Duke Nukem composer sues Gearbox, Valve, and Randy Pitchford for copyright infringement 

Duke Nukem composer Bobby Prince is suing Gearbox, its CEO Randy Pitchford, and Valve for unpaid royalties they believe are due for music used in Duke Nukem 3D World Tour.

Though Prince was paid $1 for every copy sold of the original Duke Nukem 3D in 1996, Prince insists Apogee and Gearbox breached copyright laws with subsequent remasters as the publisher only had “limited rights” to use his work in 1996. Without permission, Prince insists he’s owed royalties and though Pitchford allegedly promised Prince he would “do right” and Prince “would be “taken care of”, the claim alleges Pitchford of “stringing Mr. Prince along” when he “proceeded to use the music without compensation and refused to remove the music from the game”. 

According to the lawsuit paperwork, Gearbox CEO Pitchford “knew of his companies’ copyright infringement” and “materially contributed to and induced the unlawful use of Mr. Prince’s copyrighted music”. It also accuses Pitchford’s conduct of being “willful, knowing, or at least reckless”. 

As for Valve? Prince says 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”. 

Prince is demanding a trial by jury and requests maximum damages per infringement, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as an injunction prohibiting Gearbox from infringing his copyrights again. 

Yesterday, we reported Troy Baker has opened up on why he didn’t reprise his role as Rhys in Borderlands 3. Initially, Pitchford told his followers on Twitter that he’d been “told by the audio director” that Baker had turned the role down, but the voice actor refuted this claim and insisted he would “love to come back” but “[Gearbox Software] said I’m not coming back”.

“So they came to me, and they were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’,” Baker said over the weekend. “Which I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And then they made it impossible for me to do the role. It had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with money. They just simply would not go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done. So then it was like, I never said no.”

When asked to clarify, Baker added: “It was simply a matter of they wouldn’t go union. And I can’t do a non-union gig. And without getting too deep into the weeds of that, we had long conversations about this. We always knew going into it, that this was going to be the thing. They were going to take these characters, and put them from the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale, into Borderlands proper. I’ve been waiting for this call. They were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yes’. They never, because they would never move from that position. I’m not mad. It’s invariably a completely different character, but it still stings.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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