GTA: San Andreas targeted with new lawsuit

Michael S. Washington files civil claim against Rockstar and Take-Two, saying the publishers used his past, likeness as basis for main character's story.

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It has been a while since anyone has sued Rockstar Games over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 and on the Xbox and PC in 2005, the game became the whipping child of game-regulation activists, after the so-called "Hot Coffee" scandal in which a sex minigame was uncovered within the game's code by way of a hack. Rockstar and parent company Take-Two Interactive went on to settle a number of class-action lawsuits that arose from the situation.

Washington claims the bikes in GTA: San Andreas were his doing.

Rockstar and Take-Two are now headed back to the legal arena on account of San Andreas, but the issues before the court this time aren't likely to trigger the same kind of class-action response. Far from it, as this week saw Michael S. Washington file suit against the New York-based publishers, claiming that Rockstar North based GTA: San Andreas on his life, going so far as to use his likeness for the primary character, Carl "CJ" Johnson.

According to Washington's complaint (obtained by enthusiast Web site Game Pron), Rockstar contacted him in January 2003, seeking information on "street life." Washington, who was then employed as a male model and backup singer for rap group Cypress Hill, noted in his complaint that he discussed his "troubled" youth with a group of developers for approximately two hours, offering such details as how "teenagers in his gang rode around on bicycles."

After the interview, Washington claims Rockstar said that he would be contacted should they decide to make use of the information he provided. He then states that he subsequently received no further contact from the studio and had forgotten the experience until July 2010, when his nephew brought the game to his attention.

Washington claims that he contacted Rockstar in July through his attorney and was allegedly told by the company's representation that his image and story were not used in the game. Rather, the main character's image was based off that of Christopher Bellard, known under his stage name as Young Maylay, who also voiced the character. Of note, Washington's name does appear in GTA: San Andreas' credits under the "Talent" section (timestamp 05:01 of the linked video).

Washington is seeking damages in excess of $250 million, claiming that he is entitled to 25 percent of the game's profits, a figure he pegged at more than $1 billion.

Take-Two had not responded to a request for comment on the suit as of press time.

Discussion

467 comments
Diascrive
Diascrive

Someone should file a lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of people that wasted their money on GTA IV but could not get it to run.   Thousands of people payed around 50$ for this game and because you cannot return games that have their seal broken - they were stuck with a 50$ coaster.   No help from Rockstar who should have provided a definitive fix for this problem.  I fear the same thing will happen with the upcoming release of GTA V this fall (2013)......this is like buying an Ipod - but when you turn the thing on it gives you a fatal error and shuts down - when you call or email Rockstar they give you a generic "fix" list that does nothing.  Any of you pro-bono lawyers out there want to represent thousands if not hundred of thousands of GTA IV buyers who were ripped off by a product that does not work - please just put out the word.

GamerErman2001
GamerErman2001

Eh.... I can see why he wants money, but 250 million? That's just too much money for using his likeness. Also, I've never heard of anyone getting 25 percent of a modern video games profits, there's just too many people involved in one game's development to give anyone person such an amount.

EmpressClaudia
EmpressClaudia

OMG, he wants to wait like 7 years to make a lawsuit? People never cease to amaze me.

PTM1219
PTM1219

what the.....!!! now he sue him why did this guy wait till now why he dont sue him before because he forget lol he just want credit and the money

Ztroyer
Ztroyer

What a a*shole trying to rob money of one of the best game companies in the world they own him nothing but a beaten for being a money grabbing Wa*k Stain!.

teeskoowared
teeskoowared

If this is the case then Rockstar needs to pay 25% profit to all of their research sources.....chill out Mr. Washington....troubled teens from Compton aren't the only ones that "ride bikes" Oh, and all of my friends say that I resemble Squall from FFVIII in personality and appearance, and my wife happens to look and act like Rinoa (completely true) so I think I should sue Square!!!!!

DMLSLAT
DMLSLAT

Nothing about Grand Theft Auto is even remotely realistic. I take it he's stolen dozens of cars, robbed banks, shot dozens of people, picked up a bunch of hookers, and done a lot of drugs, huh? I guess I'll believe the last one coming from this guy. Just... fail.

y3c
y3c

must be a jobless bum pushing his luck, hope it get thrown out of court....nuisance claims

F-14-D_TOMCAT
F-14-D_TOMCAT

When I first saw the headline for this article I thought the suit would be for the hot cofee mod. I hope they put hot cofee in GTA5.

jibaws
jibaws

this guy is obviously a complete idiot who thinks that he can sue anyone and get away with it. This type of stpuidity is what is messing up the rrest of the world. Why don't you grow some ballz and stop sleeping with ur mum

dangermouse2k
dangermouse2k

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

thegame4u
thegame4u

250 mill this is a good deal

havocmerc
havocmerc

Driving around in cars was my idea and so was flying planes, so I am going to sue every game developer who releases games with planes and cars. I might as well add guns to the mix.

Solamon
Solamon

Wow! I doubt he'll get far with this one. Especially if he only gave them the generic kind of information this article implies he gave. The fact that poor people in the ghetto ride around on bikes can't be that protected of information and could have been obtained from multiple sources.

Arab-man666
Arab-man666

So He's six years late, he told them about the "Bikes" and wants 250 million dollars. Either this man is very stupid, or he's just very very high.

Alex_09
Alex_09

Holy crap! His gang rode around on bikes!? They must have been a complete joke back then too.

zero7741
zero7741

hea hea...havocmerc said rubbish!

JohnisGodd
JohnisGodd

Woah. This guy flew around on ATV's and had X wings and stuff!? Holy S%^*

JohnisGodd
JohnisGodd

Woah. This guy flew around on ATV's and had X wings and stuff!? Holy S%^*

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

What a total moron. Game comes out, 6 years later sue it for $250 million. I hope you fall over your own footsteps and bump your head against a nearby table.

spooky57571
spooky57571

In other words--Hard times fall upon douche bag who needs cash.

St0Ne4Ge
St0Ne4Ge

Even if they did use him as the inspiration for CJ he thinks he deserves 25% of the games profits!?!? Damn if you wern't so stupid and greedy you might have got a settlement.

Shardz7
Shardz7

Another useless and frivolous lawsuit in search of a payday. Come to think of it...the Quake Guy resembles my persona...perhaps I should sue id Software. Ridiculous.

JimmyCos
JimmyCos

Take-two response: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

prioritymail
prioritymail

This all depends on how much of his consultation was actually implemented into the game.

Neosword
Neosword

I'm just wondering how this guy can afford to sue for such a massive amount. It takes money to build a court case.

M3tr4nk0
M3tr4nk0

This guy can't be serious.

thanatosser
thanatosser

I rode a bike once... I'd better call my solicitor.

havocmerc
havocmerc

Yes lets just sue Rockstar for making a game which reflects the life of millions of people. I think that its time people grow up and stop wasting the time of the courts with rubbish.

Dalton_Of_Zeal
Dalton_Of_Zeal

This game is based on my life, too. CJ eats hamburgers and pizza from time to time... they STOLE that from MY LIFE! I demand 250 million!

Trainz2006_fan
Trainz2006_fan

I never heard of this guy till now so he must be famous!

KuRf
KuRf

I think I'll sue Rockstar too because I used to have the same bicycle as in the game....

nofrks
nofrks

Next step: Serbs suing Rockstar for GTA IV.

nightstorm2010
nightstorm2010

This is so stupid... But when you are good as rockstar theare will be always people against you..

geoff-uk123
geoff-uk123

This guy is as moronic as anyone can get. As if most teenagers don't ride bikes. I guess he thinks Rockstar is an easy target when it comes to lawsuits, well, they're not. Also, this lawsuit is a few years too late. GTA: San Andreas came out in 2004, and what year is it now?

FabledVeteran
FabledVeteran

@mp01juve Haha Brilliant :) I think people should just leave Rockstar alone, whenever they bring out a new game it gets whole debates going on the news with people who never played it involved, and someone is still attempting to sue for a game which has been out for years... for the stupidest reason ever... Poor Rockstar

Amauris96
Amauris96

This guy is ridicoulus. Get his ass to jail.

daveslayerv1
daveslayerv1

i see what he means, i mean if that pushbike wasn't on the mountian i would have been bored with the game.... :S

almat96
almat96

All this trouble over bikes? Really? If it was based off of him, that guy would be in jail for like... Life.

metalkid9
metalkid9

the thıngs people do ın a recessıon...

FinalDuo1886
FinalDuo1886

Well he may need too get in line, because I'm sure he not only Black, or Latino involve in a inner city gangs that have the same story. GTA:SA was actually based off Boyz in the Hood, which is good movie by the way, but if you carefully compare the two, you can tell some similarities within the characters. I guess inspiration a crime now.

pszone
pszone

i know worried if person win case i had dream last night that rockstar games was up for sale and ps3 through it so gta was exlclisve for ps3 but really rockstar games should make more games and do hd classics to win money back what they own in the first place

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

....looks like somebody wasted too much money on tacky jewelry, tacky vehicles, and booze...