WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has lost his lawsuit against video game publisher Activision.
We noted back in February 2019 that Booker had filed a civil lawsuit against Activision Publishing, Inc., Activision Blizzard, Inc., and Major League Gaming Corp., claiming the look of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 game character David “Prophet” Williams was based on the comic book version of Booker’s G.I. Bro character, which he used in the early 1990s and again in the late 90s for WCW.
Booker’s suit said he owns copyrights to the character, and he was claiming copyright infringement as he was never contacted about the usage of his character. In addition, Booker’s suit noted that the game generated over $1 billion, and he was looking to be awarded the court determined whatever relief.
WWE’s Booker T Loses Lawsuit
All the way back in 2019, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging that the video game publisher had created a character in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 that resembled the likeness of a previous wrestling persona that he had used known as GI Bro.
The lawsuit itself has since been going through the standard legal processes since that time, and as of this week, the result of the case has finally come about in favor of Activision.
In a trial in Texas on June 24, a jury found that Activision did not infringe on Booker T’s GI Bro character when creating its own character, known as David “Prophet” Wilkes, for Black Ops 4. The main argument from lawyers representing Activision over the course of the trial is that Booker T lacked any evidence that those at the company had access to a promotional poster that featured GI Bro prominently and was used to promote a comic book.
Activision had countered the allegations by claiming Huffman had exaggerated any similarities between the promotional poster and the game’s character. They argued that both were simply black military men standing in a “generic military pose,” disputed by Huffman. The publisher also argued any Booker T promotional material, rights to images, and other depictions of G.I. Bro had been contracted to WWE.
However, Huffman countered this was only for use within pro wrestling and not for any other sectors. By this, he started the comic book character was not licensed to WWE.
In addition, this poster of GI Bro was also said to contain a physique based on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which was very much in Activision’s favor. “We had a lot of confidence that the jury would see things our way, and we’re delighted that they did,” said Activision attorney Daralyn Durie in a statement given to Reuters.
The bottom Line
At the end of the day, this case seemed to be more of an annoyance for Activision than anything. In fact, one lawyer representing the company referred to the entire situation as “frivolous.” “Activision creates games with the utmost integrity and is extremely proud of everyone involved with the development and creative process for all of our games including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, including the incredible talent like William Romeo who helped bring our vision to life,” said E. Leon Carter, who served as a trial counsel to Activision. “Today, the jury validated that process.”
The court found in favor of Activision. E. Leon Carter from the publisher’s Trail Counsel Carter Arnett released a statement:
We are pleased with the outcome. But, the bottom line, to call this a frivolous case would be a massive understatement. Activision creates games with the utmost integrity and is extremely proud of everyone involved with the development and creative process for all of our games, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, including the incredible talent like William Romeo who helped bring our vision to life. Today, the jury validated that process.
Activision was similarly sued recently for alleged copyright infringement by the Mara character in Modern Warfare and Warzone. That case is still under litigation, though Activision denies any wrongdoing.