Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Doubt v Activision: Game on

Courtney Love's much-tweeted threat of legal action against Activision seems to have fallen by the wayside, but Band Hero has still had a run-out in court.

No Doubt sued because they say that although they signed up to be in the game, nobody gave Activision the right to make Gwen sing in a bloke's voice, or the band dance "unnaturally".

Activision counter-sued that this was a breach of free speech (because the Founding Fathers really foresaw this question when they framed the constitution), calling for the lawsuit to be thrown out.

Billboard reports:

As usual in these sorts of disputes, the question becomes whether the speech -- in this case, the game -- amounted to a "transformative use" of the celebrity's image, in which case it falls under First Amendment protection. The California Appeals Court says that Activision's use of No Doubt isn't sufficiently transformative, finding that the images in the game were nothing "more than literal, fungible reproductions of their likenesses."
The case is now going to move to trial - but before No Doubt can level up, Activision have a right of appeal.

It doesn't feel like there's an Erin Brockovich style movie waiting to be made here, does it?

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