Hip Hop Back-Up Sues for $250 Million Over GTA: San Andreas

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Hip Hop Back-Up Sues for $250 Million Over GTA: San Andreas

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A former back-up singer for Cypress Hill has sued Rockstar Games for using his likeness in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas back in 2004, but somehow model and former Cypress Hill back-up performer Michael "Shagg" Washington didn't get the memo and just noticed that, according to him, it has a strong similarity to his life. So strong, in fact, that Washington feels Rockstar owes him $250 million.

Washington has sued Rockstar Games for this exorbitant amount, alleging that it used his image without paying him. He was interviewed by Rockstar in 2003 for nearly two hours over his past so it could potentially be used in San Andreas. Rockstar told Washington that it would notify him if it decided to use his likeness in the game, but he never got a call.

Fast forward to July 2010, when Washington's nephew reportedly showed him some of San Andreas's gameplay. Washington found main character Carl "CJ" Johnson to be a clear representation of himself, and he started putting together a lawsuit over fraud, misappropriation of likeness, and infringement. Rockstar Games credits rapper Christopher "Young Maylay" Bellard as the basis of Johnson, not Washington.

Washington is suing for $250 million because he says it's "25% of San Andreas's profits." The lawsuit claims that Washington doesn't play videogames, so he somehow never even saw a screenshot of San Andreas until recently. During his interview with Rockstar, he says that he talked about "details of his street life," including how his gang used to ride around on bicycles. There doesn't appear to be information available about something that might be more specific than these bicycles.

Washington's lawyer made this lame statement: "It's hard to believe that the makers of a game that allows you to shoot at cops, pick up prostitutes, and run over pedestrians at will, would actually cheat somebody out of money, but this seems to be the case." Way to be creative.

Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, says: "The company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter." Unless there's a particularly damning similarity we don't know about yet, I don't think Take-Two will have much trouble.

Carl Johnson is a pretty regular looking dude until he's made fatter or given a new haircut by players, so I doubt the likeness argument will hold up, plus Johnson looks exactly like Bellard. The missions in San Andreas are so spectacular that it's unlikely anybody actually lived through most of them (especially that damn RC helicopter). This lawsuit is probably just the result of someone with dollar signs in their eyes.

Source: IGN

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...what; you mean a black guy?

Hey, y'know, I used to ride around my neighborhood with bikes! I think Rockstar owes me money too!

Aww, looks like we got an aspiring Prima Donna here.

I bet he sues New Line Cinema next for basing Menace II Society on his life.

what a loser

...Just sayin O_o

Commander Breetai:
...what; you mean a black guy?

If he can claim likeness, then everyone who has ever used a young white guy owes me money.

Ran outta money probably, so he's suing for cash. Seems to be popular these days.

Y'know, he's speaking in legal terms, but all I'm hearing is "DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRR!"

As much as I hate to do this, I gotta go with a quick "COOL STORY, BRO!" to this guy.
Some serious bullshit goin' on up in this bitch.

Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

I'm not racist but a lot of black guys seem to do whatever it takes to seem gangster and this seems like the most elaborate way someone has ever attempted to do that. (Besides the money of course.)

Tommy Vercetti had white skin and dark hair and so do I. KERCHING!

CoverYourHead:
Hey, y'know, I used to ride around my neighborhood with bikes! I think Rockstar owes me money too!

Hey man i know what you mean! I use to go swimming and eat at a fastfood resturant and then lose wieght via working out at a random gym.

OT: really? I mean really? there is no way this thing will be takin seriously I would be suprise if he can bring Rockstar to the barganing table, IF.

Wow, this is hilarious. Guys, I think he has a legitimate claim /sarcasm.

Commander Breetai:
Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

I'm pretty sure they also need to use some variation of the phrase "motherfuckin'" and "bitch" as well.

This_ends_now:

Commander Breetai:
Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

I'm pretty sure they also need to use some variation of the phrase "motherfuckin'" and "bitch" as well.

True enough man. Hard life for them eh?

CoverYourHead:
Hey, y'know, I used to ride around my neighborhood with bikes! I think Rockstar owes me money too!

Holy shit... me too!

We'll sue them together!
Then I'll sue you, because you did what I did and didn't give me money.

Yeah...somebody's been huffin' too much pain me thinks. It's shit like this that makes me wish these bullshit lawsuits carried the death penalty for the one making the claim.

Y'know, I have a leather jacket, white t-shirt, green combats and white trainers, I'm white and have dark brown hair in the same style as a certain GTA3 character, and I live not too far away from them... OOOH, ROCKSTAR ARE/WERE STALKING ME. They MUST have used my likeness, I WANTS MY MONEYS!!!

*Sigh*

I know times are though, but wow, this is just stupid.

Good luck pal, hope you get counter sued.

A former back-up singer for Cypress Hill has sued Rockstar Games for using his likeness in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Former.
Back-up singer.
Cypress Hill.

Yep, I'm fairly certain this is just about the moneys. His bank account is probably feeling a little light and he needs to refill it.

I need a picture of this guy. The fact that I need a picture to see who this guy doesn't add merit to this case. BTW: has anyone heard anything about the copyright issue in Brazil?

This situation lends itself to two possibilities:

1.) Out of money and out of work entertainer seeks compensation for his likeness allegedly being used in a video game.

2.) New GTA set in San Andreas announcement soon, fellow bustas! All you have to do is follow the train!

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IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE HIM

What is this guy getting in on the "Washed up nobody sues big-time game company" bandwagon?

On top of the seventeen other levels of crazy displayed by this guy (Look, I put a bucket on mah head! Castle Crashers owes me ...ten bucks!), $250 million? A quarter of all profits because a black guy looks like another black guy and rode a bike once?

IF he'd put together a claim for say, $250,000, Rockstar might have just offered him 50k to shut the hell up and refill his bong to have some more great ideas (That's Cypress Hill stereotyping btw, not racism :D ), but seriously, with the amount of stuff in GTA SA, you'd have to own the rights to every track on every radio station to have any kind of claim on 10% of the profits.

Also, a billion dollars profit on San Andress? even if Rockstar pulled in $20 a copy, which I seriously doubt, that's 50 million copies sold? Really? that's at full price too, it's about $2 on Steam when on offer.

EDIT: As someone else said, we need some kind of 'common sense' jury on these things, if all 12 jurors decide you're being a money grabbing dick and don't have a case, you leave with nothing, after all 12 jurors and the defendant have kicked you in the balls. And the defendant gets a run up.

I'd say a good guideline is, if it hasn't made you unable to live a normal life (for example, crippled you and left you needing constant medical care), and you're claiming more than $100,000 (which is generous), you're probably being a dick. I'm sick of seeing people claim for extended emotional trauma because they got called a fatty boom boom by someone.

xXDeMoNiCXx:

This_ends_now:

Commander Breetai:
Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

I'm pretty sure they also need to use some variation of the phrase "motherfuckin'" and "bitch" as well.

True enough man. Hard life for them eh?

You're both thinking of a hype-man, not backup. Backup singer for hip-hop is more "Ooooooooo"

EllEzDee:

xXDeMoNiCXx:
I'm not racist but a lot of black guys seem to do whatever it takes to seem gangster and this seems like the most elaborate way someone has ever attempted to do that.

Yes, a lot of black people act gangster, eat chicken and watermelons and listen to rap music. You're either a troll, or an idiot.

Commander Breetai:
Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

This_ends_now:

Commander Breetai:
Anyway, he's just a back-up singer. For hip-hop doesn't that basically just equate to grunting and saying "Yeah!" randomly?

I'm pretty sure they also need to use some variation of the pharse "motherfuckin'" and "bitch" as well.

Wow, this thread is seemingly full of idiots.
That said, this guy making claims against Rockstar must have had quite a life, what with being the first man on earth to use a jetpack, especially one stolen from a high security military base. I imagine his bicycle gang had something to do with it.

Really? I thought every street thug swims onto an aircraft carrier, steals a VTOL fighter jet, uses it to destroy a handful of ships, and then safety stashes it away in his own private airfield in the desert. Maybe his gang was an exception. I'm sure they just robbed trains by following them on motorbikes and shooting at Mexicans before...well, I forgot.

RvLeshrac:

xXDeMoNiCXx:

This_ends_now:

I'm pretty sure they also need to use some variation of the phrase "motherfuckin'" and "bitch" as well.

True enough man. Hard life for them eh?

You're both thinking of a hype-man, not backup. Backup singer for hip-hop is more "Ooooooooo"

Oh, so even less, then.

As bad as this looks i think it's a bit too easy to dismiss this guy's claim.
To play Devil's Advocate, it could be entirely possible that Rockstar did interview this guy, maybe used vague references to that information in the game, and never paid him. While he surely will never get even close to a quarter of the game's profits, if any of it is even remotely true he could get an out of court settlement that will last him long enough to come up with another half-baked law suit.

Of course that's providing he actually has evidence other than the bicycle and general crime bit. He'd need proof of the interview, a documented mutual contract, and distinguishing parallels between the game and the information he supplied.

All that being said this case is probably bullshit.

Search the voice acter for CJ( Christopher "Young Maylay" Bellard). Looks exactly like CJ. Rockstar could bring him into court as exhibit "A", put him beside a screenshot of CJ and the Judge would rule in favour of Rockstar.

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Seriously.

Was this guy living under a rock? The marketing campaign for GTA:SA was huge. Hmm, he IS suing for $250 million, so maybe he has been living under a rock (On the Burn Scale, thats a 6).

I would like to see (once this case is thrown out) Rockstar to counter sue. Maybe the judge will give Rockstar, Michael Washington's rock (on the Burn Scale, thats an 8).

Eh, they all look the same to me.

What?

I meant video game characters; whaddyou think I meant?

Jerk...

Remember when Cypress Hill was relevant?

Yeah, neither do I. That explains a lot.

Someone really needs to stop these cases before they even have a chance at going to court.

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