Another lawsuit is upon us because Microsoft is getting sued by the original composers of the Halo series after claims of unpaid royalty payments that date back 20 years. Marty O’Donnell and Mike Salvatori are the men behind the iconic music (we can all hear the soundtrack in our heads right now) and are behind the alleged claim about Microsoft’s disloyalty.
The two men were responsible for creating one of the most recognizable scores in gaming history, including the legendary “monk” chant (you know the one), which has become synonymous with the Halo franchise and has also become an internet sensation in the following years.
The lawsuit was first filed in June 2020 by the two men’s lawyers, with six causes of action against Microsoft that included a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference. In an interview with Eurogamer, O’Donnell claimed that he and Salvatori had been unsuccessfully trying to deal with the problem for the last 10 years, and enough was enough; they finally decided to take proper legal action.
What are the details of Microsoft getting sued?
The details of the claim are that O’Donnell and Salvatori are trying to argue that they have created and licensed the music for the Halo to franchise creator Bungie, all under the trade name of O’Donnell Salvatori Inc. As a result, Microsoft now owes them all these missed years of royalties – which would equate to a pretty generous sum as well.
Microsoft has spoken out and claimed that the soundtrack was created under a “work-for-hire” agreement, and because of this, they qualify as the author of the work. The claim is debunked by O’Donnell, who said,
“It was never work-for-hire, it was always a licensing deal, and that’s what we did with Halo. The original Halo music was written and recorded in 1999 for the first time, and it was licensed to Bungie, who didn’t get bought by Microsoft until the following year.”
He went on to say, “At the time, the Halo music was still owned by O’Donnell Salvatori Incorporated and licensed to Bungie, so their counterclaim is completely wrong.”
Microsoft getting sued by the original composers of the Halo series is looking likely to heat up, and we here at The Nerd Stash will be ready to report any updated news as soon as we get it. Keep an eye on this one as it develops.