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No Doubt Gets Cobain'd, Files Lawsuit Over Band Hero

Band "bitterly disappointed," Activision "believes it is within its legal rights."

She does a mean "Y.M.C.A.," too. 
Activision's Band Hero has barely been on sale for 24 hours, and already the game is the focus of a lawsuit from one of the groups featured in the game. According the Los Angeles Times, No Doubt has filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that the way the band's likeness is used in the game is outside the lines of the band's agreement with Activision.

The in-game usage of the band is similar to the way music celebrities were used in Guitar Hero 5, and it allows the members of No Doubt, along with Taylor Swift and Adam Levine from Maroon 5 to appear in any role on any of the game's songs. You... may also remember that this is the exact same scenario that caused all of the uproar over the way Kurt Cobain's likeness was treated in that game, which led to a lot of Twitter-based unpleasantness from Courtney Love and, really, a lot of negative feelings from a lot of different people.

The LA Times article on the topic says that the ability to make Gwen Stefani sing "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones is a specific sore spot. Like this:

“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.”

Well, when you put it that way, maybe they've got a point. The suit also claims that the band's request to limit their usage specifically to their own songs was turned down because it would be "too expensive" to patch it.

Activision's issued a statement in response to the suit, so here's a bit of that:

“Some of the world’s most popular and iconic artists have been featured in Guitar Hero as playable characters, and we are proud to count No Doubt among them,” Activision’s statement said. “Activision has a written agreement to use No Doubt in Band Hero – an agreement signed by No Doubt after extensive negotiations with its representatives, who collectively have decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Pursuant to that agreement, Activision worked with No Doubt and the band’s management in developing Band Hero…. Activision is exploring its own legal options with respect to No Doubt’s obligations under the agreement.”

It sounds like someone, somewhere needed to spend more time reading the fine print, but after the double-whammy of Kurt Cobain and No Doubt, I'm going to guess that this process of using likenesses in rhythm games will either get a lot more formal and specific or Activision will just do away with it entirely and save the likenesses for band-specific products, rather than attempting to cram them in alongside the standard cast of the Guitar Hero franchise and be forced to enact a bunch of specific limits on usage. It's probably not worth it for the company to negotiate likeness rights if they can only use them for two or three songs. Be sure to read the LA Times article for more of the back and forth between the two camps.     Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
She does a mean "Y.M.C.A.," too. 
Activision's Band Hero has barely been on sale for 24 hours, and already the game is the focus of a lawsuit from one of the groups featured in the game. According the Los Angeles Times, No Doubt has filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that the way the band's likeness is used in the game is outside the lines of the band's agreement with Activision.

The in-game usage of the band is similar to the way music celebrities were used in Guitar Hero 5, and it allows the members of No Doubt, along with Taylor Swift and Adam Levine from Maroon 5 to appear in any role on any of the game's songs. You... may also remember that this is the exact same scenario that caused all of the uproar over the way Kurt Cobain's likeness was treated in that game, which led to a lot of Twitter-based unpleasantness from Courtney Love and, really, a lot of negative feelings from a lot of different people.

The LA Times article on the topic says that the ability to make Gwen Stefani sing "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones is a specific sore spot. Like this:

“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.”

Well, when you put it that way, maybe they've got a point. The suit also claims that the band's request to limit their usage specifically to their own songs was turned down because it would be "too expensive" to patch it.

Activision's issued a statement in response to the suit, so here's a bit of that:

“Some of the world’s most popular and iconic artists have been featured in Guitar Hero as playable characters, and we are proud to count No Doubt among them,” Activision’s statement said. “Activision has a written agreement to use No Doubt in Band Hero – an agreement signed by No Doubt after extensive negotiations with its representatives, who collectively have decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Pursuant to that agreement, Activision worked with No Doubt and the band’s management in developing Band Hero…. Activision is exploring its own legal options with respect to No Doubt’s obligations under the agreement.”

It sounds like someone, somewhere needed to spend more time reading the fine print, but after the double-whammy of Kurt Cobain and No Doubt, I'm going to guess that this process of using likenesses in rhythm games will either get a lot more formal and specific or Activision will just do away with it entirely and save the likenesses for band-specific products, rather than attempting to cram them in alongside the standard cast of the Guitar Hero franchise and be forced to enact a bunch of specific limits on usage. It's probably not worth it for the company to negotiate likeness rights if they can only use them for two or three songs. Be sure to read the LA Times article for more of the back and forth between the two camps.    
Staff
Posted by AjayRaz

DAYUM SON 

Posted by Bigandtasty

I think we all know which side we're on. Even with Gwen Stefani's solo work.

Posted by Gahzoo
@Bigandtasty said:
"I think we all know which side we're on. Even with Gwen Stefani's solo work. "

Ha. 
 
But of course Activison will win.
Posted by Bubahula

man, again?
this is crazy

Posted by damnboyadvance

1st time is a tragedy, 2nd time is a coincidence, 3rd time is a pattern. We're getting there, Activision.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

hahahahaha. This is hilarious. Either someone isn't reading the contracts or No Doubt has been played. I hope it's the latter.

Edited by Bigbombomb

This shit is bananas!

Posted by GeekDown

I don't understand why they are so upset...I would be excited as fuck if I were in a videogame. But I guess it has to do with greed like every other bands and artists out there.

Posted by SpaceInsomniac

Activision is like the evil bitch octopus villain from The Little Mermaid.  Ha ha!  We own your voice and you can't do anything about it!  This sucks for all the artists that they're exploiting, dead or not.

Posted by JohnDudebro

Read the fucking contract, people. You signed it. If you didn't do the research beforehand, it's your fault if you don't like what it led to.

Posted by buzz_clik
@GeekDown said:
" I would be excited as fuck if I were in a videogame. "
I'd be doubly excited if I were in a videogame boasting about gettin' it orn with hookers.
Moderator Online
Posted by Undeadpool

Fine, get 'em out of the game, I don't really feel the need to play AS the people who wrote the songs (or any other songs), I'll stick with my custom character.

Posted by guiseppe

"Oh noes we're being paid for being marketed, oh.. noooo".

Posted by addictedtopinescent

Nothing like this happening with DJ Hero ?, I would suppose that game would have twice as much chances to get hit with this kind of stuff, as there are twice as many artists and songs in there,  
Whatever, this, like the Cobain thing makes sense, but they won't win

Posted by Bigandtasty
@addictedtopinescent said:
" Nothing like this happening with DJ Hero ?, I would suppose that game would have twice as much chances to get hit with this kind of stuff, as there are twice as many artists and songs in there, "
It's probably because the playable characters can only DJ music, not sing music (at least I think they can only DJ and not sing)
Posted by zityz

ok when I read the title, I thought  Gwen Stefani used the ol double barrel.
Posted by AjayRaz
@zityz said:
" ok when I read the title, I thought  Gwen Stefani used the ol double barrel. "
me as well, sir. 
Posted by TheMustacheHero

Are they retarded? They just did the same thing AGAIN!

Posted by Bigandtasty
@buzz_clik said:
" @GeekDown said:
" I would be excited as fuck if I were in a videogame. "
I'd be doubly excited if I were in a videogame boasting about gettin' it orn with hookers. "
I'd be triply excited, because the game prides itself on being family friendly.
Posted by Bucketdeth

I don't care who sues Activistion for what reason, I want that person to win.

Posted by headcase

 The contract probably allowed it, but it's probably more wise in the long-term to not to trick these kinds of semi-powerful people with fine print. Specify the terms up front. 
 
Also:  
"The suit also claims that the band's request to limit their usage specifically to their own songs was turned down because it would be "too expensive" to patch it.  "
  
That's just weak. 

Posted by TheHBK

I doubt Activision would do something like this without actually getting No Doubt to sign off on it some how.  Am I gonna trust the corporation who has dealt with licensing and rights for the last 20 years or someone who is shocked by it only after the game comes out?  Meaning they didnt even pay attention to what was going on with development.

Posted by Akeldama

im just happy the celebrities share a hatred for activision 

Posted by SuperJoe

Meanwhile, Gavin Rossdale is hoping Konami puts him in Rock Revolution 2.

Posted by ANDYx0WNEDxU

whats the beef...if i was put in guitar hero id love to be singing about getting it on with hookers
Posted by clubsandwich
@Bucketdeth said:
" I don't care who sues Activistion for what reason, I want that person to win. "
This fine gentleman posted the correct answer, good job sir.
Posted by Raspinudo

lol

Posted by AgentofChaos
@Bucketdeth said:
" I don't care who sues Activistion for what reason, I want that person to win. "
Agreed. This seems to be a recurring thing for Activision, maybe artists will be more hesitant to sign their digital likenesses.
Posted by Kazona
@Bucketdeth said:
" I don't care who sues Activistion for what reason, I want that person to win. "
Amen to that. 
 
But not just that, I think Activision keeps trying to get away with shit they shouldn't get away with. When it was just the Kurt Cobain thing I figured that maybe it really was just Courtney being Courtney, but now that they're being sued again over a similar case, it makes me believe that they really are trying to screw people over.  
 
So yea, I hope Activision gets their pants sued off.
Posted by kerikxi
@Bucketdeth: I've never understood the Activision hate. They're a huge company that puts out tons of games we want to play, so obviously we have to despise them. Right?
Posted by Trevahhh

Man, if I was a rockstar, I would love to be in a videogame. These people need to chill. It's just a game, it's not like Activision is going around spraying "STEFANI FUCKS HOOKERS" on walls.

Edited by WinterSnowblind
@kerikxi said:

" @Bucketdeth: I've never understood the Activision hate. They're a huge company that puts out tons of games we want to play, so obviously we have to despise them. Right? "

It's more their complete lack of respect for the fans.  They do nothing but pump out low quality games that they know will sell well, year after year, much like EA did a few years back.  It's made even worse with DLC, because now they can hold back content that should have been in the game by default, and make us pay for it.  See Ultimate Alliance 2, for a good exmaple.  It just feels like they put in as little effort as possible and put it on the shelf, then procedded to nickel and dime us for the good stuff.
Posted by Juvarial
@kerikxi: The point is there a larger corporation. And therefor they are going to do whatever they can for money. They may put out great games but that isnt THEM. Thats the studios they own, and its the studios who make there games. Picture a bunch of slaves building the pyramids. They are not technically slaves but the point is they are building the pyramids. And those pyramids are Activisions Stock prices and monetary wealth. So in reality they are the business who funds the developers so they can fund the CEOs and PR blahblahblah
Posted by Kolonel_Kool
@Bigbombomb said:
" This shit is bananas! "
How, was this not quoted yet? Hilarious, and true! The Kurt Cobain incident is a little different than this one. When No Doubt claims they're artists, and then sign away their likeness, it's a bit hypocritical. You can't be an artist and sell-out at the same time. It's an impossibility. Just to prove a point, I'd use Gwen Stefani to sing a death metal song about killing dogs. I'm sorry, but you can't take back selling-out. I'd have more respect for No Doubt if they just shut up over this. Why people care so much is beyond me?
Posted by kerikxi
@Juvarial: @WinterSnowblind: Same as every company. They exist to make a profit. If they didn't, their employees wouldn't have jobs, and we wouldn't have games. I really don't see how they're any different than any other company producing videogames right now. They make mostly smart business decisions, because you don't get to be their size by simple bending to the fan's wishes.
Posted by WinterSnowblind
@kerikxi said:
" @Juvarial: @WinterSnowblind: Same as every company. They exist to make a profit. If they didn't, their employees wouldn't have jobs, and we wouldn't have games. I really don't see how they're any different than any other company producing videogames right now. They make mostly smart business decisions, because you don't get to be their size by simple bending to the fan's wishes. "
I'm not trying to claim that other companies only care about us fans and don't care about making money..
It's just that Activision show a particularly disrespect, where as most others would prefer to keep fans happy, while making a profit.
 
EA's a great example in recent years, they realized they were getting an increasingly bad reputation and shifted their focus into making more original IP's and things people genuinely want to play.
Posted by FunExplosions

Activision. Did they hire a bunch of kids this year or something?

Posted by jonano

ya'd think no doubt would have done this alot sooner before the games come out cuz this is fucking stupid it's  obvious that it was going to be done that way anyway .  plus they did it with kurt cobain and johnny cash who are dead  and legends of music and they got away with it so i think its going to be an epic fail for no doubt
 
wait does anyone really care about no doubt anymore anyway  they are nowhere near as big a name in music as kurt was/is  
 
but i do hope activision fails

Posted by kerikxi
@WinterSnowblind: Hmm, well, I don't want to derail this into an Activision flamewar, so I'm gonna agree to disagree. Although you are right in some regard as to how Activision handles itself lately, I still don't think it warrants the almost universal rage that seems to be directed at it nowadays. You're right though, it does seem very similar to how EA was thought of a few years back. Really, the market will speak on this one. RockBand is in a good position to put the nails in GH's coffin, and after that they're really relying on CoD and Blizzard to float the boat. Blizz is only gonna have at most one or two new games a year, and maybe we get a yearly CoD title, so yeah, hopefully the catalogue does shake up some soon.
Posted by Bucketdeth
@kerikxi said:
" @Bucketdeth: I've never understood the Activision hate. They're a huge company that puts out tons of games we want to play, so obviously we have to despise them. Right? "
I don't want to play there games.
Posted by DiGiTaL_SiN

I really don't see the appeal of this feature or why does Activision insist on causing trouble by including it in their games and effectively bamboozling the artists by fine print and loopholes in the contract, and basically making them feel like idiots for signing up with them. FFS just remove it from the game, I doubt anyone would care that much about it.

Posted by jakob187

Personally, I don't give a fuck that Gwen Stefani is being misused.  She fucking deserves it!

Posted by ahriman22
@kerikxi said:
" @Bucketdeth: I've never understood the Activision hate. They're a huge company that puts out tons of games we want to play, so obviously we have to despise them. Right? "
Most Activision games are shit, like EA.
Posted by HatKing

Sex with prostitutes?  I thought Band Hero was suppose to be the family version of these games... hmm.
Posted by George_Hukas

 
Sounds like Gwen Stefani should be suing her manager not Activision.

Posted by SJSchmidt93

Cobain'd. 
 
Courtnee Love is gonna be all over GB now.

Online
Posted by DrRandle

I think saying that they get Cobain'd might be a title with slightly different implications than you intended. o.o

Posted by TheHT
@SJSchmidt93 said:
" Cobain'd. 
 
Courtnee Love is gonna be all over GB now. "
she'd go crazy-er with all the resistance.
 
really though, this is stupid. gwen stefani's stupid. i can't look at her the same after in an interview the interviewer tried to talk to one of those harajuku girls and gwen stopped her saying only she can talk to them. WTF?
Posted by Kamikaze_Tutor

"performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes."
 
Isn't that what Hollaback Girl is all about? I never understood that song.

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