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No Doubt suing Activision over Band Hero appearance

Archie

Second-rate Anihawk
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/11/no-doubt-sues-activision-over-band-hero.html

Rock band No Doubt has filed a real-world lawsuit over its virtual role in the just-released Band Hero edition of the Guitar Hero video game series, claiming that the game has “transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act,” singing dozens of songs the group neither wrote, popularized nor approved for use in the game.

In a suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the band alleges that Santa Monica-based Activision, the maker of the game, has far exceeded the contractually approved use of likenesses, or avatars, of band members Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young.

An Activision spokesman said the company had not seen the complaint yet and therefore had no comment.

The suit also charges that the game allows users to manipulate their characters to sing songs popularized by other pop music acts. No Doubt’s contract with Activision allowed the company to use the band’s music and likenesses in no more than three of the band’s own songs, the suit states. The game, which was released Tuesday, puts the group members’ images, collectively and individually, into more than 60 songs, “many of which include lyrics, contained in iconic songs, which are not appropriate for No Doubt and have not been and would not have been chosen by No Doubt for recordings or public performances.”

Specifically, the suit notes that through the game’s Character Manipulation Feature, Stefani’s image can be induced to sing the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.”

“While No Doubt are avid fans of the Rolling Stones and even have performed in concerts with the Rolling Stones,” the complaint states, “the Character Manipulation Feature results in an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes.”


It also states that bassist Kanal’s likeness can be manipulated to sing, in a female voice, one of No Doubt’s signature hits, “Just a Girl.”

“Activision has deceived and confused the public into believing that No Doubt authorized the use of its name and likeness for the Character Manipulation Feature of Band Hero and that No Doubt approves and endorses the appearance of its members individually performing songs that are wholly inappropriate and out of character for No Doubt,” according to the complaint.

The suit states that Activision executives withheld disclosure of the character manipulation feature, and refused the band’s request to remove or disable it in conjunction with the No Doubt avatars after the band learned how they were being used. The complaint says Activision officials told the band that doing so would be “too expensive.”

The suit asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages, a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction against distribution of the game and for Activision to recall existing copies.

-- Randy Lewis

This is very interesting since this is precisely what happened with the Kurt Cobain incident in Guitar Hero 5. I wonder if Activision is withholding information when presenting the contracts to the artists.

As an aside, LEGO Rock Band came out yesterday too and it features Queen, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. As far as I know, those artists can only perform their own songs, but feel free to correct me.
 
I wish them luck. I think the way Activision has handled celebrities in the GH franchise has been, at best, poor game design. And at worst, vile and tasteless.
 
D

Deleted member 47027

Unconfirmed Member
Well, No Doubt went about it a damn sight classier than Courtney Love did.
 

Firestorm

Member
The complaint says Activision officials told the band that doing so would be “too expensive.”
No. It really wouldn't. Unless you have the worst programmers working on the worst code ever. It really wouldn't.
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
If it comes to it, I'm sure Activision will settle this out of court with their MW2 profits.
 
Shins said:
Read the contract before signing, morons.
The suit also charges that the game allows users to manipulate their characters to sing songs popularized by other pop music acts. No Doubt’s contract with Activision allowed the company to use the band’s music and likenesses in no more than three of the band’s own songs, the suit states.
I think they did.
 

-PXG-

Member
Shins said:
Read the contract before signing, morons.

Who's to say that Activision didn't breach the contract themselves? If they didn't, sure it's No Doubt's fault they didn't go over the details.
 
donkey show said:
This shit is bananas.
I laughed, not gonna lie.

Glad to see Activision getting sued over this. Although, you'd have to imagine a company as huge as Activision would make damn sure they were allowed to do it before they did. No doubt the wording of the contract or something makes it so they can do whatever they want with the avatars.
 
Archie said:
Activision officials told the band that doing so would be “too expensive," after which they continued smugly boasting of rape.

Surely this isn't the second time this has happened. Surprised this isn't a class action lawsuit by now.
 

Zzoram

Member
I hope all the bad will Activision is getting results in musicians preferring Rock Band, especially after The Beatles Rock Band put to shame anything band-specific Activision has done.
 

grandjedi6

Master of the Google Search
So what band is going to sign on with Guitar Hero 6, Band Hero 2, DJ Hero 2, Guitar Hero: Greatestest Hits, Guitar Hero: Another Band and Guitar Hero: DSi?
 


Circus Act? Why, no, not at all.
 
GCQuinton said:
Activision's been around that track a few times. It's not gonna happen like that.

Yeah I'm inclined to believe that Activision covered its ass. Doesn't mean they didn't try and conceal their intentions at all though. It really doesn't serve them well in the long run because they are damaging their relationship with artists and producers.
 

Kifimbo

Member
Firestorm said:
No. It really wouldn't. Unless you have the worst programmers working on the worst code ever. It really wouldn't.

I might be wrong, but a recall would be necessary, no ? Not everyone goes online. Especially on PS2 and Wii.
 
twinturbo2 said:
"Rock band" and "No Doubt" are four words that shouldn't be anywhere near the same sentence.

I purchased the song "Ex-Girlfriend" by No Doubt in Rock Band 2 (By EA) for my Xbox 360 computer entertainment system.
 
“While No Doubt are avid fans of the Rolling Stones and even have performed in concerts with the Rolling Stones,” the complaint states, “the Character Manipulation Feature results in an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes.”
I thought Band Hero was the family-friendlier spinoff?
 

Yeef

Member
twinturbo2 said:
"Rock band" and "No Doubt" are four words that shouldn't be anywhere near the same sentence.
Excuse me, Mr, but No Doubt is already in Rock Band.

If what's said in the article is true then it's pretty fucked up. There has to be some sort of law against withholding information when it comes to contract agreements.
 
Archie said:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/11/no-doubt-sues-activision-over-band-hero.html



This is very interesting since this is precisely what happened with the Kurt Cobain incident in Guitar Hero 5. I wonder if Activision is withholding information when presenting the contracts to the artists.

As an aside, LEGO Rock Band came out yesterday too and it features Queen, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. As far as I know, those artists can only perform their own songs, but feel free to correct me.
Who cares? Is the real question.
 

Grecco

Member
Oh noes they used Kurt to sing Public Enemies so lets sue !

I love how sue happy celebrities are. Good for them.
 
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