Re-Recording of "What I Like About You" in Popular Game "Guitar Hero" Indistinguishable from Version Recorded by The Romantics

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Nationally recognized musicologist Anthony Ricigliano issues a report clearly illustrating the effort Activision, maker of the popular game "Guitar Hero", went to in imitating The Romantics version of "What I Like About You" contained in their game "Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s."

Nationally recognized musicologist Anthony Ricigliano of New York City issues a report disclosing the extent that Activision and WaveGroup undertook to purposefully copy The Romantics version of "What I Like About You".

"After listening to, examining and comparing these recordings (The Romantics Master owned by Sony and WaveGroup's master contained in the Guitar Hero game), I concluded that the Wave Group recording contains distinctive and significant similarities in both the vocal and instrumental parts demonstrating that Wave Group copied from the sound recording by The Romantics...(i)t is apparent that the vocalist on the Wave Group recording duplicated vocal pitches, lyrics, inflections/pronunciation found on The Romantics sound recording rather than the published score... When one listens to and compares the various lyric and musical elements of these recordings it is obvious that Wave Group has attempted to reproduce The Romantics sound recording."

Activision, creator of the popular game "Guitar Hero" applied for and was granted the license for the publishing from EMI for the popular song, giving Activision the right to make a cover or contract for the use of the Master. Papers submitted to the court by the defendant Gary Deutsch, the VP of Activision has admitted, "the license (publishing license issued by EMI) does not cover sound-alikes."

In the Fall of 2007, The Romantics filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan Case #07-14969 against Activision, Red Octane and Wave Group, for persona theft and palming off of their version of "What I Like About You" contained in their popular game "Guitar Hero - Rock's the '80's." The Romantics also applied for an injunction to stop sales of the game. The injunction, an extreme remedy in which the court must find that irreparable harm would come to the plaintiffs if not granted, was denied by Judge Nancy G. Edmunds in U.S. District Court in Michigan. The rest of the case however was allowed to move forward.

Activision was in the process of licensing the use of the Master recordings of many popular songs from the '80's when they decided instead to create sound-alikes using WaveGroup.

The judge, Nancy G. Edmunds confirmed she could not tell the difference between the WaveGroup recording and the original Master recorded by The Romantics.

In an interview with IGN.com on November 13, 2007 the CEO of Defendant WaveGroup, Will Littlejohn, stated that WaveGroup tries to, "make the songs as true to the originals as possible" and "(s)tylistically, we really (try) to capture the original players."

The recordings produced by WaveGroup are million unit sellers on i-Tunes.

It is expected that other established rock stars who have been victimized by this will be pursuing legal remedies.

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Kristen Parsons

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