Kierin Kirby, known in showbiz as Lady Miss Kier when she was a member of the pop group Deee-Lite, has filed suit against Sega alleging infringement of right of publicity and various other complaints, reports Rolling Stone. According to the lawsuit, Space Channel 5 heroine Ulala bears too close a resemblance to Kirby's stage persona, and she's seeking more than $750,000 in damages.
"The similarities and likenesses include the same or nearly the same distinctive make-up, large eyelashes, doe eyes, red/pink hair, pony tails, cute backpacks, mini-skirts, knee-socks, knee-high boots, and platform shoes," says the suit. "The similarities and likenesses are so close that viewers, listeners, and consumers were and are confused or likely to become confused between Ulala and plaintiff." It also goes on to argue that the overall style of the game, including its art design, music, Ulala's dance moves, and even her name, borrow excessively from Deee-lite's video for the hit single "Groove is in the Heart."
The courts will have to judge the case for themselves, but Kirby has likely made a critical error in assuming that the public has retained any memory of her career, which one would think would be a prerequisite for confusing her likeness with that of Sega's own dance diva. We'll keep you posted if anything more significant comes of this case.