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Guns 'N Roses Sueing Activision for $20M

By - Source: IGN | B 39 comments

Axl Rose sues Activision over breaking agreement not to include Slash in Guitar Hero III.

Guns N' Roses front man, Axl Rose filed a law suit against Activision on Tuesday for their characterization of former Guns N' Roses guitarist, Saul Hudson aka Slash.

Rose claims that Activision broke their agreement by including both Slash and the band's hit song "Welcome to the Jungle". He states that in purchasing the rights to the song, Activision agreed not to make reference to Slash or his new band, Velvet Revolver; however, Rose later found a character on the cover of the game that resembles Slash with his signature black top hat, long curly hair, sunglasses and nose piercing.

In addition to including Slash, Activision also used the Guns N' Roses song, "Sweet Child O' Mine" in an online advertisement for Guitar Hero III, while only purchasing a license for Guitar Hero II.

"This lawsuit is about protecting Guns N' Roses and 'Welcome to the Jungle,' and is about holding Activision accountable for its misuse of these incredibly valuable assets," Rose's lawyer Skip Miller said. "The relief we are seeking is disgorgement of profits and compensatory and punitive damages." 

Rose is seeking $20 million from Activision for their alleged negligence.

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  • 24 Hide
    icepick314 , November 24, 2010 5:13 PM
    gurbouraWhen is Axl going to die?


    he died about same time as Metallica, U2, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and few others stopped caring about the fans, disregarded digital age, and became license sellout....
  • 20 Hide
    sliem , November 24, 2010 5:35 PM
    festerovicWhy can't MUSICIANS just worry about MUSIC?

    They did... then along came lawyers...
  • 19 Hide
    hellwig , November 24, 2010 5:10 PM
    If they agreed not to do that, then Axl has a point. And no, this isn't about copyright or anything else, this is purely about a violation of contract between the two parties.

    Still, I'm surprised Axl is so upset about Slash. I thought he was willing to share his free Dr. Pepper with Slash, makes it strange he's so upset about a Slash playable-character.
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    Display all 39 comments.
  • 12 Hide
    gurboura , November 24, 2010 5:09 PM
    When is Axl going to die?
  • 19 Hide
    hellwig , November 24, 2010 5:10 PM
    If they agreed not to do that, then Axl has a point. And no, this isn't about copyright or anything else, this is purely about a violation of contract between the two parties.

    Still, I'm surprised Axl is so upset about Slash. I thought he was willing to share his free Dr. Pepper with Slash, makes it strange he's so upset about a Slash playable-character.
  • -5 Hide
    makaveli316 , November 24, 2010 5:13 PM
    I hope he gets 200M from Activision, they need to go to hell
  • 24 Hide
    icepick314 , November 24, 2010 5:13 PM
    gurbouraWhen is Axl going to die?


    he died about same time as Metallica, U2, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and few others stopped caring about the fans, disregarded digital age, and became license sellout....
  • 11 Hide
    AerieC , November 24, 2010 5:14 PM
    Chinese Democracy didn't sell as well as you expected, eh Axl?
  • 10 Hide
    sunflier , November 24, 2010 5:18 PM
    Sounds like these old croonies are low on $$$.
  • 4 Hide
    thesupermedium , November 24, 2010 5:22 PM
    Never liked them anyway, not after Slash was kicked out at least.
  • 1 Hide
    kinggraves , November 24, 2010 5:23 PM
    No, Skip, the lawsuit is about Axl Rose trying to make some money since he's the poster boy for rock has-beens. He MIGHT have something to go on with a misuse of the song in a commercial, depending on what the contract states. The part about Slash being used has zero ground whatsoever though, since Axl isn't Slash and doesn't own his likeness in any way. Even if Slash himself wanted to sue, there's little to go on since it's just a lookalike. It isn't a crime to look like someone else.
  • 13 Hide
    festerovic , November 24, 2010 5:27 PM
    Why can't MUSICIANS just worry about MUSIC?
  • 20 Hide
    sliem , November 24, 2010 5:35 PM
    festerovicWhy can't MUSICIANS just worry about MUSIC?

    They did... then along came lawyers...
  • 4 Hide
    Phesto , November 24, 2010 5:47 PM
    Musicians need coke money to get creative, cocaine is a hell of a drug. Rest in Peace Rick.
  • 3 Hide
    adiposity , November 24, 2010 5:48 PM
    The idea that you can prevent someone from using their "image" is retarded. Granted, if you put their name on it and actually represent them, that's one thing. But if it just looks like them, that's just dumb.

    I mean, obviously they were trying to get around the agreement, but it seems like a perfectly legal way to do so. Unless they made an agreement that no one resembling Slash could ever be in the game, they should be safe.

  • 2 Hide
    adiposity , November 24, 2010 5:51 PM
    Also...

    I thought this issue was decided back when Vampira sued Elvira.
  • 1 Hide
    belardo , November 24, 2010 6:01 PM
    Axel was a talented has-been, really - when was his last original song? His ego destroyed the band, his attitude is unlikeable and overall not a person many people have interests in. Yes, he made some great songs... about 20 years ago, nothing more. But with that said, a contract is a contract that Activision should have followed, even if Axel has an ego problem about a previous band-member and needs to grow up and stop being a 50year old whiny baby.

    Actually, when it comes to celebrities, the use of their "likeness" is subject to legitimate lawsuits.

    They make their money off their face and/or persona. So yes, Slash does have a stake in his likeness. If Axel is able to sue in breach of contract (which if THESE details are in the contract), then it ALSO validates Slash's rights in the video game for which HE should receive royalties.
  • 2 Hide
    Lewis57 , November 24, 2010 6:02 PM
    I can't wait for him to die, he's destroying the memory of GnR.
  • 1 Hide
    adiposity , November 24, 2010 6:24 PM
    WhySoBluePandaBearLook alike huh? How many look alikes will have a top-hat, curly hair, glasses, a nose piercing and happen to be a guitar rock star? Activision without doubt had the intention of people wanting to think this to be Slash. They knew Slash was a rock star icon and knew it would boost sales. Seriously, name me ANY other rock stars who wore top hats, had long, dark curly hair and a nose piercing. That's like copying someone's entire career image and instead of them having brown eyes, they give them green eyes, and try to play that "It's different" card. We all know the intent of Activision. on this one...It wasn't some coincidence.


    Look, I have no illusions that they accidentally copied Slash's image. Of course they did! The point is, you can't own an image! See the Vampira vs. Elvira lawsuit for an example of this.

    Activision can easily claim they were just using the image of one of the many Slash impersonators, which also are legally in the clear.

    If you just look at your silly statement "How many look alikes will have a top-hat, curly hair, glasses, a nose piercing and happen to be a guitar rock star," the problem becomes clear.

    Most of the attributes you mentioned are mundane items and millions of people have them. With the exception of the top hat, probably thousands have all of them combined. Undoubtedly, there are some that even wear the top hat and are impersonators (which is not illegal). You seem to be giving special rights to the "rock star" just because he is famous. Looking a certain way and being famous does not give you the right to cash every time someone or something looks like you.

    "That's like copying someone's entire career image"...

    Artists often copy each other's images, by dressing, looking or acting like another artist. This is not illegal. It's how fads occur (hair bands, for example).
  • 5 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 24, 2010 6:25 PM
    GH3 is 3 years old. Did he just picked up on that?
  • 1 Hide
    pinkfloydminnesota , November 24, 2010 6:39 PM
    stopped caring about the fans?

    The band had it's time two decades ago ... anyone who continues to be a fan of a musical group that long needs live.

  • 2 Hide
    firebee1991 , November 24, 2010 6:50 PM
    kinggravesNo, Skip, the lawsuit is about Axl Rose trying to make some money since he's the poster boy for rock has-beens. He MIGHT have something to go on with a misuse of the song in a commercial, depending on what the contract states. The part about Slash being used has zero ground whatsoever though, since Axl isn't Slash and doesn't own his likeness in any way. Even if Slash himself wanted to sue, there's little to go on since it's just a lookalike. It isn't a crime to look like someone else.


    If you play the game, there is eventually a guitar battle with someone who looks exactly like Slash, and it says "Slash wants to do a guitar battle with you!". Just saying.
  • 5 Hide
    aaron88_7 , November 24, 2010 7:06 PM
    Axel would have been a legend if he would have died from an overdose back when people listened to Guns and Roses. This is what happens when legends don't die in their prime....people realize they are just money grubbing drug addicts.
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