While a Los Angeles judge has allowed Axl Rose’s lawsuit to proceed against Activision Blizzard, the litigation — in which the rocker asserts the gaming firm improperly used the avatar of his group’s one-time guitarist Saul Hudson (aka Slash) — also is providing a window into frictions between members of the one-time hit enesemble.
Rose apparently is touchy about the association between Slash and Guns N’ Roses. Rose did not want the Guns N’ Roses brand connected to Slash in any manner. Rose’s complaint alleges that Activision Blizzard executives assured him Slash would not appear in conjunction with the Guns N’ Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle” or in any other manner within the video game. Rose stated that he agreed to the use of the song as long as Slash was not associated with song or Guns N’ Roses. Guitar Hero released with modes that allowed the player to earn Slash as an avatar or to battle against Slash while playing “Welcome to the Jungle.” Rose also alleges that Activision Blizzard promised him that Slash’s band Velvet Revolver would not appear in the game. Lastly, Rose alleges that Activision Blizzard used another song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” without a license in an Internet promotion.
Rose is seeking $20 million-plus in damages, which he claims are the profits Activision Blizzard received from sales of Guitar Hero. Activision Blizzard is no stranger to lawsuits resulting from virtual representations of celebrities. It also been sued by the band No Doubt for the use of its members’ avatars in the game Band Hero. Our post on that lawsuit is here.