No Doubt sues video game maker over 'Band Hero'

Nov 05, 2009
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2009 file photo, the band, No Doubt, performs at the F1 Rocks concert in Singapore. (AP Photo/Joan Leong, file)

(AP) -- No Doubt on Wednesday sued video game maker Activision for putting words in band members' mouths.

The band sued Activision Publishing Inc. over a feature in the new "Band Hero" that allows players to control virtual band members and have them sing other artists' songs.

The lawsuit claims a feature allows players to have lead singer Gwen Stefani perform suggestive lyrics from the Rolling Stones' hit "Honky Tonk Women." The suit also notes a virtual version of bassist Tony Kanal can be made to sing his band's hit "Just a Girl," but with Stefani's voice.

The game, an offshoot of Activision's popular "" series, went on sale Tuesday.

The company, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., said in a statement that it engaged in extensive negotiations with No Doubt's management and have a valid written agreement for their participation in "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," the statement said. "Activision is exploring its own legal options with respect to No Doubt's obligations under the agreement."

No Doubt's lawsuit states the band objected to the "Character Manipulation Feature" in "Band Hero" that allows players to use No Doubt's likeness to perform other bands' songs, but Activision refused to change the game.

The feature turns the band "into a virtual karaoke circus act," the lawsuit claims.

The band is seeking unspecified damages and an order barring Activision from using band members' likeness to perform other artists' songs.

In September, the widow and former bandmates of the late Kurt Cobain said they were dismayed that the likeness of the Nirvana frontman could be used to play songs by other artists in "Guitar Hero 5." Activision said they secured the necessary rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement to use the singer's likeness as a fully playable character.

Taylor Swift and Adam Levine are the other musicians featured in the offshoot of the popular rhythm game franchise for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS.

Previous "Guitar Hero" editions have featured the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix, Billy Corgan, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne, Carlos Santana, Johnny Cash and members of Aerosmith.

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On the Net: "Band Hero," http://www.bandhero.com

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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