The Romantics sue Activision

New wave band not happy about the inclusion of a soundalike and bandalike in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.

Michigan band the Romantics, most famous for tunes What I Like About You and Talking In Your Sleep, has filed a federal lawsuit against Activision.

The group, which is still together and performing its hits today, was formed on Valentine's Day, 1977--hence the name the Romantics--and is objecting to its likeness and an "imitation" of one of its songs being used in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.

The lawsuit reads, "The imitation of the plaintiffs on the defendant's video game is virtually indistinguishable from the authentic version."

The legal paperwork alleges that permission was not sought to create a soundalike of the band's most famous song, and that many fans believe that the Guitar Hero version is the real deal. The Romantics are claiming unspecified damages.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the band's attorney has said that copyright is not the issue, since Activision secured permission for a cover version through the proper channels. Attorney William Horton said, "It's a very good imitation, and that's our objection. Even the guys in the band said, 'Wow, that's not us, but it sure sounds like us.'" He added, "The sales of this game are huge. We're all for good commerce. We just want to share in it."

If the case is successful, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s could get pulled from store shelves.

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500 comments
nirvana563
nirvana563

To all the people who don't side with the band hear the difference in the verisons they speak for them selfs.

punksta99
punksta99

what kha-riss and tehpickle said. go back to your hole, romantics.

fistcuffs
fistcuffs

classic example of complaining because it is a hit. happens every time.

TehPickle
TehPickle

@ THEMOD3158: Generally speaking a cover is used by a band and is performed in their own interpretation to make it sound more unique and in keeping with said bands own style. If The Romantics thought it was going to be covered and sound completely different in a game that tries its best to sound as close to a carbon-copy as possible, then they're just plain foolish / naiive / dumb. This band just strikes me as greedy, I hope they inject a lot of cash into this case, and I hope they lose.

khariss
khariss

another washed up 80's band trying to make some cash ):

afrothunda312
afrothunda312

sueing a company for PUBLICIZING one of your songs?

bartzis
bartzis

LOL, people will sue anybody for anything these days.

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

This case will be thrown out. I'm sure there was no stipulation in their that they're cover had to sound different to a certain degree. It is different people singing and a different band, and that was what they agreed to.

Chuong19
Chuong19

Everyone should read HotChrisBFries' comment.

grafkhun
grafkhun

erm, ok? strange case there if ya ask me.

diablusx
diablusx

This is just funny as hell. They are suing a company for using a cover band that sounded too much like them. I would love to be in that court when they have to justify the reason far a trial and watch as the judge tries to keep a straight face.

peyjwun
peyjwun

WHAT!!! werent they supposed to come as close as possible if anything im surprised theres no lawsuits from dave grohl or zach de la rocha for sounding nothing like them

gww101
gww101

like they need more money

matt_dangelo
matt_dangelo

this is jsut...so sad, ge treal jobs ppl

spidey223
spidey223

If you wrote a song that was used, you would want your cut of the profits too. i can understand that.... but as much as i like the Romantics, to have the game ultimately pulled from the shelves is ridiculous.

Andrew0824
Andrew0824

I don't understand the legal issue. If they admit Activision had permission to do a cover version, what are they suing about? Is it illegal to sound too much like a band you're covering?

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

maybe if the band didn't suck as much that a cover would be better than the origional then this wouldn't be a problem? A cover of a song being 'as good/better' than the origional? Get out!

THEMOD3158
THEMOD3158

isn't the point of a cover song to sound like the original as best as possible?

qiwihead
qiwihead

I guess the real question is, if the band is still together, why didn't they just do the song? My understanding is that usually these music games use soundalike bands when the master tapes of the original are not available. Maybe it would have been too expensive to have the original band rerecord their song instead of a a cheap soundalike band. Still, Activision got the rights. Unless there's a clause in their license that says the cover version can't actually sound like the original, then it doesn't sound like they have much of a case.

ToJPhantom
ToJPhantom

Well, I guess every bit helps when your a one hit wonder loser band. I have noticed that one of the "Made Famous By"'s are wrong. Here I Go Again is by White Snake not White Lion, which is what it says in GHII.

feryl06
feryl06

I guess if I was a down and out "has been" 80's somewhat rock band I guess I would sue as well. :) What else do they have going for themselves as far as making money goes? :)

jawshoeuh
jawshoeuh

what a joke. hey we gave you permission to cover our song, but this is a little too good, guys... please give us more money, we are broke.

mrkame16
mrkame16

I dont blame the Romantics for this kind of frivolous lawsuit, after all there a has been nobody cares about..and there's plenty of money to go around from the huge sales this game generated, so activision! just give them a piece of the cake and they will go away..

diablobasher
diablobasher

They did amazing covers of nearly all the songs they used in the GH series, the only bad one (and it was terrible, unfortunately) was Dio - Holy Diver. The band has no case, and will get nothing because all the proper action was taken, a cover was made completely legally, and that cover was used in the proper context.

Wolverine77
Wolverine77

Haha. I'm from detroit, and I never thought I would see the Detroit Free Press referenced in a Gamespot article. With Michigan's current economy, who can blame the Romantics?

Jack-o-Thompson
Jack-o-Thompson

What I got from this article is that they are sueing because the song sounds too SIMILAR to theirs, like maybe they believe its THE ROMANTICS version of the song. Get it? If activision used their version and showed "As made famous by", then the romantics DO have a case, for copyright reasons.

Altmeister
Altmeister

Maybe there band is a flop right now and they need some cash so "Hey lets sue to get some money" If that is the case. The Romantics are a bunch of lewsers.

sukwonlee
sukwonlee

lol. greedy bastards. stop crying and earn your money harder.

chazzx21
chazzx21

This totally reminds me of Those Coke ads with Coke suing itself for taste infringement only this is real. Would the band really be happier with a bad representation or dumbed down version of it's song?

jpfondeur
jpfondeur

Greedy jerks, activision shouldn't give them a dime, they don't have a case.

v8nnwilder
v8nnwilder

Well I work in the musical industry and I get to deal with this kind of thing a lot... Whenever I use like Library Music or sfx in a production we send of a "Cue" sheet to N.O.R.M and then we pay for the usage of that track... If we however Foley our own sfx or redo a music track using our own instruments and score even if it does sound exactly the same as long as we had permission to use it and paid the royalty fees then than is 100% legal and the original artist has no claim on anything we do with our reproduced track.... If Activision did it through the right channels then they have nothing to worry about. And for a band out of the 80's the Romantics should know that by now... I think they just want to milk i some more... But from what people say it seemed the band has been scr&^%$# before so I do kinda feel their pain... But this time round they will lose and it'll end up costing them more than anything.

gavethedarqk
gavethedarqk

Wow, i guess when you get to the point in your one hit career where you're playing casinos every little bit helps.

Foxhound71
Foxhound71

oh no not encore!!!! That game sucked as is

HotChrisBFries
HotChrisBFries

What is extra interesting to note. With GH II and GH III, you can discern a cover from the original artist by the title Covers are refered to,"As Made Famous By" and I believe original recordings simply state the band. that bit of information could save Activision from being sued. It's "We never got a dime for this **** when it was popular, but now that we have our own stuff back, we'd like to have our contracts followed, thanks" They got screwed over by Joel Zuckerman and Arnie Tencer and never saw a dime for "What I like about you" when it was popular. All those Molson and Budweiser commercials? Nothing. Zero, zilch. They had to tour for 7 years to finance the lawsuit to recoup something, and they eventually won judgments but were unable to collect because Zuckerman and Tencer didn't have any visible assets. The only important thing they got back was control of the original copyrights, many years after being popular. Given the history of The Romantics, I'm not surprised they're trying to stick up for themselves.

MetalZombieII
MetalZombieII

What?!?! The cover band did to good of a job covering the song so the band wants more money... That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. This better get thrown out, the rights to the song were paid for and obtained legally end of story, even the bands lawyer said so.

LiveByMeDieByMe
LiveByMeDieByMe

There's no case here, they got permission. Unless they have in the credits somewhere that it IS the original band preforming the song I don't see how they have any sort of case; they're just being greedy.

OmegaNemesis28
OmegaNemesis28

hm - sue sue sue the one magic word you hear in every possible topic from weather to animals today. "Let's sue the weather people because they were wrong." "Let's sue the zoo cause they have an animal I think is wrong to have" "Let's sue that 2 year old in the baby carriage for being on a no parking curb"

0011992288
0011992288

So they're not mad that their song was imitated, just it's too good. "It's a very good imitation, and that's our objection."

jjr10
jjr10

So they are suing them for legally getting the song, then getting a different bad to sing it... and not claim it was the Romantics? ? Silly.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

I think they need money! Should be glad they even included tem in the game!

Warfust
Warfust

Should have just licensed the song instead of saying they did too good of a job...

Warfust
Warfust

Should have just licensed the song instead of saying they did too good of a job...

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

They admit its not them so case closed IMHO. Otherwise all our favorite impersonators will be out of a job!

MichaeltheCM
MichaeltheCM

wow thats stupid. its not the same song so it shouldnt be a problem

Superion74
Superion74

If the Romantics is so anal about a trivial thing like this, they should've submitted their recording for GH2 instead of forcing the devs to find a band to cover their song instead. I see this move as nothing more than a greedy band who wanted to get a bigger cut of the profit, seeing how the GH series has made millions. Interestingly, they are the only band who has a cover song in GH that are suing the company.

futuramafreak13
futuramafreak13

So, they didn't play, but they want to pretend they did because the other people did so well. How greedy. None of the other bands did this.

N8A
N8A

hahaha, so the complaint is that they did too good of a job? They were too accurate? how stupid is that?