The makers of the video game Band Hero continue to take it in the shorts even though the thing was released almost two full years ago (which, in video game time, is several lifetimes). Maroon 5 frontman and The Voice coach Adam Levine is the latest to file a lawsuit against Activision, the developers of Band Hero, and says that even though he licensed his likeness to be a playable avatar in the game, he was never made aware that his character could perform songs from other bands (which would not have received his stamp of approval).
According to the suit, Levine is suing for fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, violation of the common-law right of publicity, and unfair business acts or practices. He is seeking unspecified damages.
This is exactly like the suit that Activision faced seemingly seconds after the game first hit store shelves in 2009, when No Doubt sued the company for exactly the same thing. They claimed they were not made aware that the band could be forced to play songs other than their own and sought similar damages (though that suit was initially dismissed, an appellate judge said they had the band had the right to sue; the suit is still pending).
Of course, Activision got into similar trouble with 2009’s Guitar Hero 5, which contained a playable Kurt Cobain character who could perform any song in the game. That upset both his former Nirvana bandmates as well as widow Courtney Love.
So here’s the big question: What was the sticking point for Levine? What song included on Band Hero was considered beyond the pale for him? The suit notes that one of the problems Levine had was that his avatar could produce a female voice, but it’s hard to imagine he’d be upset about great songs like Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” or the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” coming out of his face. Let’s assume he didn’t want to be pictured singing Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” and leave it at that.
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