Rock band No Doubt has filed a real-world lawsuit over its virtual role in the just-released Band Hero edition of the Guitar Hero video game series, contending that the game has "transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act," singing dozens of songs the group neither wrote, popularized nor approved for use in the game.
In a suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the band alleges that Santa Monica-based Activision Publishing Inc., the maker of the game, far exceeded the contractually approved use of likenesses, or avatars, of band members Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young.
An Activision spokesman said the company had not seen the complaint and therefore had no comment.
"The band [members] are bitterly disappointed that their name and likeness was taken and used without their permission," band manager Jim Guerinot said. "They 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."
The suit also charges that the game allows users to manipulate No Doubt characters to sing songs popularized by other pop music acts. No Doubt's contract with Activision allowed the company to use the band's music and likenesses in no more than three of the band's own songs, the suit says. The game, which was released Tuesday, puts the group members' images, collectively and individually, into more than 60 songs, "many of which include lyrics, contained in iconic songs, which are not appropriate for No Doubt and have not been and would not have been chosen by No Doubt for recordings or public performances."