No Doubt Sues Activision Over Band Hero

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No Doubt Sues Activision Over Band Hero

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No Doubt has sued Activision over its appearance in Band Hero, saying it never intended its likeness to be used to perform music by other artists.

The band signed a deal to appear in the recently-released Band Hero but claims Activision went beyond the boundaries of the contract by allowing gamers to use the band's avatars to perform music by other acts, turning the group into a "virtual karaoke circus act." The suit claims as an example that gamers can use the band to perform the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman," with the net result being "an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes."

"The band [members] are bitterly disappointed that their name and likeness was taken and used without their permission," No Doubt Manager Jim Guerinot said. "They agreed to play three No Doubt songs as a band.... Activision then went and put them in 62 other songs and broke the band up [and] never even asked."

Activision, of course, defended its use of the band's likeness in the game. "Activision believes it is within its legal rights with respect to the use and portrayal of the band members in the game and that this lawsuit is without merit," the company said in a statement.

The case has obvious echoes of an earlier kerfuffle between Activision and Courtney Love, the former wife of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who was outraged over the fact that a virtual Cobain could be used to perform a wide range of non-Nirvana songs in Guitar Hero 5. Love initially threatened a lawsuit of her own but later appeared to settle for some semi-coherent ramblings on Twitter.

The lawsuit claims that Activision "withheld disclosure of the character manipulation feature" which allows gamers to use the band's likeness to perform other music and then refused to disable the ability to manipulate its avatars, saying it would be "too expensive" to do so. No Doubt is seeking unspecified damages as well as a permanent injunction against further distribution of the game and a recall of existing copies.

Source: LA Times

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These people must live on planet Zarg.

Did they even bother going and looking at Guitar Hero games before they signed on the dotted line? This won't go far in court seeing as Actibliz has the contract and they signed it.

Oh well, can't save people from being stupid.

I don't like Gwen Staffani that much, and I mostly listen to country, so I thought "No Doubt" was a game producer or something. I don't see them winning this, but best of luck to them.

Hmmm, if that is true that Activision deceived them in the contract, then I have even less respect for the minions of Bobby Kotick. However it could just be Gwen Stefani looking for publicity.

Gwen Stefani, in a press statement is rumoured to have said
"Don't speak, I know what you're thinking. I don't need your reasons, don't tell me cause it hurts." :)

you have to wonder if people are now suing just to get some form of income, I mean really, first Love, now this?

tell me its only a coincidence please.........

My response to this is a "meh"
I cant really say either way that they are justified or not...
From previous issues that arisen, they (the band) probably should've payed more attention to what Activision has done in the past, whereas Activision DID mislead them, so there ya go...
tough call as to who would really win in a lawsuit
only time will tell

The_root_of_all_evil:
Gwen Stefani, in a press statement is rumoured to have said
"Don't speak, I know what you're thinking. I don't need your reasons, don't tell me cause it hurts." :)

+1 for you Good Sir.

After that kerfuffle with Cobain, I doubt Activision's lawyers would have been silly enough to not put the likeness used in other songs as part of the contract. Sounds like pointless posturing to me.

Dear No Doubt and Courtney Love,

You're idiots.

Thanks,
A bored gamer.

But seriously, I'm getting bored of this stuff. No doubt (pun not intended) ActiBlizz would have mentioned this in the contract. Plus, why are they up in arms over it? Surely other artists have been portrayed and just thought "eh, we don't care".

Is it because 7 year old Johnny No-One can pull off a cover better than they can, even with fake instruments? ;)

The_root_of_all_evil:
Gwen Stefani, in a press statement is rumoured to have said
"Don't speak, I know what you're thinking. I don't need your reasons, don't tell me cause it hurts." :)

Thanks for making me laugh for a good minute or so.

Without actually seeing their contract for myself, it's hard to take a position on this; but I guess I could see how the band wouldn't want to be used to play other people's music.

YEAH they should sue! I mean why would they want themselves singing their own songs rather then some computer generated players

I'm getting really sick of this new "sue Activision about guitar hero" trend. Personally I think these guys have even less to be angry about than Love based on the precedents in previous games, Hendrix is dead and was only playable on his songs so its not unreasonable to assume that Cobain would have been handled the same way, but really, No Doubt is expecting that they woud be given thesame treatment is rather strange. But really I think the're just being babys over the whole thing, I don't see Ozzy or Hayley complaining about being available to sing any song in World Tour.

If you think having Gwen sing a man's song is weird, watch Ozzy sing one of her's.

Go on No Doubt! You suck as much money out of Activision as possible, maybe they'll then have as much as they would without them sapping money out of us!

As much as I dislike Activision, No Doubt should've read the fine print. There's really no doubt about that. *ba dum tish*

That's why I dislike contracts. They're more a way to legally weasel money from people.

"We said that you could put us in your game. You didn't say that we'd actually do stuff in your game!"

Really guys? Is anyone else noticing an upsurge of stupid lawsuits recently?

Pendragon9:
As much as I dislike Activision, No Doubt should've read the fine print. There's really no doubt about that. *ba dum tish*

That's why I dislike contracts. They're more a way to legally weasel money from people.

Added something for your joke.
Well, I've hated No doubt for a long time.(Serious, how can anyone rock out to No Doubt). Let them have their lawsuit. They're just gonna embarrass themselves.

Wow a lot of No Doubt hate and no real discussion about how this is starting to be a trend for Activision. I still blame the artists. Crawl in bed with the devil, you're going to get burned. Perhaps they should look at Rock Band and how they handle artists and their music before look at the extra zero on the Guitar Hero check

Is it me or is all this stupid? Activision should have a checkbox on their ____ Hero contracts: "In game avatar will be used solely during in game performances of the above mentioned artists songs _" "In game avatar will be playable during any in game performance _"

Seems like a simple fix and something that you would think band managers would have some forethought to look for.

tighem:
Wow a lot of No Doubt hate and no real discussion about how this is starting to be a trend for Activision. I still blame the artists. Crawl in bed with the devil, you're going to get burned. Perhaps they should look at Rock Band and how they handle artists and their music before look at the extra zero on the Guitar Hero check

Actually, with the exception of the Beatles (which only plays Beatles music), Rock Band has no real artists in their game. Of course, I suppose they could always sue us, the gamers, for making representations of their members and playing as them. Yeah, you try that.

As it stands, it depends on how the contract is worded. Honestly, I think this could go either way, though I do think it's ridiculous that they're trying to sue over this. If No Doubt is legitimately upset about this (which I kind of find hard to believe) then I think they have a chance.

No Doubt is seeking unspecified damages...

Fair enough.

as well as a permanent injunction against further distribution of the game and a recall of existing copies

OH LAWD

That's just cute. It's like a little girl asking for a pony for her birthday.

coldfrog:

Actually, with the exception of the Beatles (which only plays Beatles music), Rock Band has no real artists in their game. Of course, I suppose they could always sue us, the gamers, for making representations of their members and playing as them. Yeah, you try that.

As it stands, it depends on how the contract is worded. Honestly, I think this could go either way, though I do think it's ridiculous that they're trying to sue over this. If No Doubt is legitimately upset about this (which I kind of find hard to believe) then I think they have a chance.

True, Rock Band is newer at this but they seem in general to have a greater respect for the music than Activision. Of course, all Harmonix does is music games so that probably has something to do with it. Gwen Stefani is no Courtney Love. My guess she knew exactly what she was agreeing to and was told. It's not all about the contract in these things. If the contract is vague in this area (and I think it might be because Activision hasn't really pointed to the contract just their "legal rights"). No Doubt (sorry, couldn't resist) this lawsuit isn't going to go away.

unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes

GOTY ALL YEARS

If there was a legitimate argument, good odds the record labels would be all over this. Considering I haven't heard anything new from No Doubt in years, most likely they only feel jilted at what Activision did, but they don't have a case. Next.

I didn't mind no doubt, however her solo career is infuriatingly annoying.

Also they should be pretty damn pleased they're mentioned in the sentence as the Rolling Stones to be fair.

Oh and who really cares? Kobain I can see cause he himself didn't get say but you sign a contract how about next time umm oh I don't know RTFC! (replace the usual manual with contract)

I can (sort of) see the point that the band are trying to make but if a contract was signed for them to appear in the game without specifying they'd only be playing their own songs surely there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that they'll win this?

You've agreed to appear in a game that is the guitar version of a kareokee machine and you're horrified to find out that you will be used to sing songs other than your own?

No offence meant to the band in question (I've never even heard of them) but I think they've overlooked the painstakingly obvious (which in turn means that they have no real reason to be offended or outraged).

Lo and behold, they didn't make a special effort to appease one band (who, by the way, isn't the main band of the game), big freaking deal.

fix-the-spade:
These people must live on planet Zarg.

Did they even bother going and looking at Guitar Hero games before they signed on the dotted line? This won't go far in court seeing as Actibliz has the contract and they signed it.

Oh well, can't save people from being stupid.

Maybe they assumed it would be like it was for the guy from Poison: Only their own song.

Honestly I don't get a couple of trends:
- people thinking they can halt the game's production and demand a total recall. It took decades of lead paint till we finally let our children stop chewing on them, one disgruntled musician won't be enough to stop a large company.
- bands signing deals with Guitar Hero. Granted Band Hero was started shortly after Guitar Hero 5 (and too early for No Doubt to have reacted to the Cobain fiasco), but after the lack of care given to big bands such as Aerosmith, Van Halen, and Nirvana, I don't see why they would even consider it. Luckily Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Queen, U2, the Who, and bands who want credibility choose Rock Band.

I'm not here to bash No Doubt (at least No Doubt kept Gwen Stefani away from her solo career), and I don't think they're just in this for popularity (for everyone saying "lulz they haven't done anything in forever," they're selling out big concerts, still). I just don't see Guitar Hero's appeal anymore, for fans of gaming and musicians. I enjoyed Guitar Hero 5, but Call of Duty aside, I think I'm done with Activision.

They still exist?

while i dont really care about No Doubt, Activision has no rights to deceive people in their contracts. while i dont see Gwen and Co. winning (bribing *cough cough*), the lawyers of Activision are thick and incredibly self-righteous and would never give in.

i hate you Activision... bribing the court, deceiving contracts, what next?

This issue seems to just be the band nitpicking the game and finding a small issue that was at worst just something not stated in the contract. I've got to side with Activision on this one...

@ Frivolous lawsuits and pointless complaining.
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'nuff said.

If I see one more "No Doubt" pun in this thread, I swear to god someone's gonna get hurt....

Dear major music stars,

Read your fucking contracts. You should know this by now: your label made you sign your rights away to your entire life, and every other contract you see will do the same. If you sign away the right to use your likeness in a game, they can use it in the game. Period. If you aren't sure what that means, ask. Hell, you could even go play a game like Guitar Hero and see what it's like to get a better idea of what to expect. Not doing the research is your fault, not theirs.

Please let them take this to court. I want to see this settled once and for all. Whether it's Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani, or some other artist whose 15 minutes of fame is up, they need to get the hint that you can't sue over something that you legally signed away. Not describing every single implication isn't the same as misrepresentation.

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