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Axl Rose On The Verge Of Losing Lawsuit Against Guitar Hero Creators

February 4, 2013 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Billboard reports that Axl Rose is close to losing his $20 million lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for featuring Slash on the cover of Guitar Hero III.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Palmer said that he may dismiss the suit, in which Rose claims he was defrauded into allowing “Welcome to the Jungle” to be included in the game. Rose also said he was told during negotiations that the game wouldn’t have any reference to Slash, who he has been feuding with for nearly twenty years.

The reason the case may be dismissed is because Rose didn’t file a claim soon enough. He filed in late November 2010, three years after the game’s October 2007 release. He can’t say that he didn’t know about it until later, because his agent sent Activision an email about the matter around the time the game came out.

Rose tried to explain why he didn’t file right away. He said in a deposition: “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.’ 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.

Rose originally sued for fraud and breach of contract, but the judge removed the fraud claim in August due to statute of limitations. This was even though Rose’s lawyer claims he didn’t know about the matter until he found out “Activision had been intentionally concealing its plans to use [Slash's post-GnR band Velvet Revolver] and Slash in the game all along.”

The only thing left is the contract issue but both are arguing about how that deal turned out. Rose’s attorneys showed emails to Activision by Wayne Milligan (licensing administrator at Sussman & Associates who does work for GNR Music, which gives publishing rights to the band’s songs). There was a written agreement not to include Velvet Revolver songs and Rose had four years to file a lawsuit.

Palmer said that the agreement was oral and was subject to a two-year statute of limitations. He added: “The only extrinsic evidence supports Activision’s interpretation and does not support Rose’s interpretation.

A full decision should be coming within weeks.

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Joseph Lee

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