While millions of young kids across the country are being introduced to The Beatles for the first time thanks to Harmonix’s The Beatles: Rock Band, things in their number one competitor’s camp are unfolding far more dramatically. Sure, the joy of finally seeing your children play a video game that you can identify with is a heart-warming story… but the dramatic turn of events surrounding Guitar Hero 5 and the ill-executed Kurt Cobain avatar has been far more interesting. Read it and weep, Generation Y:
For those of you too young (or too old for that matter) to remember the rise and fall of one the last 20 years’ most prolific songwriters, Kurt Cobain was considered by many to be a God among mortals. While his tragic lost battle with drugs is a tale that rock ‘n’ roll history has often told, Cobain managed to inspire a generation of headbangers and change pop culture in only a few short years. If Weird Al parodies you and Gus Van Sant makes a movie about your final days, consider yourself MADE. That being said, seeing his classic gray-sweater-wearing image crooning the lyrics to songs like “You Give Love A Bad Name” is something some would consider as reprehensible as the Devil preaching a sermon to a church full of Evangelicals. To make it all worse, Activision is defending its poor choices by blaming none other than Cobain’s wife Courtney Love, who has a Twitter account and is even less coherent using it than when she is being interviewed.
In an age old he-said-she-said debate, Activision claims to have received full access to Cobain’s image and likeness from his estate, aka Courtney Love, even going so far as to say that “Courtney supplied us with photos and videos and knew exactly what she wanted Kurt to look like…” (Rolling Stone). Meanwhile, Love responded via Twitter, “i dragged my ass and never signed [off] on the avatar, let alone this fucking ‘feature’.” She added more flames to the fire by saying “you can assrape dave he was always a bad seed and is stillriding the shit while i take bullets if theres a hell hes going. im not.”
I can tolerate as much Courtney Love bullshit as the next guy (Editor’s note: Henning can not tolerate that much)… but blaming Dave Grohl? I’m inclined to believe that she was foolish enough to license the likeness rights to her late husband for a number of reasons, not excluding money (when was the last time Hole was on the top of the charts or headlining a tour?). And as everyone knows from various other legal battles surrounding Cobain, she is the one in control of his estate and no one else. Case in point: if Kurt Cobain is featured in a video game, Courtney Love (or someone representing her) signed off on it. It remains to be seen whether Activision will change its implementation of Cobain in future releases or if it will simply remain another sad example of how important the likeness rights of an iconic figure are, especially when executed in bad taste.