A federal judge in Los Angeles yesterday (March 15) cleared the way for Geffen Records to release a greatest hits album next week from Guns N' Roses, despite the objection of lead singer Axl Rose and

A federal judge in Los Angeles yesterday (March 15) cleared the way for Geffen Records to release a greatest hits album next week from Guns N' Roses, despite the objection of lead singer Axl Rose and former members Slash and Duff McKagan.

As reported yesterday, the artists are suing Geffen to prevent the March 23 release of "Greatest Hits," claiming they were not consulted on the song choices or remixing of material for the album.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer denied their request for a temporary restraining order, allowing Geffen to issue the album as planned. A hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction was set for next month.

"Their lawsuit is meritless," Universal Music spokesman Peter LoFrumento said. "Fortunately, since the court has denied their application for a temporary restraining order, the album will be released as scheduled on March 23."

The suit, which accuses Geffen of trademark infringement and breach of contract, says the label is barred under its contract with Guns N' Roses from altering its master recordings without the band's permission.

A statement from Rose's management at Sanctuary Group claimed the greatest-hits set "will hinder the release of the band's long-awaited new studio album, 'Chinese Democracy."'

Geffen officials had no further comment on the dispute. But a source familiar with the situation said the label has been waiting seven years for Rose to deliver "Chinese Democracy" and has poured $13 million into production of that album after repeated promises that he was about to finish the project.

"Every year there's been a new reason why Axl is not done with the record," the source said, adding that Geffen went ahead with the greatest-hits package only because Rose failed to come through with "Chinese Democracy." "Had he delivered this record like he promised seven years ago, this would not be happening right now."

A representative for Rose was not immediately available for comment.

--Reuters