Axl Rose suing Activision for $20M over Guitar Hero III

Guns N' Roses frontman taking publisher to court over virtual Slash, Velvet Revolver songs included in the game.

525 Comments

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock set a record in 2009, when it became the first multiplatform console title to generate more than $1 billion in revenue. However, it appears as if $20 million of that nine-figure sum may be diverted out of Activision's coffers, as the game is now the target of a high-profile lawsuit.

Rose has pegged his damages at $20 million.
Rose has pegged his damages at $20 million.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose has sued Activision for its use of the virtual likeness of Saul Hudson (better known as the top-hat-donning axe legend Slash) in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

In the court documents (available online from Radar Online), Rose alleges that Activision convinced him to lend "Welcome to the Jungle" to Guitar Hero III on the grounds that the game would not feature Slash's likeness or the guitarist's follow-up group, Velvet Revolver.

Slash was featured heavily in Guitar Hero III. He graced the game's cover and was a playable character in the game. Further, songs from Velvet Revolver ("She Builds Quick Machines," "Slither," and "Messages") were made available to gamers as downloadable content following the game's release.

"[Activision] began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions to not only feature Slash and [Velvet Revolver] prominently in GH III but also promote the game by emphasizing and reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N' Roses and the band's song 'Welcome to the Jungle,'" the statement reads.

In addition, Rose claims that "Sweet Child O' Mine," which was used to market Guitar Hero III, was only authorized for the title's predecessor, Guitar Hero II, and he is seeking reparations for that alleged transgression.

Rose isn't the first noted musician to sue Activision for rights violations in the Guitar Hero series. Last year, Kurt Cobain's bereaved wife Courtney Love sued the publisher over the Nirvana singer's virtual likeness in Band Hero.

For more on the title, check out GameSpot's review of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

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Avatar image for tehepicpwnzor
tehepicpwnzor

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Guns n Roses > Activision. Thus, I am behind Axl. And not Kotick.

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Avatar image for MonkeySpot
MonkeySpot

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Axl must need more dope cash. And Vincent1333 is correct about Kobain. GameSpot owes him a star for the day, or something else cool. For shame, Eddie Makuch! For shame! XD

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Avatar image for jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

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Activision should fire whoever is responsible for making these contracts. Seriously, it seems like one group within Activision makes a certain deal, and another group within Activision, with no knowledge of this first deal, makes an in game decision resulting in a big mess. Also, Axl should kick his own ass. Are you telling me he seriously negotiated the use of one of the greatest songs of all time through a series of emails? Wow. I didn't know stupidity was a cause of action in California. Then again, these could all just be big misunderstandings that are not Activision's fault, but rather the artist looking for a big paycheck that wasn't negotiated.

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Vincent1333

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Kurt Cobain was in Guitar Hero 5, not Band Hero. Goddamit Gamespot...

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Avatar image for Pzypro
Pzypro

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I don't know this Axl guy but this whole thing reeks of lameness and someone's boredom.

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Avatar image for wwwgippal2
wwwgippal2

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lol Really? 20 Million? Did advertising your songs harm you that badly?

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Avatar image for daihideo
daihideo

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It's funny how all the washed up has beens come back into the daylight just for suing. It will be interesting to see what Activision says as a reply to what Axl has stated.

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Avatar image for -Canas-
-Canas-

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looks like somebody needs a few more million for the coke fund

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truevar

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these games are really dumb...they are not even games...if people want to waist hrs pressing button sequences for no reason go ahead but if your playing crap like this mine as well go get your self a real guitar and actually have something come out of it from all the hrs spent practicing instead of just pressing random buttons.

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Avatar image for INewIRave
INewIRave

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rose is an A-hole, i dont even like guitar hero and i really dont like activision but he's a douche.

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Avatar image for Arkk_Angel
Arkk_Angel

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Wait....Axl is suing over someone else's likeness? May I do that too? After all, I was one of the fans that helped GnR rise to the top. Where would that band be without its fans?

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Avatar image for pesh_fury
pesh_fury

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well i love Slash and GnR but Axel is a egoistic son of a *****

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Avatar image for TheWickedEnd101
TheWickedEnd101

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damn axl cmon jus stop being a dick

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Avatar image for BrianB0422
BrianB0422

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@ All the hate for Axl... The guy still puts on the best concert you will ever see in your life. Sure he's a dick, but he's a genius just the same. Guns 'N Roses will go down as one of the best bands in history, can you say the same about anything you've done in your life?

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contentxcontext

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don't really care for or about either party involved in this. I do think maybe the dude left it a bit long to complain now.

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Avatar image for elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

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shutdown activision if they're pulling this kind of crap. shutdown axl if he's just spouting crap.

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mcbubu

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Activision should pay Axl Rose,,

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Themaninwhite82

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I can see where he's coming from. Although I like the guy about as much as I like plucking individual hair from my head with a pair of tweezers. Simply put, Activision used a GnR song, which if anyone who's slightly intelligible would know that GnR wasn't solely the work of Slash. If I made a song that was a huge hit, then that huge hit was featured in a video game that sold millions, and I didn't receive compensation then I'd probably do the same thing. While $20 million is a lot, imagine the amount of money Activision made from the game, then factor in that they, in no way shape or form, consulted any other band member of GnR and went ahead and posted this song in game, he has every right to sue, even if he's not the entirety of GnR. Disagree all you want, but honestly I don't blame him, then again how many people who post negative comments about the man wouldn't do the same thing in this case.

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DARREN636

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@DarkAngeles--- my comments refer to the amount of rubbish being spouted by seriously ill-informed people with regard to activision and its subsidiaries. we all want to have a platform on which to base our views but this (recycled electronic arts) vitriol has grown old and.... well, rather sad.

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ZachBobBob

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Axl Rose is a total douche :D

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cannondude

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Take your meds axl.

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DaneGamer

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Axl can't stand that his years are over, anything TO GET ANYONES attention, and he does it, i'm very sorry but the guy is biggest douchebag on earth, and thumb me down as much as you like it's only the truth

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heidious_heid

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I understand if he's being screwed over by Activision, but for the love of all that is holy Axl: chill out, yo!

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bluespire1

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@taxonomic Maybe Slash got paid.And didn't tell Axl Rose

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lehoang15tuoi

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Welcome to The Activision.

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Avatar image for SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

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"[Activision] began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions to not only feature Slash and [Velvet Revolver] prominently in GH III but also promote the game by emphasizing and reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N' Roses and the band's song 'Welcome to the Jungle,'" Translation: Chinese Democracy didn't sell so well, need to recoup some money!

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Avatar image for taxonomic
taxonomic

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Shouldn't slash be involved in this? I mean, what does he have to say about it, because apparently Slash never really cared.

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Avatar image for SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

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Get outta here Axl, no one likes your style. Can anyone remember the last time Axl Rose was relevant? No? Yeah, me neither. :\

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Avatar image for Kungfu_Kenobi
Kungfu_Kenobi

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Axl is a douchebag, but at least his case isn't nearly as crazy as Courtney Love's.

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Avatar image for vaultboy_ninja
vaultboy_ninja

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Wow, yet another rock star suing about utter bull crap. At least Matt Bellamy hasn't sued activision

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Avatar image for JunoFallon
JunoFallon

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Axl Rose is as trashy as his horrid music.

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SoNin360

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Boo hoo, seems like everyone is out to sue someone these days...

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Avatar image for Boondocks123
Boondocks123

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Surprised Axl has not overdosed yet...... anywho, just give him the 20 million so he can shut up, thats chump change for activision, their making bank

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Avatar image for Ares360
Ares360

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Can you say bitter irony Activision, funny how Activision is so happy to sue people but now they have what 3 lawsuits on their hands one against double fine, the Axl lawsuit, and some of the messes from the old respawn. As I see it Red Octane should sue Activision for bleeding their game dry and cutting employees from Red Octane because GH doesn't sell well anymore. Face it Activision once you burn out COD your screwed royaly.

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Avatar image for Taegre
Taegre

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What really gets me about this issue is that Axl is openly admitting that he tried to hold down Slash and Velvet Revolver by telling Activision not to put them in the same GH game as any Guns N' Roses song. What was the point of that? When have you ever heard of an established and successful (albeit recently controversial) band ordering somebody not to endorse a younger up-and-coming band? Music is not a mutually-exclusive commodity, Axl shouldn't be competing with Slash for profits. Though it is a bit of poetic justice that after all the legal fodder Axl threw at Slash for more than a decade, Slash's solo career is taking off like a rocket and there's more focus on Velvet Revolver's hunt for a lead singer than the next American Idol.

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HeyItsAdam

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So Axel is suing because they used an image of SOMEONE ELSE? You know what? I'm suing Rockstar for using an image of Niko Bellic. Apparently it doesn't matter if it's not me.

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mischiefmeerkat

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@Drkr_Zen Amen on both counts =o

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Kori-san

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So this guy with the hat and terrible hair style is real? Better yet, people actually know him? Kind of puts you in a bad bracket. lol

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Avatar image for Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

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I can't morally defend Activision, but I honestly wonder who will be next to jump on this band wagon.

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admund

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I wouldn't mind Btrd Kotick losing 20million =]

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GravityDs

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Axl and Courtney are washed up drug addicted nobodies who need money because they're broke and nobody gives damn about either one of them.

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Avatar image for xSTORMBRINGERx
xSTORMBRINGERx

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Axle rose is pissed because Appetite For Destruction is the only thing he put out that is worth listening to. I don't think that he really needs that 20M, although I cant be sure of what his bank statements are like. Maybe he is the one that rode Courtney Love hard and put her away wet. Maybe they could share the money in an elaborate scheme to kill themselves.

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Promised_Trini

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Wow I never knew people hated Axl Rose so much.

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ZoTrAcK

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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deactivated-58efa6701f504

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Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public's perception of a subject.... Is it Rose that is looking for the money, or is it debt collectors (Publisits, lawyers, managers, therapy, etc). IMO: Give them enough rope... I think that we could all use the wasted space.

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clockworkengine

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"[Activision] began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions you wanna antagonize me? Antagonize me, mother ****er! Get in the ring, mother****er!

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DarkAngeles

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@DARREN636 Your comment doesn't even make sense.

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