Cypress Hill Backup Singer Loses Lawsuit Over GTA: San Andreas Likeness

By Paul LaCen

November 3, 2012

Michael “Shagg” Washington, a former backup singer for Cypress Hill, recently lost a 250 million dollar lawsuit against Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive. The singer’s suit came from a claim that the developer used Washington’s life and likeness as inspiration for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas protagonist, Carl “CJ” Johnson. To make his case, Washington revealed that he was interviewed by Rockstar previous to San Andreas‘s release. He is also listed as one of the game’s models in the credits. The appeals court decided in favor of Rockstar and Take-Two, ruling that CJ’s aesthetic was “too generic” for a likeness claim.

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.

“All you people look alike”, a legally defensible argument. The judge ruled that Washington would have had to have presented similar tattoos, birthmarks, or other prominent physical features to make his case. Alternatively, he could have linked CJ’s background to his own. Joking aside, it is a little funny / screwed up to have someone described as ‘generic’ by a court.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Paul LaCen

I'm a twenty-seven year old video game design student from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. If I'm not working or doing schoolwork, I can typically be found on Xbox Live under the name "Red Ring Ryko". I am thoroughly enamored with video games as a means of interactive expression, and am fully dedicated to bolstering the legitimacy of the medium and its culture.

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