For all you legal beagle, there was an important court decision today.

Reported in Engadget:
The US District Court for the Central District of California just ruled that Guitar Hero doesn't infringe Gibson's goofy patent on "simulating a musical performance." Just as we thought, the case more or less turned on whether Guitar Hero controllers are actually "musical instruments," and not surprisingly, the court said they're not -- it called them "toys that represent other items." What's more, the court also found that Gibson's patent only applies to devices which output analog audio signals and not MIDI signals or other types of control signals, so it's looking like other rhythm game developers are in the clear for now. We're guessing this also means Gibson's similar lawsuit against Harmonix for Rock Band is on hold while the company decide whether or not to appeal -- let's hope it decides this nonsense isn't worth it.
This makes sense. The MIDI controller in and of itself is not an instrument. It is the combination of elements - controller, software and other hardware - that makes a "musical instruments". It is interesting that the court found Gibson's patent does not apply to MIDI signals.

All you Guitar Hero rockers can wail with a clear conscious