Halo composers ‘amicably resolve’ lawsuit with Microsoft

The composers of the original Halo video game soundtracks, Martin O’Donnell and Mike Salvatori have “amicably resolved” their lawsuit with Microsoft over alleged unpaid royalties and the use of the soundtrack in Paramount’s Halo TV series.

In February, Eurogamer reported that the pair had threatened to delay the launch of the Halo live action series on Paramount+, with O’Donnell and Salvatori having filed a suit in a Washington court in 2020 regarding alleged unpaid royalties. Microsoft countered the lawsuit claiming that the music for Halo was composed on a work-for-hire basis, and that the music was owned by Microsoft.

A pre-trial date was set for May 9, but a March 24, 2022 filing with the US district court of Washington State indicates that there was a settlement between the parties, with no further action required. O’Donnell tweeted April 19 that the composers had “amicably resolved their differences” with Microsoft, accompanying the tweet with a video of guitar legend Steve Vai working with O’Donnell and others on the soundtrack to Halo 2.

Martin O’Donnell has had a litigious legal track record with regards to his music, including an acrimonious battle with Bungie over Destiny’s soundtrack. The composer suffered a legal and financial hit when he was declared in contempt of court for releasing Destiny-related music and unused tracks in his “Music of the Spheres” collection, in violation of the terms of a previous settlement with Bungie.

Halo lawsuit

O’Donnell is currently part of Highwire Games, working on the controversial shooter Six Days in Fallujah. Salvatori, on the other hand, continues a close working relationship with Bungie, having composed music for Destiny 2 and its expansions, and he is working on the soundtrack for the upcoming Destiny 2 expansion, Lightfall.