Popular US softdrink vendor, Dr Pepper, has landed itself in trouble over a publicity stunt in which it offered to give every American a free soft drink if Guns N’ Roses managed to release its long-awaited new album Chinese Democracy by the end of 2008.

The campaign was an unmitigated success in attracting attention for the brand but there was one slight catch – Guns N’ Roses had nothing to do with it!

Now the band’s lawyer Alan Gutman has taken Dr Pepper to task for a “shoddy” promotion he says fooled fans and ripped off the aging rock band’s image.

According to a report from Wired‘s website, when Dr Pepper’s servers crashed on Sunday after the GNR album went on sale and the giveaway commenced, the company decided to extend the registration.

Gutman claims that not only did Dr Pepper steal GNR’s intellectual property, the botched nature of the giveaway reflected poorly on the band.

He demanded that Dr Pepper extend the giveaway and print a full-page apology in several of the nation’s prominent newspapers. Of course, he also wants damages for Axl Rose and company in return for “the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property right.”

Anyone who goes to the site looking for their free softdrink due to Chinese Democracy being released is now greeted by the normal front page of DrPepper.com, which contains no mention of the giveaway.

Dr Pepper has yet to respond to GNR’s accusations, but at least if Chinese Democracy is flop then the band won’t have to worry where their money will come from.