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Axl Rose Suing Activision Over Guitar Hero III Licensing, Misrepresentation

Guns N' Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Activision for the company's unauthorized use of the song "Welcome to the Jungle" in association with former band member Saul "Slash" Hudson.
Guns N' Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Activision for the company's unauthorized use of the song "Welcome to the Jungle" in association with former band member Saul "Slash" Hudson. In court documents filed today in Los Angeles and obtained by Radar Online [PDF], Rose accuses Activision of using Slash and his new band Velvet Revolver in the game alongside "Welcome to the Jungle," despite Rose's objections over this juxtaposition and repeated promises from Activision that Slash and Velvet Revolver would not be included in the game. "[Activision] began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions to not only feature Slash and [Velvet Revolver] prominently in GHIII, but also promote the game by emphasizing and reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N' Roses and the band's song 'Welcome to the Jungle,'" the court documents read. The documents lay out a timeline of e-mails and personal assurances issued by Activision that Slash and Velvet Revolver would not be featured in the game. At one point, Activision Executive VP of Music Affairs Tim Riley allegedly addressed online rumors of Slash's inclusion in the game by telling a licensing representative, "Come on... you can't believe everything you read on the internet." Rose alleges that Activision continued to misrepresent its use of Slash's image and Velvet Revolver songs in Guitar Hero III through to the game's October 2007 release. Rose also alleges that Activision's use of Slash's distinctive, top-hatted image in promotion of the game -- including a prominent appearance on the box art -- was in violation of Rose's licensing terms. After the game's release, Activision allegedly offered Rose a Guitar Hero game based around Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" to make up for the deception, which Riley allegedly apologized for, saying he "can't sleep at night" in a 2010 meeting with Rose. Rose is seeking access to Activision's "wrongfully acquired profits ... in excess of twenty million dollars." Activision representatives were not immediately available for comment on the case as of this writing.

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