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