On Wednesday, [artist id="330"]No Doubt[/artist] filed a lawsuit against Activision, the publishers of "Band Hero," claiming they've been transformed "into a virtual karaoke circus act" in the new game, which allows avatars of Gwen Stefani and company to perform songs popularized by other acts.
In the suit, the band alleges that Activision exceeded the contractually approved use of the group's avatars. No Doubt contend that their contract with the video game publisher allowed for the use of their music and likenesses in "no more than three" of their own songs, but that, in the final version of "Band Hero," those likenesses are used in more than 60 songs, "Many of which include lyrics ... which are not appropriate for No Doubt and would not have been chosen by No Doubt for recordings or public performances."
In particular, the suit notes that through the use of the "Band Hero" Character Manipulation feature, No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani can be made to sing the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman" — which they contend is "an unauthorized performance by the Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes" — and bassist Tony Kanal's avatar can be made to sing ND's "Just a Girl" in a female voice.
"Activision has deceived and confused the public into believing that No Doubt authorized the use of its name and likeness for the Character Manipulation feature of 'Band Hero,' " the suit reads. "And that No Doubt approves and endorses the appearance of its members individually performing songs that are wholly inappropriate and out of character for No Doubt."
Not surprisingly, Activision begged to differ with those claims. In a statement released to MTV News on Thursday morning (November 5), the publisher maintained that it had worked closely with No Doubt and their management in development of the "Band Hero" game and that there is a written agreement that allows for the use of their likenesses in it.
"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," the statement read. "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 bandmembers 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."
Activision made similar claims earlier this year after Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, and his former Nirvana bandmates objected to the use of his likeness in the company's "Guitar Hero 5" game. Love maintained that she had never signed off on any usage and threatened to "sue the sh-- out of Activision" for breach of contract.