Original Halo Composers Sue Microsoft for 20-Year Unpaid Copyright

Marty O’donnell and Mike Salvatori, original composers of Halo, have sued Microsoft. The reason is a series of non-payments for copyrights which Eurogamer.net has echoed.


Both musicians created the iconic Halo BSO used by Bungie in the games of the saga and on more Halo products. They claim that Microsoft still owes them money on a series of copyrights for 20 years.


O’Donnell has told the outlet that he and his partner Salvatori filed the lawsuit in June 2020 after going 10 years without progress in negotiations with Microsoft on this.


Both claim that they licensed the Halo music to the original developer, Bungie >. But this was acquired by Microsoft prior to the franchise’s launch in 2001.

At the time of the acquisition, O’Donnell became a full-time employee of Bungie as the studio’s audio director.

For his part, Salvatori continued to work independently at O’Donnell Salvatori Inc, both of them. Interestingly, O’Donnell was also still a part of that project.

Microsoft claims that the music for Halo was created under a work-for-hire agreement and not a license. Therefore, everything remains as such because he is the author of that work.

It was never a commissioned work “, O’Donnell states emphatically as can be read in VGC. “It was always commissioned as a license agreement.”

O’Donnell says the lawsuit is not about him and Salvatori trying to own the rights of the Halo music. The only thing they ask for is that they be paid the royalties they have been owed all these years.

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The lawsuit accuses Microsoft of breach of contract, fiduciary duty to develop royalty income in a joint venture, breach of the obligation to act in good faith and in equitable conditions, failure to comply with the accounting association , unjust enrichment and tortious interference.

In the event that both companies do not reach an agreement during mediation, scheduled for next week, the case could end up in court.

The report reveals in passing that the composers’ legal team is studying whether they can grant an injunction to block the release of Halo: The Series. They recently announced its release date (in the US).

Marty O’Donnell recently requested that the music he published without Bungie’s permission be destroyed and these types of cases have a history that is very favorable to O’Donnell .

In June 2014 he sued Bungie for non-payment and a month later he had already won his lawsuit. Meanwhile, we propose a plan to de-stress a little between lawsuits:

The story of Halo, the great Xbox exclusive with which Microsoft infuriated Steve Jobs