No Doubt Suing Activision Over Band Hero Appearance [UPDATE]

by Bryan Vore on Nov 04, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Following in the footsteps of Courtney Love’s complaints concerning the use of Kurt Cobain’s likeness in Guitar Hero 5, The L.A. Times music blog is reporting that the band members of No Doubt are suing Activision because their character models are used to play other musicians' songs in Band Hero. The lawsuit was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of members Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, and Adrian Young.

“The band [members] are bitterly disappointed that their name and likeness was taken and used without their permission,” manager Jim Guerinot said to the Times. “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.”

In addition to claiming that Activision “transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act,” Stefani specifically disapproves of singing the Rolling Stones’ “*** Tonk Woman” saying in the filing that “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 suit claims that Activision concealed the fact that the No Doubt character models would appear in other artists’ songs and that the game publisher refused to disable the feature once the band became aware of it, saying the change would be “too expensive.”

The suit requests an unspecified monetary compensation, a halt to Band Hero’s sales at retailers, and a complete recall of copies of the game sold.

Game Informer has contacted Activision in regards to the lawsuit and has yet to receive a response. We’ll update the post as soon as we hear anything. In the meantime, check out our review of the game.


Activision has provided the following statement regarding the No Doubt lawsuit:

"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 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.  As a result, 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.  Activision is exploring its own legal options with respect to No Doubt’s obligations under the agreement."