Robert „Bobby” Prince, who composed the original soundtrack of Duke Nukem 3D, is suing Gearbox, its president Randy Pitchford, and Valve, Bloomberg reports. (And, since he’s a lawyer, he knows what to do…)
„In October 2016, Mr Prince learned that Gearbox was about to release a game called Duke Nukem 3D World Tour. Incredibly, the electronic files for the music within Duke Nukem 3D World Tour include text specifically stating that Mr Prince owns the copyright to the music and has reserved all rights to the music’s use. Yet Gearbox incorporated the music into the game without ever contacting Mr Prince and without clearing the rights expressly mentioned in the electronic files.
On October 6, 2016, before Gearbox released Duke Nukem 3D World Tour, Mr Prince provided his address to Mr Pitchford and informed him that Gearbox would need to send him royalties if it wanted to use Mr Prince’s music. Mr Pitchford said Mr Prince would be “taken care of.” Mr Pitchford’s promise was false when made. Before Mr Prince contacted Mr Pitchford, no one from Gearbox had attempted to contact Mr Prince regarding the use of his music, sound effects, or edited dialogue. Mr Pitchford began stringing Mr Prince along with promises that he would “do right” by Mr Prince and that Mr Prince would be “taken care of.” The promises were false when made.
Before Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing released the game, Mr Pitchford received a copy of the 1996 license between Apogee and Mr Prince. He thus knew that Mr Prince owned the rights to the music and that Apogee had to pay Mr Prince for its use of the music in prior versions of Duke Nukem games.
Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing released Duke Nukem 3D World Tour on October 11, 2016. The game included music composed by Mr Prince that is covered by his copyright registration and sound effects and edited dialogue created by Mr Prince. The electronic files for the music within Duke Nukem 3D World Tour include text specifically stating that Mr Prince owns the copyright to the music.
Eventually, Mr Pitchford directed Steve Gibson, the Head of Publishing at Gearbox Publishing, to make sure that Gearbox was “doing right” by Mr Prince. Despite receiving a direct order to “do right” by Mr Prince, Gearbox proceeded to distribute infringing copies of Duke Nukem 3D World Tour without obtaining a license and without compensating Mr Prince. During discussions with Mr Prince, Mr Pitchford and Mr Gibson acknowledged that Mr Prince owned the music he had composed for Duke Nukem 3D and that Gearbox used in Duke Nukem 3D World Tour. Mr Pitchford adopted the position that Gearbox had no license to use Mr Prince’s music. Mr Gibson acknowledged that Gearbox had no license to use Mr Prince’s music.
Upon information and belief, Gearbox did nothing to clear the rights to Mr Prince’s music before incorporating it into Duke Nukem 3D World Tour. Eventually, it became evident that Gearbox had no intention of paying Mr Prince for its use of his music. Mr Prince advised Gearbox that it could either pay him according to the terms of the original license for the music or remove his music from the game. Mr Pitchford and Gearbox did neither,” an excerpt of the complaints read.
Valve was taken to court because they continued to distribute Duke Nukem 3D World Tour even after Prince asked them to take the game down due to copyright infringement. So Randy Pitchford is in the crossfire, again…
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