Thursday May 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- No Doubt’s attorneys can argue to a jury that the band was misled by gaming giant Activision Publishing Inc. about how its likeness would be used in the video game "Band Hero," a judge has ruled.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Ramona See rejected a motion by Activi sion’s lawyers to dismiss several claims from the case, including fraud, violation of publicity rights and breach of contract. See determined there were genuine disputes about evidence that a jury should consider.

No Doubt sued the Santa Monica, Calif.-based video game company in November 2009, claiming the band was never told that players would be able to unlock avatars of the band to perform other artists’ music.

The case cited instances in which players could use singer Gwen Stefani to perform suggestive lyrics from the Rolling Stones’ hit "Honky Tonk Wo men," or have a virtual version of bassist Tony Kanal sing his band’s hit "Just a Girl," but with Stefani’s voice.

The lawsuit claimed the feature turns the band "into a virtual karaoke circus act."

See denied on a technical basis a request for an injunc tion barring Activision from using band members’ likenesses to perform other art ists’ work, although No Doubt could still pursue such an order if it wins at trial.

Attorneys expect the case will go to trial later this year.