Two days ago, the video game composer Bobby Prince filed a lawsuit against Gearbox Software, the chief executive Randy Pitchford, as well as Valve for allegedly using his music in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Tour without his permission or compensation of any sort. PC Gamer first reported on the suit in which a document that was submitted to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Tennessee. Bobby Prince’s attorneys allege that 16 songs used in Duke Nukem 3D were done under an arrangement with the developer Apogee. The lawyers stated that, “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,”. According to the lawyers, Bobby Prince had registered the copyrights for the songs.
Back in 2010, Gearbox Software purchased some of the rights to the Duke Nukem series from Apogee. Bobby Prince alleges that Gearbox used his music in the Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour which was released in 2016, without his permission. The court document read that, “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” it then goes on to allege that, “Yet Gearbox incorporated the music into the game without ever contacting Mr Prince and without clearing the rights expressly mentioned in the electronic files.” Bobby Prince also claims that he had contacted Randy Pitchford in 2016 asking for royalties for the music. He claims that Randy Pitchord stated it would be “taken care of”. But Bobby Prince claims he hasn’t been paid. According to Bobby Prince’s attorney, the chief executive of Gearbox Software “refused to remove the music from the game”.
Bobby Prince also claims he contacted Valve about the distribution of the game on Steam and issued a takedown notice on February 8th, 2018 that was ignored. The document alleges that, “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”. According to Polygon, Prince is seeking “actual damages” and Gearbox’s profits, as well as attorney’s fees and “an injunction prohibiting [Gearbox and Valve] from infringing his copyrights.” Little more is known about the suit at the moment but more information will likely come to light as time passes.