No Doubt sues Activision over use in Band Hero

Rock group "No Doubt" have filed a law-suit over the band's appearance in Band Hero, Activision's latest spin-off of the Guitar Hero video game franchise. The group contend that the game has transformed them into "a virtual karaoke circus act," singing the songs of other bands.

In the suit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Country Superior Court, No Doubt allege that Activision broke the contractually agreed use of the in-game likenesses of band members Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young.

Band manager, Jim Guerinot said, "The band are bitterly disappointed that their name and likeness was taken and used without their permission. 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."

According to the LA Times, No Doubt's contract with Activision allowed the Santa Monica-based company to use the band's avatars in no more than three of their own songs. The game allows players to place them, as a group or individuals, 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."

It specifically notes that the game allows Stefani's image to sing the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." The complaint says, "While No Doubt are avid fans of the Rolling Stones and even have performed in concerts with the Rolling Stones, the Character Manipulation Feature results in an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes."

The complaint also alleges that executives at Activision failed to disclose the character-manipulation feature, refusing to remove or disable it for the No Doubt avatars once the band learned of it. According to the suit, Activision told the band that it would be "too expensive."

The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount of actual and punitive damages, a temporary restraining order against the game, as well preliminary and permanent injunctions against distribution of the game, including a recall of existing copies.

A spokesman for Activision told the LA Times that they had not seen the complaint and had no comment.

In September, the widow and former bandmates of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain complained about the use of his likeness in Guitar Hero 5. In that case, Activision said they had received written permission from his widow to use him as a fully playable character, however she Twittered that she "never signed [off] on the avatar."

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They "were" on hiatus." Now they are touring again for inspiration for a new album. I just saw them in concert outside of Chicago in July and they still knew how to tear the joint up. I love No Doubt!

dead.cell said,
lol, please. I'm not a fan or anything really, but anyone who isn't a kid has at least heard of them.

I have genuinely not heard of these guys before. Then again, I stopped following popular music from the mid-nineties onwards.

Why does this even matter, they should be grateful to be in a game. I dont know why most bands arent knocking on GH or RB door to be featured in their games in some way. Being in these games means you are in a sense immortalized. Personally they do need to just drop all the signature characters because I could careless if they are in the game or not.

"grateful to be in a game" vs a contract? The games Activision should be grateful bands let them use their music or people would be playing GH, RB, and DJ Hero with no-name/underground bands they hired.

Gotenks98 said,
Why does this even matter, they should be grateful to be in a game. I dont know why most bands arent knocking on GH or RB door to be featured in their games in some way. Being in these games means you are in a sense immortalized. Personally they do need to just drop all the signature characters because I could careless if they are in the game or not.

Clearly you're not reading properly. Activision broke a contract. Therefore they are being sued. Hardly No Doubt's fault Activision can't keep to their end of the bargain. In fact, it might well be about money, after all, Activision would've paid a certain amount based on the specifics of the contract, however by them breaking it, they've managed to do more outside the terms of the contract without having to pay the artists they used, which is clearly wrong.

Gotenks98 said,
Why does this even matter, they should be grateful to be in a game. I dont know why most bands arent knocking on GH or RB door to be featured in their games in some way. Being in these games means you are in a sense immortalized. Personally they do need to just drop all the signature characters because I could careless if they are in the game or not.

Imagine if you were in this game and your avatar was singing Miley Cyrus songs in a female voice for all time.

Liana said,
Imagine if you were in this game and your avatar was singing Miley Cyrus songs in a female voice for all time.

In that case, I will hang myself. But really all these "kids" only knows about money and publicity, and haven't learnt self respect. The thing is, missuse of their likeness probably would turn them into a bit of joke, and this is what is ticking them off, as well as a break of contract.

You would think they would read the contracts more carefully. If these things concern them, they need to get their lawyers to put those kinds of things in contracts.

You would think you would read the story first as it clearly states that the band's contract with Activision allowed the band to be used for up to three No Doubt songs only.

metal_dragen said,
You would think you would read the story first as it clearly states that the band's contract with Activision allowed the band to be used for up to three No Doubt songs only.


Have you read the entire contract or did you just read a press release of the plantiff in an upcoming court case?

Eddo89 said,
Jose, this is a recurring theme. I would give the benefit of the doubt to No Doubt, without a doubt....


I like to make people prove their cases, something about due process.

Here's a question, do any of the bands complaining about Activision have the same lawyers, agents or publicists?

just because the game allows you to pair an avatar with a song, doesnt mean you have to do it!
they should sue the players who actually choose the gwen stefani avatar for anything other than the 3 songs when they play

Who the hell wants to sing or look like NO Doubt anyway?! They sucked, Gwen ruined Gaven Rossdale and BUSH for life ... we should get a formal apology for that one.

I dunno. Given Activision's recent direction I would tend to think that they probably deserve this, but we'll see what happens...

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