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No Doubt wins latest court round over Band Hero usage

Activision denied right to use freedom of speech protections against rock group

Rock group No Doubt has won the latest round in a lawsuit against Activision over its portrayal in the game Band Hero.

No Doubt filed a lawsuit against the publisher last November, claiming that it hadn't consented to the way it had appeared in the game.

The band said that, without its approval, Activision had turned the group into "virtual karaoke players" by having it perform over 60 songs by other musical groups.

It also objected to the way members of the band could be isolated into solo performers and placed randomly in countless variations - an act it said was: "contrary to the agreement between the parties."

Now the band has won a new victory over Activision, with LA County Superior Court Judge Kenji Machida issuing a tentative ruling that has rejected Activision's efforts to invoke freedom-of-speech protections under the 1st Amendment in defence of its use of the No Doubt avatars, according to the LA Times.

Activision told the site on Friday that it expects to appeal the ruling.

The publisher has also previously been denied the right to shift the case to a federal court, after claiming it as a copyright issue rather than the right-of-publicity issue argued by No Doubt.

Activision has previously said that its use of No Doubt in Band Hero was "within its legal rights", adding that the band's inclusion in the game followed "extensive" negotiations.

"Activision has a written agreement to use No Doubt in Band Hero - an agreement signed by No Doubt after extensive negotiations with its representatives, who collectively have decades of experience in the entertainment industry," it said.

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Kath Brice