Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Washed-Up Band Strikes Back Against "The Man"

This just in from Daily Vault Staff Writer Bruce Rusk:

Eighties has-beens and one-and-a-half hit wonders The Romantics took time off from their gala tour of Holiday Inns and mall openings to file legal action against Activision Games and their partners Redoctane, publishers of the wildly successful Guitar Hero series of games.

For those of you who have lives (or don't have teenagers), Guitar Hero is a video game wherein the player manipulates a plastic guitar thingy and plays along with famous rock songs. Most of the songs are covers (used by permission) and some are the original recordings. Yes , royalties and all that do apply. Some major acts including Metallica, Aerosmith and Pearl Jam have blessed the games with their original recordings. The rest apparently gave permission and cashed the check, thank-you-very-much-nice-doing-business-with-you.

In one of the many versions of the game; Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s, a cover version of The Romantics' ubiquitous "What I Like About You" is included. Apparently the band took offense to the fact that according to them, the song "sounds too much like us."

Okay you window-lickers, when the sound of your careers fading further off into the sunset subsides, listen closely...

IT'S A COVER! IT'S SUPPOSED TO SOUND LIKE YOU!

According to a statement from the band's lawyer, The Romantics felt the cover "infringed" on their "trademark sound" and wanted to "share in any "good commerce" generated by the game.

OK, I see, you want some money. That I understand.

The irony of this is that the same song is now the advertising jingle for Hampton Inns. In fact, it's been flogged all over the airwaves in several advertising campaigns for things like cleaning products and frozen desserts over the past two decades. However, when it's being used to shill window cleaner, it's really the Romantics performing, thereby leaving their integrity intact and their wallets a little fatter. That'll come in handy as they travel out to the brightly lit stages of their stellar career, like their upcoming shows at the St. Angela Merici School's 21st Annual SummerFest 2008 and the National Cherry Festival.

As I was marveling over this incident, I discovered that a judge threw the case out stating that Activision had acted within that law, and without ill will towards the band. I suspect an appeal is coming, as soon as they can whore that song out to Tampax or Quaker Oats and raise enough to pay their lawyer.

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