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No Doubt and Activision settle suit over 'Band Hero' likenesses

Activision

The likenesses of No Doubt perform in the background as a player performs on the guitar during "Band Hero".

Activision

A virtual Kurt Cobain as he appeared in Guitar Hero III.


In what could be considered an early birthday present for Gwen Stefani, her Top 40 group No Doubt on Monday settled its lawsuit against video game giant Activision.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Orange County band and the Santa Monica game maker reached a settlement weeks before a trial was scheduled to begin regarding the use of the band members' likenesses in the "Band Hero" video game.

The veteran rock/ska/pop group sued Activision for fraud, violation of publicity rights, and breach of contract over the Character Manipulation Feature in the "Guitar Hero" spinoff where players can perform the songs of various artists using Stefani and other band members as their avatar.

No Doubt originally filed the suit in 2009 after the release of "Band Hero" when they learned that players could "unlock" special features of the game that allowed Stefani's avatar to sing along with tunes from other bands, including the Rolling Stones.

Apparently Stefani, who turns 43 today, was uncomfortable with her virtual image singing classic Stones songs like "Honky Tonk Women" whose lyrics include "I laid a divorcee in New York City/ I had to put up some kind of a fight/ The lady then covered me with roses/ she blew my nose and then she blew my mind."

In the band's complaint, they argue "while No Doubt are avid fans of the Rolling Stones and even have performed in concerts with the Rolling Stones... the Character Manipulation Feature results in an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes.”

Soon after the suit was filed, the band's manager told the L.A. Times the group "agreed to play three No Doubt songs as a band.... Activision then went and put them in 62 other songs and broke the band up [and] never even asked."

Activision has been sued by Courtney Love for the use of her late husband Kurt Cobain in "Guitar Hero 5", and by Axl Rose over the use of former bandmate Slash in Guitar Hero III.

"I think Kurt would despise this game alone let alone this avatar,” Love tweeted in September 2009.

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