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Duke Nukem 3D composer sues Randy Pitchford, Gearbox and Valve

(Image credit: Gearbox Publishing)

Composer Bobby Prince, who wrote music for Doom, Doom 2, Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem 3D, has filed a lawsuit against Gearbox Software, the company's chief executive Randy Pitchford, and Valve, claiming that his music was used in 2016 shooter Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour without his permission, and without him receiving compensation.

In a document submitted to U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee, Prince's attorneys described how 16 songs he wrote were used in 1996 shooter Duke Nukem 3D under an agreement with developer Apogee. "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," they said. Prince had registered the copyrights for the songs.

Gearbox Software purchased certain rights to the Duke Nukem games from Apogee in 2010. Prince claimed the company went on to use his music in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour, the 2016 update to the shooter, without his permission. "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," the court document read. "Yet Gearbox incorporated the music into the game without ever contacting Mr Prince and without clearing the rights expressly mentioned in the electronic files."

Furthermore, Prince claimed he contacted Randy Pitchford requesting royalties for the music in the 2016 game, and was told he would be "taken care of", but never received any money. Pitchford also "refused to remove the music from the game", Prince's attorneys said.

Prince also contacted Valve, he claimed, regarding the distribution of the game on Steam. "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," the document reads.

Gearbox Software, Gearbox Publishing, Randy Pitchford and Valve have been given 21 days to respond to the summons.