Gwen Stefani’s band No Doubt has settled its publicity rights lawsuit just short of trial, perhaps wanting to spend time in the studio instead of a courtroom. The closely watched case involved how No Doubt’s likeness was used in the popular game "Band Hero."
As we previously discussed on this entertainment law blog, No Doubt acknowledged that it authorized video game maker Activision to use each band members’ likeness in “Band Hero,” but alleges that the game maker exceeded the terms of their contractual agreement. Rather than allowing users to use the band member’s avatars to sing the three songs approved by the band, the lawsuit claims that their likenesses are featured in over 60 songs, many of which were originally performed by other artists.
Meanwhile, Activision argued that its use of the band members’ images was protected under the First Amendment. However, a California appeals court refused to throw out the case this summer.
It agreed with a lower court that the use of No Doubt’s likenesses was not transformative, noting “that the avatars appear in the context of a video game that contains many other creative elements, does not transform the avatars into anything other than exact depictions of No Doubt's members doing exactly what they do as celebrities.”
The suit has now been settled for an undisclosed amount.