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Judge Might Toss Guitar Hero Case Against Local Game-Maker

Rock star Axl Rose accuses Santa Monica-based gaming company of reneging on deal involving Guitar Hero III game.

A judge said Thursday he is leaning toward dismissing what remains of Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose's lawsuit alleging Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc. broke a promise not to use images of ex-bandmate Slash or songs by the guitarist's new band in the "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock'" video game.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Palmer heard more than two hours of arguments concerning the lawsuit's contract claims before taking the case under submission.

Last August Palmer tossed out Rose's fraud and misrepresentation claims because they were filed too late, but spared the contract causes of action. Activision lawyers subsequently filed another dismissal motion.

Palmer said in Thursday's tentative ruling that he is now inclined to dismiss the rest of the case against the company on the same grounds. Palmer did not say when he would issue a final ruling.

If Rose's case survives dismissal, the trial is scheduled for June 3.

Rose's lawyer Geoffrey Neri said the singer agreed to allow the use of "Welcome to the Jungle" in the video game only if no images of the old GNR lineup or of Slash's subsequent band, Velvet Revolver, were used. Rose's court papers describe "Welcome to the Jungle" as a "highly renowned rock song of immense popularity regarded by fans and critics alike as one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time."

Rose, who has feuded with his former GNR bandmates for years, maintains he never approved of using Slash's image in the video game featuring the song. He expressed his objections through his lawyers during production, but Activision went forward anyway, according to his court papers.

"Guitar Hero III" has generated significantly more than $1 billion for Activision, according to the singer's lawsuit, filed in November 2010.

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