According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Los Angeles judge threw out GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose's fraud claim against game publisher Activision Blizzard, Inc. for using a GUNS song in its "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" video game, but allowed Rose's breach-of-contract claim to continue, setting up a potential trial next February.
Rose claimed in his $20 million lawsuit that the company's use of the GUNS song "Welcome To The Jungle" in Guitar Hero III violated an agreement the publisher made with him not to use any images of former GUNS guitarist Slash in the game.
The suit, filed in November 2010 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that Activision persuaded Rose to authorize the use of "Jungle" by telling him that the game would not feature any reference or mention of not only Slash, but his post-GUNS band VELVET REVOLVER. According to the suit, "(Activision) began spinning a web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions to not only feature Slash and VR prominently in GH III 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'."
Rose apparently found out that a character resembling Slash would appear in Guitar Hero II and immediately refused to allow "Jungle" to be used, but claims that Activision lied to him and said the image was just being used for marketing purposes. However, the singer became enraged when he got a copy of Guitar Hero III, which featured the Slash character heavily in the game and even on the cover.
Rose also claimed that the GUNS song "Sweet Child O' Mine" was used in an online promotion for Guitar Hero III despite being licensed only for Guitar Hero II.
One of the legal obstacles Axl faces is the fact that "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" came out in October 2007 but Rose's lawsuit wasn't filed until late November 2010 — more than three years after the singer's agent sent Activision an e-mail objecting. Activision says Rose's lawsuit came after the statute of limitations had expired.
"The reason I did not file a lawsuit [sooner] is because Activision — through my managers and representatives — offered me a separate video game and other business proposals worth millions of dollars to resolve and settle my claims relating to 'GHIII'," the GN'R frontman said in a deposition, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
A copy of the court documents filed by Rose's attorneys in November 2010 can be found at RadarOnline.com (PDF file).