t matter if they based a character on her or not. You can’t go around suing every novel writer, game maker, artist, etc. every time you recognize some aspect of yourself in their work. It would be chaos if you could.

      Reply
      • Paul Sxtn   July 8, 2014 at 6:17 am

        They don’t have to use her name image or voice to create an infringing work. I haven’t played the game, but GTA IV had lots of fair use parody and would imagine this is another example of that.

        Reply
  7. Suzie Q   July 4, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Lacy Jonas doesn’t even look like her. This lawsuit is a good example of narcissism gone wild. She’s just suing to try to get a settlement. It’s her new “income”

    Reply

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