(This may be more appropriate for the music forum. Or maybe not.)
Axl Rose, frontman of Guns 'N Roses, is suing Activision, makers of the Guitar Hero series, for $20 million. Rose is contending that when he gave them permission to use "Welcome to the Jungle" in Guitar Hero III, he did it with the sole condition that nothing featuring Velvet Revolver (and his former bandmate and long-term "mortal enemy", Slash) would be included in the game.
Despite what the article says, there were no Velvet Revolver songs featured on the game disc itself-- though three of their songs were available as separate downloadable content. Slash's likeness, however, was included in the game as an avatar, featured on the cover, and Slash himself was a spokesperson for the game.
OK, a couple of questions here from the non-Guns 'N Roses fan:
1. What's the origin of the feud between Axl Rose and Slash?
2. Do you think Axl has a legal leg to stand on here?
"But you can't make an omelette without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others." --General Tarquin, The Order of the Stick
Fan of the Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI Champions), Indiana Pacers and Washington Nationals
Certified RFMC Member-- Ask To See My Credentials!
Co-Winner of Time's Person of the Year Award, 2006
My biased opinion is that Axl Rose is a egomaniac. My understanding is that there was tension in the band for various reasons. Wikipedia mentions claims of Rose orchestrating the firing of their manager (against the wishes of some band members), and I remember a story about him flipping out and refusing to do anything unless the rest of the band give him all rights to the Guns N' Roses name. Slash's final straw was apparently when they released a cover of "Sympathy For The Devil" for the "Interview With The Vampire" Soundtrack, and Axl had overdubbed some of Slash's guitar parts with parts performed by someone else.
As to the second part, it really depends on what the agreement ways, whether it was in writing, and the like. If the article is correct and he's suing over Guitar Hero 3, that's a little strange because GH3 came out 3 years ago. At least he's not as late on this as he was with "Chinese Democracy".
The original Hollywood Reporter article that Yahoo links to is confusing. I think maybe when they say "When Rose found out that a Slash-like character and Velvet Revolver songs would be included in GH II", they actually mean GH3 there, because "Welcome To The Jungle" was only on GH3. "Sweet Child of Mine" was on GH2.
All in all, I don't think Rose has much of a case. I can't imagine that Activision would decide to make such an agreement with Rose and then renege on it, knowing how many lawyers must have been working behind the scenes to make sure that there were no legal concerns.
Here (computerandvideogames.com) and here (pcgameworld.com) are interviews with the lead designer for the game. He talks about some of the new content (which will eventually be available for download via X-Box live, so fret not, X-boxers)