No Doubt, the band behind hits like “Don’t Speak” and “Underneath it All”, has been given the OK by the California Court of Appeals to pursue their lawsuit against Activision over misusing their likenesses in 2009’s Band Hero.
Two years ago, No Doubt initiated a lawsuit against Activision over the fact that their in-game avatars could be used to sing non-No Doubt songs, something that was not in their contract with the company. Activision promptly filed a counter-suit, many parts of which were quickly slapped down by the court, specifically the parts claiming that using the avatars in whatever way it wanted was free speech. Activision took that finding to appeals court, which was just recently upheld by the California Court of Appeals.
No Doubt’s lawyers made specific mention of the ability to make band frontwoman Gwen Stefani sing the Rolling Stones song “Honky Tonk Woman,” the result being “an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes,” and called the whole affair a “virtual karaoke circus act.”
Whether or not the suit actually goes forward depends on Activision choosing to further appeal the case, which will likely hinge on the outcome of a similar case being heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which several ex-college football players are suing EA and the NCAA over the use of their likenesses without their permission.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter