The composer behind the soundtrack for Duke Nukem 3D is here to kick ass and file lawsuits. And he’s not deprived of the latter. According to a report by Gamasutra, Bobby Prince, whose audio work also includes Wolfenstein 3D and Doom (1993), has filed a lawsuit against Gearbox, CEO Randy Pitchford, and Valve. In the lawsuit, Prince alleges that Gearbox used his music in a Duke Nukem 3D re-release without compensation or obtaining a license.
According to the suit, Gearbox’s publishing arm used Prince’s music in Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary World Tour. The company allegedly failed to obtain the license through proper channels. Additionally, company CEO Randy Pitchford knew Gearbox lacked the license but green-lit the re-release anyway. Gearbox didn’t remove any of Prince’s music before publication.
“Defendant, Randy Pitchford, the Chief Executive Officer of Gearbox, admitted that Mr. Prince created and owns the music and that Gearbox had no license,” reads the lawsuit. “Incredibly, Mr. Pitchford proceeded to use the music without compensation and refused to remove the music from the game.”
Gearbox knew it didn’t have the rights to Prince’s music but apparently didn’t care.
Valve is also named in the lawsuit. Prince is filing against the Steam platform owner for ignoring takedown notices. Valve continued to distribute the game thus, according to the lawsuit, “waiving any immunity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
The lawsuit states that Prince has owned the rights to 16 tracks in Duke Nukem 3D since 1996. Prince also created sound effects and had a hand in editing dialogue. The game’s original publisher, Apogee, sold the rights to the game to Gearbox in 2010. However, Apogee never owned the rights to the music.
Gearbox, and more specifically Pitchford, knew Prince still held the rights. Contacting Pitchford, Prince was told by the CEO that he would be “taken care of.” However, Prince received no notification from Gearbox or Pitchford over the use of his audio. Prince claims Pitchford was “stringing [him] along,” promising royalties that never came.