Guiliani Responds to Noriega’s Lawsuit Against Call of Duty

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani explains why Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega's lawsuit against Call of Duty: Black Ops II is so important to defend.
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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has spoken out against the lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard put forth by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The lawsuit is based on a claim by Noriega that a character in the game, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, used his likeness without permission.

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Well, you gotta admit they did get his pineapple face done right.

In the video above, Giuliani states that if successful, this could set a dangerous precedent that could “open the floodgates” for anyone to sue not only a video game, but any other medium. Moreover, he points out that Noriega is “not a person who was the victim of a crime, who just got thrust into the public spotlight. This is a man who, through his activities, some of the most heinous activities in history, made himself one of the most infamous people in the world.”

Basic First Amendment rights of free speech are at stake here. If successful, “It could create a terrible precedent that could go well beyond just video games and extend to movies and books,” Giuliani emphasizes. He goes on to explain that this could put the entire historical fiction genre in jeopardy, and includes the heirs of Osama bin Laden and Fidel Castro being able to come out and sue for their likeness in other fictional movies, books, and other art forms. 

First Amendment and ‘Transformative’ Freedom

He then explains that in the game, Noriega’s depiction is “transformative,” meaning that he is portrayed in a fictional light. This is the key to winning the case, as if he is found to be used in a transformative way in the game, then his use in the game will be protected by the First Amendment. 

Finally, he calls out to the fact that Noriega’s role in the game is minimal, in that he appears in only 1% of the game, and is a very minor character. He also dismisses Noriega’s claim that Activision-Blizzard put him into the game to boost sales. 

Throughout the video, Giuliani’s disdain for Noriega is quite apparent, calling him an “evil man,” and sums up the case as being one of evil vs. good. 

I think it’s great that there is a politician out there who is willing to stand up for video games. There are too many Jack Thompson and Leland Yee types of politicians out there that look to games as being the “evil” one. I was also impressed with the fact that Giuliani recognizes games to be in every way an art form like movies and books. While Giuliani is in this more because of the absurdity of this lawsuit and for protecting First Amendment rights, I hope to see more politicians that are willing to stand up for video games and give them the respect they deserve.

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mchiu is an old-timer, falling in love with video games since the introduction of Pong. Nowadays, his passions in gaming center around social and political issues, game development, promotion of games as an art form, promotion of games as sport, and the business and economics of games.