Activision vs. No Doubt case to be heard by jury

Los Angeles judge denies publisher's wishes to dismiss several claims stemming from Band Hero suit, trial expected to commence later this year.

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The court case between Activision and the Gwen Stefani-fronted rock band No Doubt over Band Hero will be heard by a jury, according to an Associated Press report. Superior Court judge Ramona See on Tuesday denied a motion by Activision's legal team to dismiss several claims from the proceedings, and noted the case boasted "genuine disputes" that a jury should consider.

A jury will decide a winner in the No Doubt vs. Activision case.

The claims against Activision that See refused to toss out were for fraud, violation of publicity rights, and breach of contract. The case is expected to go to trial later this year.

No Doubt sued Activision in November 2009, claiming the publisher had no contractual right to allow the group's in-game avatars to be used to perform other artists' songs. The band took exception in its suit with having individual band members perform other artists' songs, particularly those that include suggestive lyrics such as The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." The suit claims this action turns the band "into a virtual karaoke circus act."

Activision countersued No Doubt a month later, saying it is "publicly known" that characters in previous Guitar Hero games have been "unlockable" in the same fashion, suggesting No Doubt did not exercise due diligence before entering into the agreement.

And later that year, No Doubt won a partial victory in the case, with a judge rejecting Activision's invoking of a freedom of speech defense in the case. That wasn't the only setback Activision has suffered in the case, as a previous attempt to have the matter bumped up to a federal court was also rejected.

Discussion

54 comments
Ketorulz
Ketorulz

It's all about the money...like these "popular" artists don't have enough, so they target a big company. So pathetic and petty, probably worse than Activison.

nima_metal90
nima_metal90

Activision had a lot of court problems lately, this is bad for a company, & I'm glad. :D

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

Unless No Doubt can show the court that they excercised due diligence that is appopriate for this type of contract then they will lose.

Zeeksie
Zeeksie

Sue them! Sue them, everyone! Sue them until they go bankrupt and perish forever!!!

ArielAguayo
ArielAguayo

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. @_@

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Activision just love p!ssing people off these days. Didn't they cause a similar dispute with Courtney Love over Kurt Cobain? That whole "it's common knowledge" argument is a load of crap.

Keiner
Keiner

Band hero has been nothing but a disaster for Activision. Law suit after law suit.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

"The suit claims this action turns the band "into a virtual karaoke circus act.""

 

The band obviously had no clue what it was they were signing when they agreed to be in the game as "virtual karaoke circus act" is literally what all those music instruments are.  I hope Activision wins this.  This suit makes as much sense as Marvel suing Capcom because they had no clue that by giving Capcom the rights to use Spider-Man in a Marvel vs Capcom game, Spider-Man would in some sort of "virtual fighting circus."

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

Yeah, people tend to not agree with corporations....

Nugger69
Nugger69

I hope they nail Activision to the wall

soulless4now
soulless4now

This is turning out to be a great year in court for Activision. 

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

Poor No Doubt, it must suck to be playable in a video game and receive mass advertisement.  I am crying for them.  Every Night.

megakick
megakick

LOL look another band nobody cares about suing Activision

hemoleech
hemoleech

I remember this case from a long ass time ago, it's sad that they're just getting to it now.

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

I hope Activision has its contracts with the Grim Reaper and Satan squared away, otherwise they'll probably slap them with lawsuits because they were unlockable in other Guitar Heroes. 

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Wow, people will sue over anything these days.

taisui
taisui

People, if such clause (meaning the usage of avatars in all songs) is actually in the contract, then Activision wouldn't have to invoke the "freedom of speech" and try to defend themselves.  It's obvious that it's not, therefore the suit, and fair or not I think Activision is gonna lose.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

No Doubt sucks. They obviously didn't actually look at their contract and more then like had one of their managers/lawyers look at it for them.  and Im sorry but...did they not get paid for each copy of said game that was sold? Yup. Money Hungry musicians who are no longer relevant. I hate Activision just as much as the next gamer but, its clearly obvious This is No Doubts fault for not fully looking over the contract when they signed their likeness over.

muppen
muppen

It seems like there's always some case against Activision. Their lawyers must work on triple overtime.

Wandrian
Wandrian

...This is really, really sad. Everything about it.

 

1:  This is extremely petty of all parties involved, any outrage exceeding "meh" is uncalled for on either side. This is the most important thing, definitely.

 

2:: Activision broke their contract or No Doubt decided they felt like reneging on it. Tasteless no matter which is true.

 

3: Activision is evil and they have a ton of employees, No Doubt is well-past their prime and desperate; both suck. There's no debate to be had, rehumanizing either is entirely optional.

SomePlayaDude
SomePlayaDude

Never use representations musical talent in a company with a great but overused stale talent.

clockworkengine
clockworkengine

Before anyone makes an endorsement agreement of any kind, shouldn't they have the foresight to at least have some rudimentary knowledge of what they're endorsing? No Doubt have always had problems sticking with anything, namely a particular genre.

RageSet
RageSet

For Activision, the roosters have come home to roost.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

Going to be a busy year for Activision's lawyers. 

gix47
gix47

please,this should have been toss out

EonPaladin
EonPaladin

It's important that No Doubt win here, regardless of which team's product you prefer. The lesson must be that a band should have a say in how its likeness is used. I don't expect it even occurred to No Doubt that it'd be possible to make the band perform the songs of bands they don't like. It should be the responsibility of the publisher to bring up and get permission for all possible ways the band will be depicted. if Activision wins, it sends the message that a publisher can get away with hiding things from the artists it contracts.

ultimakid
ultimakid

As much as I hate Activision, I hope they win this.

No Doubt must have been doing truly awful in 2009 to need to pull a stunt like this to get some cash.

They're probably dead in a gutter by now and no one noticed, or cared.

Killermonkey97
Killermonkey97

There is not a doubt in my mind how this case will turn out.

Lhomity
Lhomity

You'd think a band like No Doubt would appreciate being shown playing better songs by better bands with at least an inkling of talent. They should be grateful.

RIIIIKU
RIIIIKU

....Activition is trully a company Loved by All !!

comb5
comb5

I had totally forgotten about this case. Should be a pretty simple one assuming there was a signed contract, not just;"Hey No Doubt, you guys wanna be in Guitar Hero?""Yeah, that would be awesome!"If that's the case then Activision is probably going to win. There probably was a contract though. And I'm sure it had a section about the band members likeness being used for any part of the game. 

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

 @MasterOfSprites dude. you have no idea what your talking. What if I took your likeness and used it in my GAY VIRTUAL PORN CGI movies? wouldnt you just love the mass advertisment? well? why not?

 

No doubht does not want their likeness used to sing songs that they dont sing. what is so hard to understand about that. Maybe Gwen and the band have strong feeling about wemons rights and HONKY TONK GIRL goes agianst their ideals. is that really that hard to understand. not to mention actiivsion is going outside their contract to make MORE more money using No Doubht and No Dought is getting none it.

 

I mean HELLO? havec you been following the news at all with the COD lawsuit. Activision tried to fire those guys for the simple fact they didnt want to give them the money they promised them. the guys running Actiivisoin will do ANYTHING to make ONE more dollar and they dont care who they step on, take advantage of, or break laws or contracts.

 

 

simon1812
simon1812

 @megakick no body cares about? no body who? teenagers? this guys rocked for almost 2 decades,and a lot of ppl remember them, Activition will be totally screwed it they sit before a jury.

leimonides
leimonides

@deadpeasant such action is common place here in the States. Gotta love it.

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

 @taisui When a party is involved in a suit, they are put forth all possible defenses to the suit as it is up to the court to see which ones of those defenses are valid. So the fact that Activision used freedom of speech dosn't really mean a thing other than it shows that they were covering themselves.

 

leimonides
leimonides

@clockworkengine have they really? That's something I never would have known. Something to think about....

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

Sad to say, but the best possible outcome for the consumer is for Activision to win.  No Doubt entered into a contract to be on Guitar Hero, No Doubt should've been more thorough in their review of the contract language.  In the end games/albums will cost more if artists can decide they don't like the terms and conditions they signed and get rewarded for changing their minds. 

comb5
comb5

 @EonPaladin But we commoners have absolutely no idea what the contract says or how it was even worded. Maybe No Doubt's lawyers didn't bother to tell them about that part of the contract. Or they didn't think it would be that big of a deal.

shenron43
shenron43

 @EonPaladin If they did some research before they signed the agreement they would have known that any character can perform any song. I have a love/hate relationship with Activision, but its not Activision's fault that they are stupid.

Lhomity
Lhomity

 @Legrieme Yeah, that's the spirit - hope that a company employing a few thousand people loses a lot of money so that multi-millionaire rockstars can buy more mansions and ferraris.

 

Gwen Stefani's appearance in a game is far more important than a few thousand Activision employees earning a living to feed their families, right?

Tobinius6
Tobinius6

 @comb5 I guess you missed the part of the article where the judge refused to through out the charge of breach of contract - so yes, there was a contract, and it appears that Activision is being sued for breaking it.

taisui
taisui

 @x_hunter00 I'm just pointing out that the lawyers are great at coming up with that one.

liam82517
liam82517

 @comb5 If that was the case it would have been thrown out already. Seeing as its going to jury, there must be something dodgy with the wording of the contract. Activision had a responsibility to disclose the nature of what the contract was for in full. For example, if I ask to borrow you car to go to the market, and then go on a road trip to vegas for the weekend. You wouldnt be too happy, but you did say I could use your car and you didnt say I couldnt go to vegas. And you shouldnt have to because all I asked was to borrow it to go to the market. If I wanted to go to vegas, I should have said so first.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @shenron43  

 

That is not necessarily true - the Jimi Hendrix avatar was not available to use for other people's songs. But the Hendrix estate is a lot more thorough with their licensing of his music and image. Still it should be plainly stated in the contract that the artist's image may be used for other band's songs if that is the intent and it should not fall on the band to know that from the previous titles in the series. 

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @Lhomity  

 

So just because a company screws over another party in relation to the rights to their image it's all OK because they employ a lot of people? I'm sorry, but are you being paid by Activision to troll these web forums and in fear of your job? They (No Doubt) have every right to defend how their image or likeness is used, and if Activision did not disclose the facts then they deserve to lose no matter how many employees it might affect (and here's a hint as to how many that would be....NONE!). I am sure you would not appreciate it if you went in for a photo shoot and your image ended up advertising adult diapers or venereal disease without your knowledge. 

shantd
shantd

 @Lhomity  @Legrieme - Don't bother responding to him, dude. The only reason he posts in these comment sections is to promote those websites that he so diligently links to everytime he posts. I'm almost positive he doesn't even read the articles on which he's 'commenting'.

comb5
comb5

 @Tobinius6 Ah, you're correct. Although just because he didn't throw it out that doesn't mean they breached it. Not like I'm on Activision's side here or anything, just saying.

Xx_Kares_xX
Xx_Kares_xX

 @dlCHIEF58 Deciding how the bands likeness is used is something you work out while the contract is still being written up. If the band wasn't clear on how they're likeness was to be used they should have asked. Not only that, but what they're suing over is obviously just to get money and publicity. Band Hero was a commercial failure, it's not like their avatars singing songs is going to tarnish their reputation. The whole situation just shows how greedy and stupid people are.