Rockstar sued by Psychic Network over GTA: Vice City character

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was first released so many years ago (2002) that you’d be forgiven for not remembering the character of Auntie Poulet. But the Psychic Readers Network certainly remembers her. It says the fortune teller violates its copyright on once-famous TV psychic Miss Cleo, and has launched a lawsuit against Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive for the alleged infringement.

The suit says Psychic Readers Network spent $100 million creating and promoting Miss Cleo over the years. It claims Rockstar made over $500 million “exploiting” the persona, and notes that the actress who played Miss Cleo on TV also provided the voice for Vice City’s Auntie Poulet.

The “widely known television informercial psychic” was portrayed by Youree Harris, who passed away at the age of 53 in July last year.

"The Defendants’ Auntie Poulet’s similarities to Miss Cleo and her copyrighted attributes are of such a breadth and extraordinary nature that they can only be explained by copying—which is unsurprising given that Defendants hired the actress who performed as Miss Cleo to provide voiceovers, using the same accent as Miss Cleo, for the infringing videogame." the suit says.

Psychic Readers Network says the reason its waited 15 years before deciding to launch a lawsuit is because Rockstar keeps making money from Vice City though reissues – the game was re-released for smartphones and tablets in 2012 to coincide with its tenth anniversary. Surprisingly, most people have reacted to this claim with a heavy dose of skepticism.

In 2002, the FTC filed a complaint against Miss Cleo and the Psychic Readers Network for a number of misdeeds, but Harris was quickly dropped from the suit. During a 2012 interview with Vice, she said that the Network ripped her off, too.

Responding to the claims, Rockstar said they "are entirely meritless and completely ridiculous. We will vigorously defend ourselves with regard to this matter."

The situation brings to mind the Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano (Mob Wives) lawsuits launched against Rockstar over their supposed likenesses appearing in GTA V. Expect this case to be thrown out just as quickly as those suits. It's just surprising that the Network hasn’t used its psychic powers to foresee all this.

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davislane1

Psychic Readers Network says the reason its waited 15 years before deciding to launch a lawsuit is because Rockstar keeps making money from Vice City though reissues

So they've been waiting to stop the infringement for 15 years to maximize the money they would make on a lawsuit.

Rockstar's lawyers should have a field day with this one.
 

GhostRyder

TS Evangelist
Its just a stereotype, I don't think anyone can own the rights to something like that... Plus even though the game has been re-released a couple of times, they are way late to this party.

Not to mention, Auntie Poulet is in 3 missions only that I am aware of (She wasn't even in the prequel game Vice City Stories) so saying they used her likeness to boost the game is pretty ridiculous. If they were doing that, she would have been a main character and around for a big chunk of the game.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
By the logic presented ANYONE can bring suite against them! My cat keeps nudging me, I think he has a double in GTA and he wants a settlement! 500# of Kibble & Bits and a box of fresh mice and he ain't going to be talked down!!!!!
 

mrjgriffin

TS Evangelist
If I remember correctly Miss Cleo was exposed as a fraud anyway which is why she disappeared........so how are you going to sue someone over a gimmick character that wasn't legitimate to begin with? Good luck lol.
 

funglebuddy

TS Enthusiast
Lol, oh dear. You don't have to be psychic to know how this is going to end...
This is like that one time where people waited years to accuse this very famous star of assault/other charges (Cough Cosby Cough) So did Ms Cleo just find out about this 10 year old game? I mean come on!