Cypress Hill star sues Rockstar over Grand Theft Auto likeness

'I am CJ from San Andreas' claims rapper

Cypress Hill rapper Michael 'Shagg' Washington has filed a lawsuit against Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar and publisher Take-Two, alleging that his likeness was used without permission for the main character in GTA: San Andreas.


The rapper was apparently interviewed by Rockstar in 2003 and asked about his "street life" for two hours, after which he was told he'd be notified if Rockstar planned to use him in the game.

"In or about July 2010," the complaint reads, "the Plaintiff learned from his young nephew that many people suspected he was 'CJ', the lead character in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."

"The plaintiff had never seen the game. He did not own or play video games, but it seemed possible that he had been included in the game," the complaint says.

"He then recalled the meeting in or about 2003, and it began to dawn on him that his image had been stolen for the game.

"Upon examination of images of 'CJ' and comparison to his photos from that year and other evidence, it became clear that Rockstar had stolen his image and never paid him."

As a result, Washington is demanding 25 per cent of the game's profits - which amounts to a fairly sizeable $250 million - for fraud, misappropriation of likeness and infringement.

"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," Washington's attorney Jeff Grotke told IGN in an e-mail.

Take Two responded, also to IGN, saying: "The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter."

In similar shenanigans, Guns N Roses star Axl Rose sued Activision last month for including the likeness of former band mate Slash in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

[ SOURCE: Full complaint ]