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Guns N' Roses singer files $20m lawsuit against Activision

Axl Rose accuses publisher of fraud over Guitar Hero's use of former guitarist Slash

Axl Rose, the colourful lead singer of venerable rock band Guns N' Roses, has accused Activision of violating licensing terms for the use of his music in Guitar Hero III.

The vocalist had agreed that the game could include the track Welcome To The Jungle only following reassurances that former colleague Slash would not appear in the game.

Rose has been determined for some years that the band should no longer be associated with Slash (real name Saul Hudson), who exited the group in 1996.

Despite alleged promises to contrary, the guitarist's top-hatted likeness went on to appear on the game's cover and as a prominent in-game character, in some instances with Welcome To The Jungle playing in the background.

Rose thus filed a $20 million breach of contract suit against Activision yesterday, claiming the publisher owed him this in "wrongfully acquired profits."

In court documents acquired by Radar Online, the singer claimed that, following online rumour that Slash would appear in-game, he was told by executive vice-president of Music Affairs Tim Riley that "You know you can't believe everything you read on the internet."

Following the game's release, "Activision engaged in negotiations with Guns N' Roses' manager... in a calculated effort to forestall or prevent a lawsuit", including suggesting a game based upon the band's last album Chinese Democracy.

Rose also claims that Riley came to him in tears, claiming "I can't sleep at night."

The signer has filed six actions in total, including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation and fraud.

Rose's lawsuit also claimed that "No other rock song could more perfectly capture this transformative spirit and Faustian bargain theme of GH III than 'Welcome To The Jungle," referring to the game's climactic boss battle against a demonic producer.

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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