This appears to have come out of nowhere, but it’s real and it’s here: Guns N’ Roses’ frontman Axl Rose has slammed Activision for using his band’s songs in Guitar Hero and hinted that he might go as far as suing the publishers. No, the guy did not go completely mad – it appears that Activision actually had no rights to use the Guns’ songs, but only to use the image of Slash, the well known guitarist.
As you can see, things are a bit complicated. According to an open letter wrote by Axl Rose and quoted by NME, the former Guns’ N Roses guitarist has the rights to perform the band’s tracks (including Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child of Mine – the tracks featured in GH) but not if they are associated with the band. Which seems quite a hard thing to achieve, since I’ll always associate Sweet Child O’ Mine with Guns, even if my grandfather sings it!
Anyway, here’s what Axl wrote: “”Him [Slash] being [in] ‘Guitar Hero”s fine but not when Activison is using ‘…Jungle’… unauthorized. Yes, Slash was in Guns and on ‘…Jungle’ and he has rights to perform it, but not to be represented in this context in association with Guns. And since they weren’t granted the license it’ll take some sorting.”
Now, “some sorting” generally means that Activision should take out some cash out of their pockets and transfer it to Guns N’ Roses’ accounts, but it could also mean that, especially if they don’t get any cash out of their pockets, they might get sued. We’ll keep our eyes on the story and offer you updates as soon as we have them.