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Gearbox and Valve are being sued by Duke Nukem 3D’s composer

A document filed alleges that music was used in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour without the composer's permission

The composer behind Doom, Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, and Wolfenstein 3D music is suing developer Gearbox Software, its CEO, and Valve. Bobby Prince filed a lawsuit late last week in which Gearbox, Randy Pitchford, and Valve Corporation are named as defendants – the suit alleges that Prince’s music was used in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour without a license, and that he didn’t receive compensation.

The document (via PCGamer), filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee Northern Division, claims that Gearbox allegedly used Prince’s music in the 2016 Duke Nukem title “without obtaining a license and without compensating Mr. Prince.” It also alleges that “Defendant, Randy Pitchford, the Chief Executive Officer of Gearbox, admitted that Mr. Prince created and owns the music and that Gearbox had no license” and “proceeded to use the music without compensation and refused to remove the music from the game.”

In the document it is also claimed that Valve, owner of videogame platform Steam, “distributed infringing copies” of Prince’s music, despite knowledge of Prince’s copyright ownership, and “ignored a takedown notice.”

The document refers to 16 songs that Prince composed for Duke Nukem 3D, released in 1996, which Apogee Software had “a limited right to use” in the game, in return for $1 royalties for every copy of the title sold. It appears that rights to the music were not included in the Duke Nukem property acquired by Gearbox in 2010.

Allegedly, the electronic song files in the Duke Nukem 3D World Tour title “include text specifically stating that Mr. Prince owns the copyright to the music and has reserved all rights to the music’s use,” but that Gearbox “incorporated the music into the game without ever contacting Mr. Prince and without clearing the rights expressly mentioned in the electronic files.”

The document states that Prince has requested a trial by jury, and is seeking “an award of maximum statutory damages per infringement” or “actual damages and Defendants’ profits, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.”

We have reached out to Gearbox and Valve and will update the story with any new information.