Grand Theft Lindsay

     I love it when life is occasionally logical.
     So I was delighted to see that actress Lindsay Lohan has sued the maker of a video game for stealing her persona for “Grand Theft Auto.”
     Of course “Grand Theft Auto” people are going steal stuff!
     There should be an assumption-of-risk defense for this.
     This case presents a law practice lesson and an interesting legal question.
     The law practice lesson is: Don’t sue.
     You’ve got a client who desperately needs a career revival and you want to quash a starring role?
     OK, maybe Lohan’s business manager (if she has one) is at fault here, but this is a significant opportunity. How many actresses get to star in a best-selling video game? How many actresses can turn a life of disappointment into a cash machine?
     Yeah, a fair number, when you consider reality TV, but Grand Theft Auto is big time. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
     Consider the alternatives. Either Lohan sues and spends years in court paying lawyers (which, I admit, is good for the lawyers) or she offers to go on tour promoting Grand Theft Auto.
     And then stars in the movie version.
     Even if Rockstar Games doesn’t pay Lohan, this is a good deal for her.
     There’s also the coolness factor.
     Come on, you’ve dreamed of starring in a video game, haven’t you?
     Is it just me?
     Maybe it is.
     It’s therapeutic too. If Lindsay can’t act on those dark impulses (for fear of permanent rehab or a long sentence), she can have lookalike Lacey Jonas do it – hardcore GTA style.
     What could be more satisfying?
     It’s flattering too. According to the lawsuit, “The Plaintiff’s GTA V character(s) are not only portraits of the Plaintiff’s likeness but the aforesaid ‘Lacey Jonas’ side mission tells a story in GTA V, which contains identical events to the Plaintiff’s life.”
     How many of us can say our life inspired a video game?
     The legal question is one of those line-drawing things. Where does satire end and intellectual property theft begin?
     Is a Lohan character in a video game different from a Lohan character in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch?
     No one thinks that’s the real Lindsay on TV, and Rockstar says that Lacey is a “lookalike.”
     What’s the difference?
     Probably a million bucks or so.
     Note to Rockstar: Your next game franchise should be “Rehab Rampage” or “Child Star Thug Life.”
     
     Interesting Comparison: Speaking of entertaining software and strange decisions, check out an article from last week’s Washington Post.
     This is from the last paragraph: “Foster said Detective Abbott told her that after obtaining photos of the teen’s erect penis he would ‘use special software to compare pictures of this penis to this penis.'”
     Special software?
     Does Rockstar know about this program?
     Are there aspects of a penis that only a computer can discover?
     If you haven’t read the story, you may be wondering why such a technological marvel would be needed. The answer is that the police in Manassas, Va. want to take a 17-year-old kid to a hospital and give him an injection that will, supposedly, give the kid an erection that the cops can photograph.
     (Apparently there is such a thing as an erection injection.)
     Then they can compare the photo to the photo sent to the kid’s girlfriend.
     Do you get the feeling that the cops in Manassas have a little too much time on their hands?
     Be that as it may, this has caused a bit of a furor and some litigation that could easily have been avoided.
     Note to police: there are other more pleasant ways to induce an erection.
     The suspect might have been happy to volunteer.

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