Jury to decide No Doubt vs. Band Hero case

Pop-rock band No Doubt's ongoing lawsuit against Activision for its avatar-unlocking feature is set to go in front of a jury.

Band Hero's Gwen Stefani

(Screenshot by GameSpot)

No Doubt sued gaming giant Activision in 2009, on allegations that the company's game Band Hero lets players convert the avatars "into a virtual karaoke circus act". The case has been ongoing ever since. On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Ramona See ruled that the decision will now be up to a jury, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit was first brought when No Doubt claimed that Activision didn't tell the musicians that players would be able to unlock the band's avatars, and use them to perform other artists' music.

No Doubt specifically took issue with the ability for gamers to have lead singer Gwen Stefani perform the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women". The suit claims that it "results in an unauthorised performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes".

Activision claims that it's not at fault, and that unlocking avatars is nothing new in the gaming industry. According to the Associated Press, the company's lawyer said that Activision has a video recording of when it told No Doubt about the game's unlocking feature.

During Wednesday's hearing, Judge See rejected Activision's motions to dismiss some of the claims in the case, such as fraud, violation of publicity rights and breach of contract. However, See also rejected No Doubt's motion to file an injunction banning Activision from allowing the unlocking feature that lets band avatars perform other musicians' work.

The case is expected to go to trial later this year.


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