Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt Cobain Avatar

September 11, 2009 -

Video game blogs and message boards have been debating the appropriateness of Kurt Cobain’s posthumous inclusion as a playable character in the recently released Guitar Hero 5.  Some think it’s a welcome tribute, others find it a bit creepy if not outright distasteful.

But what does Cobain’s widow Courtney Love think?  Well, one needs look no further than her Twitter account:

For the record this Guitar Hero [expletive] is breach of contract on a Bullys part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction. WE are going to sue the [expletive] out of Activision we being the Trust the Estate the LLC the various LLCs Cobain Enterprises.

While Love’s main gripe seems to be the appearance of Cobain’s character model and a feature that allows it to perform other artist’s songs, Activision Vice President Tim Riley told The Guardian that she was very cooperative in the creation of the game:

Courtney supplied us with photos and videos. She picked the wardrobe and hairstyle, which turned out to be the 'Teen Spirit' look, then we went back and forth over changes – some subtle, some not so subtle.

Love, for her part, doesn’t seem to agree:

Activision is fulllo f sh*t... i never intended to APPROVE this sh*t, they are doing a recall you can be sure of that… wait til you see what my lovely lawyer has cooked up, i never ever signed off on this.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that surviving Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are also unhappy with the use of Cobain’s likeness:

While we were aware of Kurt's image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character.  This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in 're-locking' Kurt's character so that this won't continue in the future.

Activision defended itself in a statement released Thursday, saying that it “secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain’s likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5.”

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Senior Correspondent Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Wait, let me get this straight.

Courtney Love killed Kurt, and she's saying profiting off his likeness is immoral.

Jesus, what a hypocrite.

No, Luke, I AM the Walrus

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Guys, if Activision got the necessary mechanical licenses to use the songs, and then got the permission from the estate to use the likeness and image of Cobain, then Activision is in the clear. No amount of attorney b.s. (no offense to attorneys) can change the fact that (it looks like) Activision is solid on this one.

 

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Nirvana members and Courtney (3-4 people): "Heeeeey.. Like, yeah, no, don't.. don't uh.. don't use Kurt's image in a video-game... Even if you secured the rights... Not nice."

Nirvana fans (Millions) : "Hey! Let us incarnate our beloved and mourned real Guitar Hero! Thank you Activision for the tribute! Courtney? You're still alive? Who cares..."

 

Another match of Artists vs Those ensuring the Artists continuity. FIGHT!!

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I'm just surprised she's still alive...


Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

This isn't taking sides, but just sharing some info.

Courtney Love controls Kurt's estate. On behalf of her and her daughter. She has been very tough in allowing his image, name, etc. to be used in anything. Even though her personal life has been a train wreck, she has been praised many times for her handling of the estate.

Something sounds fishy here. There might have been either a misunderstanding, or someone screwed up. Activision might have believed they could take advantage of her. Or she might have screwed up. We'll find out when it goes to court.

 

 

Yes, I am a liberal. I also believe in a strong military, less government, and the right to bear arms. ~ Me Calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker is like calling a crack dealer an unlicensed pharmacist. ~ Me

Yes, I am a liberal. I also believe in a strong military, less government, and the right to bear arms. 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Which is why I find the knee-jerk reactionaries who leap to accusations of "greedy bitch" typical of the knee-jerk reactions which are often made here. Putting aside the fact that if Courtney Love sat on her ass for the rest of her life and didn't lift a finger, she'd probably be well-taken care of by the money which continues to roll into the Cobain estate and is therefore probably not too hard up for money and therefore doesn't have much need to extort a dollar outta Activision, no one pauses for a minute to consider the possibility that she's more interested in protecting her husband's image and memory than she is in making a buck. 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Who cares. She sucks, Kurt Cabain sucks, Nirvana sucks. Guitar Hero 5 sucks.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Curmudgeon.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

...I put that word into Wikipedia, and after reading the description I noticed " For the Nirvana song, see With the Lights Out." And there's a song called Curmudgeon. Freaky.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

There's no such thing as "coincidence." God, in His infinite wisdon, created everything to serve a purpose. Some things share God's purpose in common, that's all. 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

"God, in His infinite wisdon, created everything to serve a purpose."

With the exception of Courtney Love. That day he let the work experience kid take a crack at things.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

LOL!

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Kurt would probably be pissed off at both sides over this to be honest, commericialism and greed were what pushed him into depression in the first place, and it didn't really matter what side of the divide it was on.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I saw a screenshot showing cobain in GH5 and my immediate reaction was one of anger that they would pimp the likness of a deadman out to sell video games.

I'm not going to ding Courtney Love for using her husband's songs and memory for monetary gain.  She was a passable artist before cobain and can easily make her way in life without him.  I certianly think that if Kurt can help to provide for his child in some way and maybe aid other people through grants or LLC's then go for it but for some reason it still irks me.

 

If she honestly thought that activision was going to limit kurt to his own material and signed the stuff in good faith with that proviso then she's got every right to sue the pants off of them.

I don't really have any desire to play as Kurt, ever, it's still too creepy.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Too bad Kurt didn't bother to stick around for that daughter...he would've been able to provide plenty for her had he not chosen the easy way out and ABANDONED her while she was a toddler by taking the easy way out instead of manning up and being a father.

I honestly don't get the hero worship of this guy.  He was a d-bag who ran away from a daughter who needed his love.  Eff him.

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

So I guess you're not going to play Rock Band Beatles then?

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Not if the avatars are playing non Beatles music, which we all really know that is the true issue here.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

And we all know that musicians never, EVER perform songs that weren't first performed by them, right? Kurt was making his own music from the first moment he picked up an instrument, right?

Nope, all those covers are just figments of our imaginations.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

But that's not even an issue! (Note Tom Morello/Slash argument several comments above)

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

@killj0y:

And I think that's Love's point and what a lot of people here just aren't understanding. She signed up for "X" and ended up getting "Y." If that's true, then she's every right to be pissed. And every right to sue.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

She simply might not have read the fine print. I side with Activision here if it went like this:

"So, Kurt's image is going to be used in his songs, then?"

"Yep, the two songs that are his in GH5."

"Hmm...alright. I'll sign it."

ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT PEOPLE.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

And you seriously believe that Courtney Love sat her own ass down at the conference table completely alone and didn't use a team of $1000-an-hour attorneys to negotiate the license agreement on her behalf?

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Then don't play as him?

Seriously, the way somw word it seems as if once he's unlocked all other characters become locked. It you don't want to play as him, don't effin play as him.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Does Johnny Cash's inclusion bother you as well?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Only when he's performing upbeat happy songs. It's extremely uncharacteristic of him.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

So instead of simply going "Hey ,they remembered him ,sweet" they're going "Bawwww, he's signin songs we didn;'t make" except for Courtney there who is looking to cash in on it.

I['m just happy Cobain is well remembered. And hey, in Guitar Hero 3 Slash and Tom Morello were i nthe game and were able ot play songs they never helped with, Bret Michaels was even in it and I doubt he'd have thrown a shitfit if he was an unlockable vocalist. I mean, if it has a character maker I won't doubt that people would just make him anyway.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

 So she went along with the process of them building up the character model and shit but didn't "intend to approve it". Why? 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

There's a difference between saying "I intend to approve the use of Kurt's likeness performing his own material" and "I intend to approve the use of Kurt's likeness performing the material of others." The two are not the same. And it's very possible that she would have been unaware of the fact of the latter until after the game was unveiled.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Honestly, I disagree. I see absolutely no difference in the importance of whether he plays in his songs or any song. If I was a famous person, I'd be honored just to have my likeness in a game, and it'd be pretty stupid to make it so I was only used during my songs. It's not like Activision is making it so you can't use him during his songs, he's just allowing players to use him during any song. Why Courtney is bitching about this is beyond me.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Exactly this.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

You know, I wasn't planning on getting GH5, due to shitty song selection, among other things.. But now, I might see if I can scrounge the money together just because I think Courtney Love is a greedy whore. Fuck them, they have plenty of money. (Not that Activision DOESN'T, but they aren't the ones threatening to sue.)

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I'm no laywer, but does Activision even need permission to use Cobain's likeness for an avatar? To my understanding, the likenesses of public figures such as entertainers and politicians are public domain. How do you copyright a face?

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

No need to copyright. A person's likeness is recognized at common law as being their property, and theirs alone, to exploit as they choose. It's not in the public domain. Certainly not during their lifetime. And probably not for a long, long time after their death.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I'm pretty sure the law is set up so that reasonably well-known public figures DO NOT have a right to their likeness. I doubt the writers of political cartoons are out seeking the permission of presidents and congressmen all the time.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I'm pretty sure that you're as wrong as wrong can be. Political cartoons are usually satire and/or parody, both of which fall under the "fair use" exemption.

And think about what you're saying for a second. If Kurt Cobain, as a well-know public figure, had no rights in his own likeness as you suggest, then why would Activision have sought a license agreement in the first place? They'd have simply gone ahead and used his likeness without seeking anyone's permission because, technically, there'd be no need to seek permission.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Huh, after Googling it, I guess you can copyright your likeness. Seems silly to me, but whatever.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

OK I can agree with their point of view here. If they wanted to make him a playable character they should of kept him with his Nirvana songs and not put him to sing others. But Courtney's BS is beyond stupid. Besides I find it funny that she is still trying to milk her late-husband's legacy no matter how small it was.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

lol. My favorite part is the "I never intended to APPROVE of this".This doesn't make any sense and is contradictory in and of itself.

It's like giving someone your car keys and then saying "I didn't intend for them to actually DRIVE the car." Or,

"I gave her an engagement ring, but I don't want to get married."

Dumb people are dumb. And greedy.

The End.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

It doesn't specify if "this" refers to ALL SONGS or THE LIKENESS, PERIOD.

Most seem to think she's implying she didn't approve the likeness at all. I think she just thought it was only gonna be Nirvana songs.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

 Im confused the title makes this sound kind of important shouldn't it instead read Crack Head whines about Kurt Avatar. 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Activision is fulllo f sh*t... i never intended to APPROVE this sh*t, they are doing a recall you can be sure of that… wait til you see what my lovely lawyer has cooked up, i never ever signed off on this.

Wow, a little too much public anger there.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

The whole 'wait till you see what my lovely little lawyer has cooked up' part sounds more like a scheming bitch trying to gold-dig than, you know, a real argument. 

I still say Love killed Kobain. Also, isn't Johnny Cash in guitar hero 5?

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

If merely having a person's signature on an agreement was summarily and entirely dispositive of a dispute between the parties, then the expenditure of countless hours of court time and resources spent resolving contractual disputes could and would have been avoided. And there'd be no need for the entirely confusing and difficult to navigate "parole evidence rule." 

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

Seems to me that Courtney Love is trying to extort more money from Activision. Apparently she signed a contract granting Activision to right to use Cobain anyway they saw fit in the game, so she has no case.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I frankly don't think she's that intelligent. It was probably a legalese issue where she thought it was only for Nirvana songs but Acti gets it on all of them.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

What a shocker she turned out to be a greedy bitch.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I don't see the problem here. If Activision has a signed document, then that's the end of it. Unless Love's attorneys intend to prove that she was high at the time of signing, which doesn't sound like it would be good for her.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

WTF?  Is she on crack?  oh wait.....

Re: Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt ...

I'm guessing she needed a fix and some quick cash from Activision was what she needed.  Then when she sobered up she didn't remember signing any rather legally binding documents.  And I don't think "well I was seriously fucked up" will hold up in court.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

 
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