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No Doubt Sues Activision Over General-Purpose  Band Hero  Avatars
No Doubt Sues Activision Over General-Purpose Band Hero Avatars
November 4, 2009 | By Chris Remo

November 4, 2009 | By Chris Remo
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Members of the band No Doubt aren't pleased that their virtual Band Hero avatars can be made to perform songs by other musical artists, and the group is suing publisher Activision for breach of contract and fraudulent inducement.

No Doubt's action marks the second time in the last few months Activision has drawn ire for its virtual performing artists. Kurt Cobain's widow Courtney Love, as well as Cobain's Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, independently released statements condemning Guitar Hero 5's inclusion of an all-purpose Cobain avatar.

No Doubt -- which consists of Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Adrian Young, and Tom Dumont -- alleges that it gave permission for its avatars to specifically perform three No Doubt songs in Band Hero, the group said in a statement delivered to Rolling Stone, but that, "without the band's knowledge or approval, Activision turned the group into virtual karaoke players by having them perform over 60 additional songs by other musical groups."

"Despite repeated requests by the band that Activision honor its contract," the statement continues, "Activision has refused, claiming the necessary fix would be too expensive."

For its part, Activision claims it has acted within the terms of its legal contract with No Doubt.

"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 publisher said in its own statement. "Pursuant to that agreement, Activision worked with No Doubt and the band's management in developing Band Hero."

The company added that it is "exploring its own legal options with respect to No Doubtís obligations under the agreement."


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Comments


Andrew Grapsas
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Seriously? CD's won't sell so they try and get a bigger cut of the Activision pie?



Why don't they just release more "good" music.



*Grumble*

Carlo Delallana
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So suing someone for breach of contract = greed now? I think you need to re-read the article before posting.

Josh Green
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Considering that GHWT had a Jimi Hendrix character which was not playable (similar to the way No Doubt claims its contract was stipulated), it's foolishness for Activision to suddenly turn around and claim that it's "too expensive" to make the necessary fix. It's upsetting enough as to how they urinated on Kurt Cobain's corpse by allowing users to customize his avatar.

Christian Nutt
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I don't think No Doubt has money problems.

Jason Brau
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With how integral the artists are to the success of these games, you'd think Activision would be hesitent to poison their own well water with stunts like this.

Andrew Heywood
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@Jason - Indeed. Activision would probably be better off in the long run sticking to the spirit of the agreement, rather than the letter. Obviously their argument is contrary to this (they think the short-term costs outweigh the long term goodwill)



@Carlo - In a way, yes, suing someone for breach of contract can easily be motivated by greed. Note that even if Activision are in the wrong, in some circumstances it may apply enough pressure in terms of negative publicity etc to get them to change their minds, or pay out a silencer.



And - let's be honest here - there's just no way Activision are going to be in the wrong in this situation.

A W
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Dealing with the music industry that full of greed and unwilling to change the old habits.

raigan burns
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I really wish in these cases that one party or the other would just publish the contract with the pertinent sections hilighted, it would clear things up and make whoever's in the wrong look stupid.

Andrew Grapsas
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@Carlo:



Maybe you should re-read it where Activision says they followed what was stipulated in the agreement. Here, I'll quote for you:



"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 publisher said in its own statement. "Pursuant to that agreement, Activision worked with No Doubt and the band's management in developing Band Hero."

Ryan Jones
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Activision Greed turnded against them, good luck "No Doubt" I hope they force the "too expensive" changes. Since when is that a legal standard for dismissal. "sorry judge the fine is too expensive and would cause me discomfort.



Activision is cash rich so $1 is too expensive if they don't directly benefit.

@ Raigan, EXACTLY why not let us see the contract, great way to get public support which with entertainment may be more powerful.



Think about how upset an artists must be to condem a vehicle that gains them additional revenue and exposure of thier music, is it really about greed??? Don't think there will be a second "no doubt" deal, do you? It is about activsion taking a brand and using it to thier wims. Stick to the deal and there would not have been an issue.

Carlo Delallana
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It's a case of he-said/she-said but to jump to the conclusion that this is all based on greed seems more like an emotional gut reaction to me. Just to be clear, its within any parties right to protect their interests and sue if it is deemed a breech of contract occured.



Right now all we have to go on right now are PR statements from both parties but some of the comments sound like "villagers with pitchforks at the ready" ready to cry "greed" as the sole motivator for filing a suit.

Danilo Buendia
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No Doubt has the right to have their likeness' portrayed they way they agreed in contract. Expense is not an excuse to breech contract.

Ron Alpert
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This sounds like a case of "the band's agent presented a contract, they didn't read the fine print and were unaware of what they were signing and now making a stink about it/being reactionary to the Cobain stuff." Basically both parties should be at fault here - I think a lot of this has to do with the notion that actual (real-life) famous people being featured in video games with the tech being this advanced (being able to manipulate a likeness of theirs which isn't merely 12 pixels high) is setting a new precedent in the industry, and this is more of the kind of fallout that should be expected from that.



In spite of the fact that studios like Neversoft (Guitar Hero devs) obviously have several years of experience recreating real-life peoples' likenesses in video games (see all of their Tony Hawk games) - comparing pro skateboarders and actual millionaire rock stars is kinda apples and oranges.

Richard McDaniel
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Since when is it too expensive to add or change 5 lines of code to disable the avatars from general use and only make them available to the songs No Doubt agreed to have them used, and then issue a patch. It's not like the old days of offline consoles where you had to recall cartridges and CDs if you wanted to make any changes. Now you don't even have to take the stock off the store shelves, just issue a mandatory patch. True there are some systems who's owners have not attached their consoles to the internet, but seeing as how that's a big part of the experience these days, I'd venture a guess that those numbers are far less than those who are connected.

Luke Skywalker
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I'll take Activisions lawyers over No Doubt's any day of the week.



@ Richard, we have no idea how many lines of codes it would take to disable those avatars from the rest of the game. People today have all of the expectactions of programmers that they used to have of magicians and none of the reverence. It is never as simple as changing "five lines of code".


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