Fri 6 Nov 2009
No Doubt is suing Activision for the use of their likeness in the new game ‘Band Hero.’ First let me say how much I love No Doubt, and secondly, how much I dislike ‘Guitar Hero’ or ‘Rock Band’ or whatever other version of those games are out there. Fake instruments being played badly by people who can’t play the real thing and would probably be able to learn the real thing if they spent the same amount of time practicing as much as they did hitting the colored buttons. Sorry for the run-on sentence but, those games bother me more than they should. Most musicians I know who actually play guitar or drums have trouble playing those games because they are nothing like the real thing. Maybe that’s not even the point of the games but still.
Less tirade about the games and more on the lawsuit. According to a statement from the band “No Doubt agreed to place avatars containing their names and likeness performing three No Doubt songs in the upcoming ‘Band Hero.’” Their problem lies in the fact that users will “have the ability to manipulate No Doubt members, both collectively and individually, into singing popular songs by other artists– something the band said the didn’t sign up for.”
The band claims that other songs are not ‘appropriate for No Doubt.’ Having Tony Kanal, the bands bassist, singing ‘Just a Girl’ or Gwen singing another bands song isn’t what they agreed to. The members of Nirvana had a similar complaint recently when Kurt Cobain was used as a manipulated character but Activision dismissed claims from Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic because Courtney (head of Cobain’s estate) Love gave them permission. No Doubt however are in a better position to argue their case depending on the contract they signed.
It’s all muddy waters on image rights. What your image, or name, can be used for based on interpretations of contracts. I for one don’t want to see Kurt Cobain singing ‘Just a Girl’ anymore than I want to see Gwen singing ‘Rape Me.’ It’s all money to Activision and nothing to do with artists wishes, legacies, or respect. To me it just represents one more reason to avoid these games.