Activision may have lowered the curtain on its Guitar Hero
brand, but it's still got some unfinished business -- namely an outstanding lawsuit by the band No Doubt, which a panel of judges is refusing to dismiss.
No Doubt appeared in the game Band Hero
as playable characters, but the musicians sued Activision in November 2009
, alleging they gave permission for their likenesses to be used only to play their own songs, not to be used as general avatars that can sing any song.
, claiming the band -- which consists of members Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Adrian Young, and Tom Dumont -- failed to do its due diligence, and was breaching contract and attempting to unjustly enrich themselves.
To defend its right to use the avatars, Activision had moved to invoke freedom-of-speech protections, but a judge ruled in mid-2010 that the game's use of the band members' images couldn't fall under that umbrella.
Activision appealed that decision, but according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, an appellate court denied the appeal, meaning the band can now proceed with its suit for breach of contract and fraudulent inducement
Other artists have also taken issue with the way Activision's music franchises have allowed players to use musician avatars to perform songs other than their own. The company drew ire from Kurt Cobain's widow Courtney Love, as well as Cobain's Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, all of whom publicly condemned the late frontman's inclusion in Guitar Hero 5
but did not pursue legal action.