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 CHasingTheSun
CHasingTheSun

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Well, we all officially know that Axl's bank account is hitting a dangerously low amount of savings, so, here come the suing streaks.

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Avatar image for seifthegreat
seifthegreat

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axl remembers after 2 years

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fgjnfgh

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If I was a singer and my songs were used in a game that they don't share their profits with me, I'd definitly sue them big time.

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Avatar image for CTBradums
CTBradums

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Axl Rose is a proven douchebag and egomaniac.

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Avatar image for Jhedan
Jhedan

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Pfff! Axl Rose is such a loser...

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SLRMC93

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@gregmachine I know right? How come Axhole didn't notice until now, and who is he to say he owns and controls slash, what a douche.

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X-7

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LOL Took him long enough to get a lawsuit together.

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HelIWithoutSin

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@dRuGGeRnaUt Axl's financial losses in this case is a portion of the profits Activision made through use of his song.

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winsford

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First off, Axl Rose is a prick. And why in the world would Activision even agree to such ridiculous terms in the first place. Its all abit childish if you ask me

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Avatar image for ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

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Oh so if we didn't see the Slash character avatar in GH III we'd totally forget that Slash was the one playing lead guitar in GNR ... and that he was the most recognizable guy in GNR? Great logic Axl. Sounds like Axl is broke and is trying some sort of bogus lawsuit 3 years after the fact so he can afford to buy more bandanas and hair plugs. He's had no career for years now.

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koufacks

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Axl is a total joke of a human being. I bet this has nothing to do with him not making a dime off of Chinese Democracy.

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Garygok

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Lol I know former "die-hard" GnR fans who have since totally lost interest because of how much of a douche Axl is...

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Lewk-07

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The idea is that slash was part of the group. Using his image the game was promoted which led to profit. I think its OK to sue its only 2 percent.

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gregmachine

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wow this game came out like 3 years ago

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Philly1UPer

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@InfestedHunter You are actually very wrong sir. There are actual proven numbers that Video Games alone, make more money then both the Music and Movie industry combined today.

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GameBeaten

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Seriously? I wake up today and see this ****? He must need money to work on a new album that doesn't suck.

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Leopold_Stotch

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@ dRuGGeRnaUt Nowhere does Rose claim that he lost money or suffered from emotional distress. Did you even read the Complaint that is linked in this article? Rose is claiming that Activision unlawfully obtained profits because they used "Welcome to the Jungle" under fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract.

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Avatar image for dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

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@JoziePop It people sueing like crazy that's part of the financial state of the US. There are more lawsuits per capita than almost anywhere on earth. Why would you sue for $20,000,000?? Did you LOSE money because they used slashes image?? or that they used velvet revolver songs?? \ This is what is wrong with people in the US, they(some) seem to think if they get ****ed off, or a contract is infringed upon, they diserve millions. NO. You are entitled to FINANCIAL loses, as well as "emotional suffering". \ Since this suit in particular has NO FINANCIAL LOSS, Axl is sueing for "emotional suffering". Personally I don't think anyones "emotional suffering" is worth $20,000,000. \ Heck, I've always disliked GnR, and Axls voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.. Does that mean i have the right to sue him?? I know he made a "verbal" agreement, but his demands are rediculous. Slash created the music that **** sang to, so slash has the right to be pictured with the song/band. As for Axl saying that, "no velvet revolvers songs can be on the game."... well on this, i got nothing, can't stand velvet revolver ;) but seriously it is such a petty agreement, and does nothing more than re-enforce my belief that Axl Rose is a washed out, ******* bum, with no talent and no money, and now has to go around sueing people and bashing his former bandmates.

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TJamesA

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Axl Rose and Courtney Love are strung-out bums who have no place in gaming.

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p2250

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Can we sue Activision for hiring an a-hole for CEO too?

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88Metallica

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I guess Axl is running a little low on money. lol

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DARREN636

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@darkAngeles, bring down activision? yeah, because you never buy any products from any company right? how sad.

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DarkAngeles

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Anything that can bring down Activision is great.

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hasancakir

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I wonder why he waited 3 years to sue Activision. Haven't he realized it until now? Interesting...

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JoziePop

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I would be a bit upset if a contract I had made (to specific standards) was breached, and in spite of this, I would also sue for a large amount of money.

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Maxx_the_Slash

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I have a few problems with Axl Rose's attempted lawsuit: 1. Axl doesn't control the likeness of Slash. Slash does. Axl needs to keep his nose out of Slash's business. 2. Three games later, and Axl is suing NOW? The time to do complain about song-usage would have been when the game was on it's way out not years later after Axl should have understood what was going on.

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tekkelite

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they deserve each other

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johneese

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@InfestedHunter "the guns n roses songs alone probably make more money right now then activisions company. Why don't axl just buy activision and call it a night?" Ignorance at its best. You really think the music industry still makes more then the gaming industry? Music, especially BAD music ("new" gnr) isnt selling. Its quite obvious.

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johneese

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wow.. axl is such a money hungry b!tch.. It took that moron over three years to figure out Slash was is GH3? But on the other side I also hate activision...

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theMirrorsTruth

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Axl is and always has been a jackass. If my band was featured heavily in one of the most popular games of all time, I would be proud, not digging for cash.

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Impostorzim

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I don't know, I kind of have to agree with Axl Rose on this one. They had a deal and Activision broke it.

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Avatar image for madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

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And once again a former huge star want's to get some money when he sees that this franchise is having a huge succes...i have to admit, i'm with Activision on this one.

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Virtual_Erkan

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@JESSEAARON100 me too. For a second I thought I was reading an old article from the archives.

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MEDzZ3RO

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Activision owes diddily squat.Rose is past it and since when has he cared about Velvet Revolver?;him and Slash didn't part on the best of terms.Slash was Guns 'N' Roses at much as Axl would want to think differently.If Slash has a problem fair enough but I can't see he would seeing as it's good publicity. He's not earning much these days so he woke up and suddenly thought to himself.I know,I'll try and sue a company I'd agreed could use my music previously....

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pkay45

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Bahaha, Im glad :). If it was any other company I would be pissed at Axl, but its Activision.. go for it buddy!

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jroriginal

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The worst part about this story isn't the egotistical rants of Axl Rose but the fact that it has forced me to sympathise with Activision. It would be like Piers Morgan suing Simon Cowell (If you're American you mightn't get that). Oh and since when was Axl a "Legendary lead vocalist" (form the original court document)? Who liked, and I say liked because the original GNR are dead, Guns N Roses for Axl Rose?

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Avatar image for SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

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Wasn't there only one song with Axl in it? That's worth $20 Million? So, he's complaining that he's losing money because one of his former band members got a job without his approval... huh.

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MrSusan101

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haha all strength to you Axl!

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XanderKage

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Oh wow, how lame can you get, Rose.... No wonder Slash left that failure that he turned GnR into....

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JESSEAARON100

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The game was out and 2007..and the complain is in 2010 He is kinda late

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jimmygriff

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Hmm, who do I hate more - Bobby Kotick or Axl Rose... Nope, can't decide.

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freakyt_666

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And it's for reasons like this Axl that Slash is used as a main character in a game and is respected by millions of rock/metal fans. Since your such a whiny little b*tch. Typical frontman.

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Hevion

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@infestedhunter i really doubt any band makes more money than activision...buying activision costs more than buying a country lol

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Darth_Kane

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Isn't he kinda late ?

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DethSkematik

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Either Activision are that reckless, or celebrities really don't read the fine print when signing the deal...I honestly do not know which is the case here :P.

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Qiynah

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@InfestedHunter You are very very clueless.

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SweetPandaLove

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2010 and Axl is still a littly crybaby b*tch. *sigh* I guess he'll never change.

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InfestedHunter

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the guns n roses songs alone probably make more money right now then activisions company. Why don't axl just buy activision and call it a night?

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XanderMercury

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Oh, come on! This is just completely ridiculous! It takes Axl 3 freakin' years to bring forth this lawsuit? I guess he realized that people stopped caring about him after his spat with Tommy Hilfiger and his habit of walking off the stage at his Guns 'N' Roses concerts... Oh, and Eddie (the guy who wrote this article), Kurt Cobain was in Guitar Hero 5, NOT Band Hero. However, No Doubt (who were in Band Hero) is also taking legal action against Activision for the same reason Courtney Love is. All these lawsuits are just stupid. Either Courtney and No Doubt were not completely clear as to how their respective avatars would be used, or maybe the guys at Activision really are total scumbags, which I highly doubt. (yeah, that'll get a lot of thumbs down, I'm sure of it)

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vamroc

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Axel's suing Activision because he owns the rights to GNR PERIOD so if Axel said " I'll only permit Guns & Roses songs for use in Guitar Hero 3 if you'll agree not to use any music from Velvet Revolver". Then Axel would stand to reap a HUGE settlement because Activision would be in breach of contract also if Axel had file the suit before the game came out he would not be entitled to such a HUGE percentage of the game's profit.

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