No Doubt suing over 'Band Hero'
The band is suing game publisher Activision over the use of the group’s digital likeness in the newly released game “Band Hero,” reports The Los Angeles Times. The suit claims that the game’s ‘Character Manipulation Feature’ unfairly lets players use the band’s avatars to perform songs by other artists, effectively turning the group into “a virtual karaoke circus act.”
According to the suit, the feature can result in some awkward moments, including having a virtual version of lead singer Gwen Stefani belt out suggestive lyrics from The Rolling Stones’ classic “Honky Tonk Women” or having bassist Tony Kanal sing the band’s hit “Just a Girl” with Stefani’s voice.
No Doubt insists that their contract with Activision only authorizes the game to use the band’s likeness when players are playing three specific No Doubt songs. Instead, the band’s four members can be seen drumming, strumming or singing to over 60 other songs on the game’s soundtrack.
“They agreed to play three No Doubt songs as a band,” band manager Jim Guerinot told the Times. “Activision then went and put them in 62 other songs and broke the band up [and] never even asked.”
In response, Activision issued a statement contending that they have “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.” The company also “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 suit comes on the heels of a similar beef between Activision and Courtney Love over the use of former Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s digital likeness in “Guitar Hero 5,” which allowed players to use the iconic singer’s avatar to play non-Nirvana songs. Former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic also spoke out against the controversial feature, saying they were “dismayed and very disappointed” by Cobain’s character.
No Doubt is seeking a temporary restraining order in addition to punitive damages. They’re also asking for a permanent injunction against distribution and for Activision to recall existing copies. A family-friendly “Guitar Hero” spin-off, “Band Hero” was released Tuesday for multiple game platforms.