Rockstar Games are in the right to counter Lindsay Lohan; Not At Fault

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photo courtesy of elitedaily.com

What do you think? Are the two a perfect match?

You may have seen the recent news regarding Lindsay Lohan — a prominent actress who rose to fame with hit films such as “The Parent Trap” and “Mean Girls” — and her jab at Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar Games for allegedly “stealing her likeness” in GTA V. Well… Rockstar has responded towards the matter and it seems the only thing being put on trial is the veracity of Lohan’s claims. While I most certainly have my own opinion to share, one that would question Lindsay’s motives, determine if this is her first attempt at nitpicking, and ultimately argue that it is actually Rockstar who is without fault, first things first…The backstory:

Lohan’s lawsuit that was filed in July claims that the developer not only “incorporated her likeness, outfits, clothing brand, and image” in the form of GTA character Lacy Jonas – a celebrity who the player helps escort away from paparazzi – but Rockstar also did so without Lilo’s permission. Needless to say, Lindsay’s lawsuit of alleged infringement towards image rights has been met with immediate backlash from the internet and gaming culture. But it did not take long for Rockstar Games to contribute their own backlash by way of court documents which were filed on August 20. In them, Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive rebut that the only similarities to Lindsay and their own character Lacy Jonas is that they are “both young, blonde women.” They would also go on to say that Lindsay’s lawsuit is without merit and that she only filed it for “publicity purposes.”Now I am of the mindset that Rockstar Games’ backfiring is the only thing justifiable about this whole debate.

After all, one of the reason’s the Grand Theft Auto series is so successful is not just because it’s vast open world is unprecedented, nor is it because the game allows the player to consume cannabis in their own virtual space after a steamy night out at the gentlemen’s club (okay, it’s possible that may be part of the reason). Kidding aside, Grand Theft Auto is a franchise juggernaut simply because it allows you to do whatever you want.

Speaking for GTA V, the entire game space echoes the ebbs and flows of day to day life we often experience. It doesn’t take long much after the opening cut scene finishes for you to realize that just about anything and everything is more or less available to you in the game. When players aren’t experiencing the game’s story mode, for instance, absolute freedom takes over. You can go out for a jog along the beach, get out for a game of golf at the local country club, and even take a drive up towards Vinewood (a parody of Hollywood) in the night while listening to various artists from Tyler, The Creator and Rihanna, to Queen and Elton John. Make no mistake, the world is in your hands while playing Grand Theft Auto and it feels real. In the case of GTA V – which is the basis for Lindsay’s argument – the allusion of realism would not be properly implemented without the game world feeling like our own world when we unplug and go outside. Because of this, Rockstar’s city of Los Santos in GTA V is essentially, a parody of Los Angeles. The game’s own “LifeInvader” is also a parody of Facebook and the real-life app “Ifruit” which links your phone to the game, is a parody of Apple’s iPhone and their various apple products.

None of this has gotten backlash from Rockstar. The city of Los Angeles seems unaffected by the decision to include landmarks from real-life L.A. in the game and neither Facebook nor Apple have yet to send their hounds after the gaming company. So for Lindsay Lohan – an actress who has seen more than enough legal troubles already – to go and sue Rockstar for basically maintaining their pedigree of artistic freedom is totally bonkers. Besides, this is not the first time Lohan has attempted to do something like this.

You might remember that the “Mean Girls” star also attempted to sue Pitbull for a lyric about her in his hit 2011 song “Give Me Everything.” Not unlike her lawsuit against Rockstar, Lindsay’s reasoning for suing Pitbull were also claimed without much justification behind it due to her belief that the lyrics were indeed “disparaging and defamatory” towards her image. The lyric, “Hustlers move aside, so I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’/ I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan,” was enough for Lindsay to sue Pitbull under New York’s Civil Rights Law. Sorry, Lindsay… just because someone briefly referred to you in a song does not mean you can go around asking for money. Besides…It’s not like Pitbull didn’t do his homework beforehand right? His song is considered a “work of art.” Thereby protected under a musical artists’ rights to express themselves through song.

The best part about this whole predicament is that Lindsay Feels like she is the only famous blonde in the world or in the case of Pitbull’s lyric, the only one in the world named Lindsay Lohan. It doesn’t help that Pitbull fought back and eventually won against Lohan. Same principle applies to the current GTA V situation. Maybe Lohan feels this time is different and that maybe, just maybe, her constitutional rights were infringed upon via video games. But the writing is on the wall and if you ask me, I’d say Rockstar is alright to counter Lindsay and that she really needs help. Not only in regards to her mental well-being but also in the education of court and law. It seems to me that Lindsay is quick to slam other successful entities claiming her rights are being infringed upon each time. But is it really a crime for a game company (who already has a knack for taking various themes of modern pop culture and recreating it as their own) to create a non-playable character who… let’s face it, can be a knock-off of any blonde celebrity really, and include them in their game? My answer is no.

In fact, I would say Lindsay is only upset because Rockstar found a way to take various issues we see modern day celebrities have (not just Lohan’s) and actually make their current situation playable. To me, that isn’t infringement of rights, that is a classic example of a triple-A developer’s artistic freedom. And who is Lindsay to deny us that? Never change, Rockstar. Keep fighting for your rights. At least someone knows the proper way to do it.

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