Game composer Bobby Prince has filed a lawsuit over unlawful usage of his work in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour.
Directed towards Gearbox Software, Valve, and Randy Pitchford, the lawsuit concerns using Prince’s music in the World Tour re-release without having received permission for it. Bobby Prince is the acclaimed composer behind Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Duke Nukem 3D, so you better believe he’s going to make his voice heard. As the suit states, the composer wasn’t paid for his work in the 2016 re-release, which is in breach of the contract he had signed with Apogee Software in 2010.
“Apogee had a limited right to use Mr. Prince’s music in Duke Nukem 3D in exchange for a royalty equal to $1 per unit sold,” says Prince’s attorneys in documents submitted to the U.S. District Court of Eastern Tennessee. While Gearbox Software had purchased distribution rights for Duke Nukem in 2010 from Apogee, apparently that didn’t contain the use of Prince’s work.
As the court document reads, “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.”
Prince states he has contacted Pitchford to request royalties and was told he would be “taken care of,” but has still not received any profit from the re-release. According to Prince’s attorneys, Pitchford has also “refused to remove the music from the game” after numerous requests.
Valve, on the other hand, is being sued for its refusal to remove Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour from sale. As the document notes, “Valve ignored a takedown notice, thus waiving any immunity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and continued distributing infringing copies of the music despite knowing that Mr. Prince owned the copyrights in the music.”
You can read the full details of the Bobby Prince lawsuit over on the Bloomberg Law website. As noted in the documents, Gearbox Software, Gearbox Publishing, Valve, and Randy Pitchford have been given 21 days to respond to the summons, so we’ll be hearing more about this soon.