It has been nearly 25 years since the release of Duke Nukem 3D and you would possibly be forgiven for thinking that if there was going to be any legal action, it likely would’ve been long concluded by now!
In a report via TechSpot, however, the composer of the game’s music has officially launched legal action against both Gearbox and Valve. Why though? Well, it gets a little complicated… What? You didn’t think a franchise as insane as this would have a simple explanation, did you?
So, what’s the problem? Well, it all boils down to the 20th-anniversary edition that was released in 2016. With the franchise now falling under the umbrella of Gearbox (following the semi-implosion at 3DRealms) the release reportedly didn’t see the music creator (Bobby Prince) receive any money or royalties. He does, however, take it a step further by saying that they didn’t even bother to ask for his permission.
The lawsuit states:
“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.”
Originally, Mr Prince had a deal with 3DRealms. Specifically, that he would get $1 for every unit sold as royalties for the use of his music. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me! With the franchise now being under the Gearbox umbrella, however, it’s unclear what the current state of that deal would be.
Mr Prince does, however, allege that he came to an informal agreement with Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford. Although he refused to remove the music from the re-release, he (allegedly) promised Mr Prince that he would be “taken care of”. Presumably in a financial sense rather than a mafia one. To date, however, nothing has apparently happened.
So, why is he also suing Valve? Surely they had nothing to do with this, right? Well, despite his many claims to get them to take the game down due to his perceived unlicensed use of his music, they are still retailing it on Steam.
The short version is, this is going to be messy. If you were, therefore, hoping to hear news on a new game from this franchise, this may well put a fly in the ointment for the time being.
What do you think? Can you see this one dragging out for a while? – Let us know in the comments!
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