Axl Rose's Guitar Hero lawsuit set for trial in 2013

Back in 2010, we learned that Axl Rose was suing Activision for “fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment”, claims relating to the release of Guitar Hero III. Now, a Los Angeles judge has announced that the fraud claim is being thrown out, while the breach of contact claim continues, with a court date set for February 2013.

Rose agreed to let Activision use his song Welcome to the Jungle on the proviso that Guitar Hero III would not include any reference to former Guns ‘n’ Roses guitarist Slash – the two have been feuding for years. Despite the apparent promise, when Guitar Hero III was launched in October 2007, the long-haired guitarist featured rather prominently – contributing a song, appearing in-game, and gracing the cover with his likeness.

Slash as featured in Guitar Hero III

Slash, as featured in Guitar Hero III

The problem for Rose is that he waited for three years to file his complaint, potentially taking so long that the statute of limitations has lapsed. Despite Rose’s lawyers contacting Activision with a complaint following the game’s release, the singer didn’t take things to court until late November, 2010. Why did he take so long?

Apparently, Activision was trying to smooth things over by offering Rose a new video game of his own. Rose explains:

From December 2007 through November 2010, Activision was offering me a Guns N’ Roses dedicated video game, a game dedicated to music from the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album, and other proposals.

Unfortunately, as The Hollywood Reporter explains, that doesn’t really hold up in court, and has lead to the fraud charge being thrown out.

The breach-of-contract case gets a little more complicated, with Rose arguing that he – and his representatives – took issue with Slash being used in Guitar Hero III as an “avatar”, and mentioned this to the publisher. Activision went ahead with the game regardless.

At the same time, Activision argues that the publisher entered into an agreement with GNR Music, rather than Rose himself, so the case does not hold water.

Despite all that, the judge has agreed to hear Rose’s breach of contract allegations, with a trial set for February 1st, 2013.

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