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Cypress Hill Backup Singer Sues Rockstar For $250M

Cypress Hill Backup Singer Sues Rockstar For $250M

December 9, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

December 9, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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Cypress Hill backup singer Michael "Shag" Washington is suing Rockstar Games and publisher Take-Two for $250 million dollars, or 25 percent of the profits of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- which he claims used his likeness without permission.

Washington filed a claim on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that the character Carl "CJ" Johnson is based on his appearance and life story. He claims that in 2003, Rockstar consulted him for stories on "gang and street life" to help inform their development of the game, and promised to contact him if they used any of his material.

But Washington says he never heard from the developer, and not being much into the world of video games, only recently was told about San Andreas' launch by a nephew. On examining the title, Washington felt that the character and his stories resembled him and were based on the information he'd given to Rockstar.

"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," reads the complaint.

Take-Two plans to dispute the claim: "The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter," a representative told consumer website IGN.



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