Add Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine to the list of musicians who are angry with Activision.
Adam Levine (Getty Images)
The singer and co-star of NBC's hit series "The Voice" has sued the publisher over the use of his likeness in 2009's Band Hero, saying he did not authorize many of the ways his image is used in the game.
Sound familiar? It should. Levine's complaints are virtual carbon copies of the ones made by No Doubt and the former members of Nirvana.
In the suit, Levine says he gave Activision rights to use his image for the band's song "She Will Be Loved," but was not informed that he would become a playable character for any song in the game -- including those sung by women. He's suing for fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, violation of the common-law right of publicity, and unfair business acts or practices.
He's particularly upset that other artists were informed of the expanded use and paid more money, according to the suit.
No Doubt already has a suit against the publisher for virtually the same thing, accusing Activision of turning it "into virtual karaoke players." Activision, as you might expect, is fighting the charges -- citing freedom of speech, of all things -- but in February, a judge refused to dismiss the case. It's now proceeding forward.
Two months before the No Doubt legal issues, Courtney Love and the surviving members of Nirvana blasted the company for letting players use Kurt Cobain's image on songs that weren't his in Guitar Hero 5, including those by Bon Jovi and Flavor Flav.
Former bandmates Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic said at the time that they were "dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used."
Activision, of course, famously put all of its Hero games -- Guitar Hero, Band Hero and DJ Hero -- on ice in February. At the time, they were presumed dead, but last month, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said those presumptions were incorrect.
"We're going to take the products out of the market, and we're not going to tell anybody what we're doing for awhile, but we're going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether," Kotick said. "And then we're going to go back to the studios and we're going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero. And so that's what we're doing with it now."
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