Half of Axl Rose's Lawsuit Against 'Guitar Hero' to Proceed

Singer sued over inclusion of Slash on cover of video game

Axl Rose
Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images
August 15, 2012 10:10 AM ET

Axl Rose had mixed results in a Los Angeles court yesterday regarding a $20 million lawsuit against the makers of Guitar Hero IIIaccording to The Hollywood Reporter. A judge dismissed Rose's fraud claim, but kept a breach-of-contract allegation against Activision Blizzard for including ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash in the video game.

Rose claims that he and his Black Frog Music company cleared "Welcome to the Jungle" after Activision promised them the game wouldn't feature Slash – who subsequently appeared prominently on the front cover when the game came out in 2007. 

The Guns N' Roses singer didn't file the lawsuit until three years later, in November 2010, though a representative had emailed Activision about the issue in 2007. Activision says Rose's lawsuit came after the statute of limitations had expired. Though Rose said he didn't file a claim sooner because Activision had made various business proposals "worth millions of dollars"  including a GNR-themed video game dedicated to music from Chinese Democracy, the band's 2008 album  the judge appeared to side with the game publisher. 

Rose had better luck with his breach-of-contract claim, which contends that Activision proceeded with the game over Rose's objections to the use of Slash's image. Activision says Rose had no standing to object: the company licensed "Welcome to the Jungle" from GNR Music, the band's publishing arm, which required approval by all three partners: Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan. "Rose had no authority to enter into a license for 'Welcome to the Jungle' in his individual capacity because he does not own the song or the sound recording," Activision argued in court. 

Still, a judge scheduled a court date for February 1st, 2013, to settle the breach-of-contract claim.

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