$250 million GTA: San Andreas lawsuit fails

Appeals court judge denies supposed Cypress Hill backup singer's claims that Rockstar used his likeness as model for CJ character.

Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive has won a lawsuit over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, writes The Hollywood Reporter. An appellate court judge on Wednesday denied supposed Cypress Hill backup singer Michael "Shagg" Washington's claims that Rockstar used his life story and physical appearance as a basis for protagonist Carl "CJ" Johnson. Cypress Hill denies any association with Washington.

Washington sued Take-Two in 2010 for $250 million, alleging that during the course of the game's development, he met with Rockstar to discuss details regarding his former life as a gang member. He even provided the company with a photo of himself and his name appears in the GTA: San Andreas credits.

However, a judge did not find this to be enough, and a California appeals court has concurred. Washington's principal problem was that he could not prove it was his likeness that appeared in San Andreas. The judge said, "Plaintiff is relying entirely on CJ's physical appearance in the game, but that appearance is so generic that it necessarily includes hundreds of other black males."

Additionally, the judge ruled that even if Rockstar did base CJ on Washington, it would have been protected as transformative fair use. This is an argument based on the fact that the First Amendment allows existing materials, including images, to be used so long as they are amended enough for a new purpose.

"Washington has presented no evidence demonstrating that the plot or characters of GTA: San Andreas have any relevance to his life or his purported fame," a statement from the decision reads.

[CORRECTION] According to a tweet from Cypress Hill, Washington is not affiliated with the band. GameSpot regrets the error.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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0 comments
DEagle267
DEagle267

Guess it was worth a shot, even if it did take him 7-8 years to find out they supposedly based the game on his appearance and story lol.

BigAl519
BigAl519

Hey look! Another moronic celebrity/musician who have used up all their money and are looking for any way possible to get some back!

ThyDavideth
ThyDavideth

Dumb a$$ gangbangers! Don't you realize that a lot of you come from a similar background of drugs and violence. Why don't you morons just sue each other for subconscious emulation?  

Justinps2hero
Justinps2hero

Funniest lawsuit EVER!

Did he bring evidence  of mass murdering gang members to back up said claims? Brilliant, what a dope.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Much as I totally, totally agree with the ruling, what the judge said was a bit brave wasn't it?

 

You know, because "they all look the same" as the saying might go..... some people are gonna jump all over that statement, it's inevitable.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

I thought CJ was based on the guy that actually voiced him in the game.  Young Maylay right?

farcorners
farcorners

If I had a chicken in my yard, could I sue KFC?

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

I once jumped a dirt bike off this really tall mountain with a parachute strapped to my back. Should I sue?

Saladudo
Saladudo

"...thousands...", from the W-POV

skipper847
skipper847

I hope Take 2 sued them for time waisting.

hardeman
hardeman

HD remake of vice city pretty please!!!

murderdoll82
murderdoll82

I always thought God of war was based on my balding dad. I want to sue sony!

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

Reminds me of the Simpson's episode when Bart was accused of being head of the Mob. After watching the movie based on it, homer asks "When do we get paid for this?" Marge replies "they said they changed it enough that they don't  have to pay us".  - probably the same thing here.

HSV002
HSV002

HD remake of GTA SA anyone? I'm very keen for it even though i think it is a pipe dream.

Granpire
Granpire

Wow, he isn't even associated with the band? That's just doubly wrong.

botswanky
botswanky

Maybe if his lawyer had advised him to pursue a more reasonable sum of money? 250 million? c'mon, what a joke.  

Dark_December
Dark_December

I neeeeed a dolla, dolla, dolla that's what I need and if I share with you my story , would you share your dolla with me?

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

He wanted 250 million dollars because he thought the character resembled him and his life? Ok. I think this guy has an ego problem.

IevildirkI
IevildirkI

CJ is based on me cus i murder people, lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, and pick up hookers. Where is my millions?

 

RiP_ili
RiP_ili

I started out in the hood, with a bicycle. I sometimes wear a wife-beater, and I love me some hot coffee. Maybe I've got a case too.

RiKanKiDD
RiKanKiDD

Will the real slim shady please stand up

Divine_Stryph
Divine_Stryph

HA HA. Back-up singer trying to get paid. I'm not mad at him for trying. Seriously.

King_Jeremy_77
King_Jeremy_77

Been told i look like Ezio, maybe i should sue Ubisoft lol

fredwv
fredwv

I've been told I look a lot like Duke Nukem,..   

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

I DO look like the PS3! Sony, I want my money back!

gplayer5
gplayer5

Just another nut trying to scam money out of a huge corporation (a.k.a. business as usual lol). He seriously thought he would win a case like that?.... -_-

LJMStrike
LJMStrike

well that is insane in the membrane ;-)

 

Just herd Samuel L Jackson is suing Rockstar for his likeness to officer Ten Penny in the Game :-D 

Wesleypipes777
Wesleypipes777

Judge says "How can you tell? They all look alike to me!!" 

RE2LeonS
RE2LeonS

LOL whoops! Well that was fast, what a grade-A loser.

adrian_cortez94
adrian_cortez94

man, makuch. can you change the title of the article? you're giving cypress hill a bad rep.

Numbuh277
Numbuh277

sounds like cypress hill needs a little pocket change since they are broke.

simon1812
simon1812

CJ does kind of look like Shagg, but since they r both walking stereotypes it doesnt matter :D

Skyrim25
Skyrim25

Why are rappers so obsessed with gangster crap? Is being a self centered, drug using, and killing for stupid sh*t that 5 year olds call honor (basiclly a gangster) really something to be proud of?

Fowsed
Fowsed

aw shit... I remember pretending I was CJ at school... fuck, I gota run to Mexico

EliOli
EliOli

Rats...  I was going to sue them because a character looked like me.  Well that blows it then.

wexorian
wexorian

Racist judge and Idiot man who tryng to make easy money, he Tried to use Thughtools to Robe bank but did not worked seems.

jubeio
jubeio

I like how it took him so long to try this, I mean this game is 8 years old

Borrizee
Borrizee

Any gangster story is alike,they did not need him for that.

sodiumpentathol
sodiumpentathol

Pompous jackass trying to cash in on a popular franchise. They should sue him for it!

tightwad34
tightwad34

I wonder how many people he bragged to about being the main character for this game? You know he did. Hiphopcrisy anyone? 

SirenAries
SirenAries

im glad he lost. just trying to get rich quick

vadagar1
vadagar1

all these people in games look like humans

God should SUE.....

 

omg all these characters in games must be breathing air right!! like me ....SUEEEEEEEEE, oh look that street looks like my street!!...SUEEEEEEEEEEEE, omg I have the same knife..SUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

 

honestly I thank God that most judges still have common sense

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

Another washed up junkie trying to make some money....Hey Shagg...go greet shoppers at Wal Mart scumbag. You don't see all the people that South Park makes fun of and they use the real name of the people most of the time and you can tell they are making fun of them. But I guess they put that warning up before every episode stating that any likeness is only by coincidence.....but still EVERYONE knows what they are doing....so I can just see it now......when every game loads  you will get that same message, unless endorsed by a specific "real" person......so sad....lol

MileofDespair
MileofDespair

Wow,  Michael "Shagg" Washington sounds like he may be a bit full of himself,  R* should have won that and i'm glad they fought it through.

mastergundam
mastergundam

this is the law suit that i feel happy when R* actually won :)

diduseethatduck
diduseethatduck

The judge said, "Plaintiff is relying entirely on CJ's physical appearance in the game, but that appearance is so generic that it necessarily includes hundreds of other black males."

 

What he meant was "they all look alike."