by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 26th 2007 12:43am
Jennifer was the first of a few folks to alert us to the latest ridiculous copyright lawsuit. It appears that the 80s band The Romantics is suing Activision for the cover version of its song, "What I Like About You," being used in the Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s game released this past summer. The lawsuit is not because the song wasn't properly licensed. Activision properly licensed the song so it could have a band cover the song and use the cover in the game. The problem is that the cover band was too good, according to The Romantics. Yes, the band is complaining that the cover is so accurate it sounds just like the original Romantics' version, and therefore, is infringing on the band's rights. This is so ridiculous that it's worth repeating the details once again: The band agreed to a license allowing Activision to use a cover version of its song -- and then sued because the cover version was too similar to the original. The band is now claiming that Activision should have paid different (more expensive) royalties to use the original master recording. As ridiculous as this sounds, the band may actually have some (equally ridiculous) precedents to back it up. Other musicians have sued when properly licensed covers were used in commercials, claiming that even though the songs used were covers, they sounded too similar and people might assume that the musician endorsed the product in the commercials. In this case, though, there really isn't any question of endorsement -- and, honestly, the Romantics should probably be thrilled that anyone still pays any attention to the band at all, rather than trying to ban the sale of the new game (which, yes, it's trying to do).
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