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Former Halo Composer Ordered to Pay Bungie Nearly $100,000

Marty O'Donnell was fired from Bungie in 2014.
Marty O'Donnell was fired from Bungie in 2014. / Photo courtesy of Bungie

Composer Marty O'Donnell, best known for crafting the scores for both Halo and Destiny, has been found in contempt of court for continuing to use Destiny assets after leaving the company. His uploading of Destiny song clips violated the terms of a previous lawsuit, per Eurogamer.

O'Donnell and Bungie parted ways in 2014, when he said he was fired "without cause." At the time, Activision served as publisher for Destiny, and it decided to use its own music for the game's E3 trailer. Bungie then decided not to use "Music of the Spheres," the musical companion O'Donnell and his partner Michael Salvatori had composed with Paul McCartney.

O'Donnell won a pair of lawsuits that resulted, but was forced to return "all material" from both Destiny and "Music of the Spheres." That included final scores, plus every version, component and variation.

Then, in 2019, O'Donnell started uploading versions of music from both Destiny and "Music of the Spheres" to his YouTube channel and Bandcamp page. A Bungie motion, quoted by Eurogamer, reads, "Mr. O'Donnell's very possession of such materials proves he did not comply with the order to return 'all material' to Bungie."

A judge ruled in Bungie's favor earlier this summer. O'Donnell was ordered to remove the offending material from the internet and make a post across his Twitter, YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages explaining he didn't have the authority to post the material, and asking anyone who downloaded the assets to destroy their copies. He is to return any money he received for the music.

The ruling also has O'Donnell on the hook for Bungie's legal fees, which Bungie reckons at nearly $100,000. O'Donnell's legal team is reportedly disputing that total.