A hearing was held on Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom concerning a $20 million lawsuit brought by Axl Rose against Activision Blizzard for featuring former Guns N’ Roses band-mate Slash in Guitar Hero III, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the suit, Rose and his Black Frog Music claimed that the video game publisher fraudulently induced him into authorizing Welcome to the Jungle for use in the popular game by telling him during negotiations that it wouldn’t feature any reference to Slash, the guitarist with whom he has been famously feuding for years.
One of the big problems for Rose has been that the game was released on Oct. 28th, 2007. The front cover of Guitar Hero III featured Slash in one of his classic poses. And yet, Rose’s lawsuit wasn’t filed until late November 2010 — more than three years after Rose’s agent sent Activision an e-mail objecting. Activision’s lawyers pointed out that Rose knew about the objectionable material for quite some time yet didn’t file soon enough to be within the statute of limitations.
“The reason I did not file a lawsuit 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,” said Rose in a deposition. “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.”
Such possibilities will be of interest to fans, but they might not make for good legal reasoning. Officially, Rose’s lawyer attempted to argue that his claims did not accrue until he discovered that “Activision had been intentionally concealing its plans to use [Velvet Revolver] and Slash in the game all along.”
But the judge isn’t accepting that argument and appears ready to strike the fraud claim because the statute of limitations had expired.
The lawsuit came close to being tossed altogether over Activision’s objection to Rose’s breach of contract claim.
But the judge is primed to allow Rose’s breach of contract allegations to be settled at a trial, which is now scheduled for Feb. 1st, 2013.
Miller says he’s satisfied with the result, that the “damages and harm will be the same with a lower burden of proof” now that he doesn’t need to show fraudulent concealment.
David Steinberg, the attorney at Mitchell Silberberg representing Activision, couldn’t be reached for comment.