Manuel Noriega’s lawsuit against Activision, about which we previously blogged, has come to an end. To recap, Noriega’s complaint alleged, among other things, that Activision “damaged his reputation” by portraying him “as a kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state” in its Call of Duty: Black Ops II video game. Naturally, Activision hired former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani of Bracewell and Giuliani to defend against the former dictator’s allegations of misconduct. Giuliani promptly moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
Noriega, represented by the Chicago firm of Corboy and Demetrio, argued that the motion should be denied based on the No Doubt v. Activision case. The trial court, Judge Fahey presiding, disagreed. Judge Fahey found that “Noriega’s right of publicity is outweighed by defendants’ First Amendment right to free expression.” (emphasis added). Giuliani agreed with the Court’s decision and added that this seemingly small win was really a global win for freedom everywhere:
This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of ‘Call of Duty,’ but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.
In our humble opinion, this lawsuit is the civil litigation version of the Miracle on Ice – former Panamanian dictator versus former New York mayor Giuliani, and Giuliani prevails based on freedom. To borrow from one of Giuliani’s speeches, “[n]ow we understand much more clearly. why people from all over the world want to come to New York and to America. It’s called freedom.”
(Hat Tip: Courthouse News Service).