Halo's original music composers are suing Microsoft over unpaid royalties

jsilva

Posts: 325   +2
In brief: The creators of the original music used on the Halo games developed by Bungie are suing Microsoft over unpaid royalties dating back to the original game's release. If both parties can't reach an agreement, the case may go to court, but even worse is that the Halo TV show may get canceled with a preliminary injunction.

Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori are the minds behind Halo's iconic soundtrack, including the "monk" chant and the "der der der der" refrain. Their work is well known in the Halo community and have been used in various Halo products. However, the composers affirm Microsoft is misusing them by not paying royalties they're due for 20 years.

Both composers claim Bungie licensed the music for the first three Halo games. However, the Redmont-based company acquired the studio in 2001. Back then, O'Donnell was still the audio director at Bungie, while Salvatori worked for the developer as an independent contractor, working for the O'Donnell Salvatori Inc. (Salvatori also worked there).

The composers tried to discuss the matter with Microsoft before formally accusing the company. On one side, Microsoft claims the music team created the Halo music under a work-for-hire agreement, which makes the tech giant the author of the work under the eyes of the law. On the other, the composers stated it was always a licensing deal.

Despite the lawsuit, O'Donnell and Salvatori aren't trying to claim credit for the music piece. Instead, they are charging Microsoft for not paying 20 years' worth of royalties. In summary, they're accusing the tech giant of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty to develop the royalty income in a joint venture, breach of duty to act in good faith and fair dealing, failure to provide an accounting partnership, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference.

Both parties have a mediation scheduled for next week, where they will try to reach an agreement. If they fail, the case might go to court.

In addition, the composers are planning to instruct lawyers to explore the possibility of blocking the debut of the Halo TV show via a preliminary injunction. The 10-episode series, scheduled to launch on Paramount+ March 24, might be delayed or canceled.

Permalink to story.

 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,421
MS have completely ruined Halo, its a nothing franchise these days. Halo Infinite destroyed the original formula in exchange for an open world mechanic nobody asked for. 343 emphatically cannot make a good Halo game. I know Bungie didn’t want to make anymore but they could have done a lot better than 343 clearly.

Makes you wonder what MS are doing with their other IP, they are slowly ruining Minecraft and I have no idea what they think they will be able to do with COD and Diablo etc.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,360   +5,586
Mary and MS have been feuding for decades. MS HATED the idea of opening halo 3's e3 video with piano. Marty insisted, and most woudl agree it was a legendary reveal trailer.

If marty has that contract signed, this should be open and shut. If he doesnt, then he may be joiing the ranks of artists peeved the work they made decades ago is no longer printing them money and in the middle of kicking themselves decide to use lawyers to get blood from a stone.
MS have completely ruined Halo, its a nothing franchise these days. Halo Infinite destroyed the original formula in exchange for an open world mechanic nobody asked for. 343 emphatically cannot make a good Halo game. I know Bungie didn’t want to make anymore but they could have done a lot better than 343 clearly.

Makes you wonder what MS are doing with their other IP, they are slowly ruining Minecraft and I have no idea what they think they will be able to do with COD and Diablo etc.
They'll become pay2play full prices games with macrotransactions and microtransactions sprinkled everywhere, just like halo.

Not tha tI would care. CoD and Diablo are both zombie franchises. Anyone dumping money into them deserves whatever they get from MS, wether it be overpriced skins or a rear end surprise.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,887   +3,695
TechSpot Elite
I would assume it was a basic work-for-hire type of agreement (they retain no rights). Which is pretty common for composers (and other part-time jobs like it), and I don't see MS fumbling that sort of contract.

Right now it just seems like they're just looking for a payday (by having MS quietly pay them before trial), especially considering the timespan. And considering Marty's recent legal troubles, it would be even less surprising.
 
Last edited: