In the wake of Courtney Love's bombastic vitriol over the appearance of her late husband in Guitar Hero 5, Activision tells Kotaku that she was the one who signed the agreement for the deal.
"Guitar Hero secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain's likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5," Activision told Kotaku today.
Last night Love posted on her Twitter account that she and Cobain's Estate were going to sue "the shit out of Activision". She went on to write: "For the record this Guitar Hero shit is breach of contract on a Bullys part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction."
Later that night Love added that while she had looked at an avatar for Cobain, she had asked the developers to "show her a better avatar, to drag my heels," adding that she never intended to allow Cobain to appear in the game.
We've contacted Love's personal manager and the agency who handles her interviews, but have not yet heard back.
While neither Krist Novoselic nor Dave Grohl, the two surviving members of Nirvana, have any say in the usage of Kurt Cobain's likeness, the two released a joint statement:
This is a statement regarding Nirvana, Guitar Hero and the likeness of the late Kurt Cobain.
We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate - we have no control whatsoever in that area.
While we were aware of Kurt's image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character. This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in "re-locking" Kurt's character so that this won't continue in the future.
It's hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists' music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better.
Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl