Former Bungie composer found in contempt of court for using ‘Destiny’ assets

The music was posted to the composer’s YouTube channel

Composer Marty O’Donnell has been found in contempt of court after publishing numerous early “musical sketches” of what became Music of the Spheres – the foundation of Destiny.

O’Donnell, who also created the original Halo music, parted ways with Bungie in 2014 and was ordered to return all material related to Music of the Spheres and Destiny – blocked by an injunction in 2015 from sharing or performing it.

This injunction was reportedly part of a lawsuit upon O’Donnell’s exit from the company, and although O’Donnell eventually won his case, the terms seem to have come back to bit him.

Advertisement

Bungie said that “all material” in this case includes not just Music of the Spheres in its final state, but all versions, components and variations of the tracks – everything involved in any way in the creation of Music of the Spheres and Destiny.

But in 2019, O’Donnell began sharing videos and other material related to Music of the Sphere and Destiny to his YouTube channel.

“Mr. O’Donnell’s very possession of such materials proves he did not comply with the order to return ‘all material’ to Bungie,” reads the official motion (via Eurogamer). They also note that O’Donnell posted tracks and an album titled “Sketches for MotS” to Bandcamp, where users could optionally pay him a fee.

Bungie argued that these actions constituted contempt of court – a clear violation of the earlier injunction issues in 2015. On July 12, Judge Regina Cahan of the Superior Court of Washington King County agreed:

“Mr. O’Donnell intentionally disobeyed, and is hereby held in contempt of, the September 17, 2015 order confirming and enforcing final arbitration award (the “Order”) entered in this Matter.”

Now, it looks as though O’Donnell is liable for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well as the court imposing several sanctions on him. This includes a third-party forensic examination of his electronic devices to delete any assets relating to Destiny or Music of the Spheres.

Advertisement

O’Donnell was also ordered to remove any relevant material for the internet, although he has already done this. He has also been ordered to “post a message, the wording of which the parties agree to, on his Twitter, YouTube, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud sites/channels stating that he did not have legal authority to possessor provide material related to Music of the Spheres or Destiny and asking anyone who previously downloaded any such assets to delete them and refrain from sharing and will destroy any copies of them.”

“Mr. O’Donnell will refrain from making any direct or indirect public comment regarding these posts, including responses to those inquiring regarding basis for such posts, and will let the message speak for itself.”

At the moment, O’Donnell has not yet done this.

O’Donnell must also pay Bungie all the money he has received from the sale of related materials which he uploaded to Bandcamp, as well as “reasonable costs” associated with the contempt proceeding. This includes attorney’s fees, as well as fees associated with the third-party examination of his electronic devices.

However, these fees are currently in dispute – Bungie is claiming near $100,000 in costs, whereas O’Donnell’s representatives argue that this is unreasonable.

Either way, it looks as though O’Donnell is forced to raise as much money as he can to pay Bungie’s significant legal fees. On June 4, O’Donnell tweeted to ask his followers to consider buying the soundtrack to Golem – a 2019 PlayStation VR game he worked on.

“The money will help with my huge legal bills,” he said. “Thank you.”

Meanwhile, eFootball is getting a £30 DLC which players can’t use until at least two months after the game launches.

Advertisement
Advertisement