Nick Hall talks about using people’s likeness in games and how this connects to likeness rights law in the US and South Africa. There have been a number of fairly famous likeness rights law cases recently, including:
- Lady Gaga sued Mine Candy, the makers of Moshi Monsters, for the inclusion of their character, Lady Goo Goo;
- Lindsay Lohan sued Rockstar for their inclusion of the character Lacey Jonas in Grand Theft Auto V;
- Manuel Noriega sued Activision for the inclusion of his name and likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
These celebrities were able to sue the gaming companies due to the publicity rights laws of the United States. These publicity rights mean that as a human, you have a right to make sure and control how your identity is used for commercial purposes. This jurisdiction differs from others where the commercial requirement is not specified.
Likeness in South Africa
In South Africa, we have followed the United Kingdom’s jurisdiction for likeness rights law, that we do not have an explicit publicity right, but our common law states that it is a person’s constitutional right to privacy – this is where our publicity right is being developed.
Nick Hall discusses similar South African issues:
- the South African case, not related to gaming, of Basetsana Khumalo vs. Cycle Lab;
- the use of characters like Rambo and Chuck Norris in Broforce; and
- the unpublished Zapiro cartoon game, Zafari
Watch the video below: