Adam Levine sues 'Band Hero' for exploiting his likeness, making him sing like a lady


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The makers of the video game Band Hero continue to take it in the shorts even though the thing was released almost two full years ago (which, in video game time, is several lifetimes). Maroon 5 frontman and The Voice coach Adam Levine is the latest to file a lawsuit against Activision, the developers of Band Hero, and says that even though he licensed his likeness to be a playable avatar in the game, he was never made aware that his character could perform songs from other bands (which would not have received his stamp of approval).

According to the suit, Levine is suing for fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, violation of the common-law right of publicity, and unfair business acts or practices. He is seeking unspecified damages.

This is exactly like the suit that Activision faced seemingly seconds after the game first hit store shelves in 2009, when No Doubt sued the company for exactly the same thing. They claimed they were not made aware that the band could be forced to play songs other than their own and sought similar damages (though that suit was initially dismissed, an appellate judge said they had the band had the right to sue; the suit is still pending).

Of course, Activision got into similar trouble with 2009’s Guitar Hero 5, which contained a playable Kurt Cobain character who could perform any song in the game. That upset both his former Nirvana bandmates as well as widow Courtney Love.

So here’s the big question: What was the sticking point for Levine? What song included on Band Hero was considered beyond the pale for him? The suit notes that one of the problems Levine had was that his avatar could produce a female voice, but it’s hard to imagine he’d be upset about great songs like Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” or the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” coming out of his face. Let’s assume he didn’t want to be pictured singing Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” and leave it at that.

Adam Levine and Stevie Nicks sing ‘Leather and Lace’ at the Hollywood Bowl: Watch it here
No Doubt sues over unapproved ‘Band Hero’ use; say they are ‘bitterly disappointed’
Kurt Cobain in ‘Guitar Hero 5′: former Nirvana bandmates are ‘dismayed and very disappointed’

Comments (20 total) Add your comment
  • Strepsi

    I am sure that the contract covered “likeness and any activities that likeness may engage in” or some such, and that the performers’ agents didn;t question it.

    It’s a video game — of COURSE people will make he bands perform inappropriate songs!!! Just as Warcraft characters run around in underwear and SPORE resulted in 10,000 creatures shaped like b**bs with d*cks. That’s how video game players work.

    • Holly

      I can see people being upset with Curt Cobain being in it, because he would not have agreed to be in the game at all. But these other singers, please, it’s not like they have “artistic principles.”. They will sell themselves out at the drop of a hat. They just probably want more money out of the deal and figure they can win.

      • BC

        >> “I can see people being upset with Curt Cobain being in it, because he would not have agreed to be in the game at all. But these other singers, please, it’s not like they have ‘artistic principles.’ ” <<
        If this comment thread were a formal debate, this would be called begging the question.

  • Wah-Wah-Wah

    I thought Adam was a bit femme anyway. You signed a contract fool. Live with it.

  • UGH

    Please. This carefully coiffed pretty boy is worried about being “exploited” by singing like a girl? Does he listen to his own vocals? There’s not that a big of a difference anyway. As “Wah-Wah-Wah” pointed out, this idiot licensed his likeness. Why not read the fine print in whatever contract you signed?

  • PN

    Did Band Hero even listen to Maroon 5’s CDs before they put the music on there instead of making lead singer Adam Levine sing like a lady? Some singers are very defensive of their music and don’t want it to be screwed up for a video game or something.

  • asher

    Wow, these celebrities need to get over themselves.


    Wow. That nerd looks tough with those tats. Don’t mess with him or his hair!

  • KC

    Who knew Courtney Love would care about where she was making her money from?

  • Spaceman Spike

    Lighten up! Dear activision, please feel free to use my image for anything, because it is a game!

    P.S., Adam, your tats are lame, and so are you man. Stop wasting time on stupid stuff and try to write a good follow-up to Songs About Jane, not that crap you’ve lazily pumped out since.

    • Lindsay


    • Spaceman

      Duh, it’s suddenly occurred to me that NO ONE wants to use my image for anything.

      • Lindsay


  • karina

    whatever im sure he has his reasons let him do it if he wants. id still make out with him :) hahaha

  • Kelly

    I seem to remember him making a comment while he was judging on the Voice about how his signing voice sometimes gets mistaken for a girl’s.

  • LK

    “coming out of his face”

  • Marcie

    This is so funny. We have this game and his voice is already so feminine it hardly makes any difference if he sings as a female.

  • Clorizzle

    But he DOES sing like a lady!

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