So.....This Is Bad News, Right? (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, February 11, 2022, 16:36 (137 days ago) @ Vortech

I expect there is a lot of Work for Hire and employee work product issues here too, but yeah all of this is useless speculation without seeing the contracts.

The article has relevant info.

O'Donnell and Salvatori dispute this. "It was never work-for-hire," O'Donnell said. "It was always a licence deal. So that's what we did with Halo. With the first Halo music ever, that was written and recorded in 1999 for the first time. It was licensed to Bungie. Bungie didn't get bought by Microsoft for over a year."

"That's when that first new contract came in, where we were like, 'Yes, we will sign over the publishing rights and the copyright on this music for Halo to Microsoft.' However, I wanted to do it the way it's done in movies and television, where the composers are still ASCAP composers, and it's not a pure work-for-hire. There is a contract for any ancillary royalties - so use in commercials, use in anything outside the game, specifically, or sales of soundtracks.

O'Donnell said he and Salvatori have received royalties from Microsoft on a quarterly basis over the years, but the payments were not connected to accounting that showed, for example, how many units were sold, or any deals done.

The ongoing lawsuit is, according to O'Donnell, currently about working out exactly how much money is potentially owed before settling on a dollar amount for damages. It is not, O'Donnell insisted, a claim of ownership over the Halo music.


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