Destiny's original composer Marty O'Donnell has been found in contempt of court for his usage of the game's assets, that he had uploaded to his YouTube channel and other platforms. Bungie served O'Donnell with papers in April 2014 this year, as he was ordered to return all material related to Destiny and Music of the Spheres--the foundation that the game's soundtrack was built on--as part of a 2015 injunction after he was fired from the company in April 2014.
O'Donnell originally won a settlement from Bungie and president Harold Ryan after filing a lawsuit over his dismissal, which he claimed then was done "without cause."
In 2019, O'Donnell began uploading that music and other materials to YouTube, as well as tracks and an album titled "Sketches for MotS" to Bandcamp that users could purchase from him according to Eurogamer.
"Mr. O'Donnell's very possession of such materials proves he did not comply with the order to return 'all material' to Bungie," Bungie's motion read. Bungie claimed that these actions added up to a contempt of court and a violation of the 2015 injunction, which the court agreed on.
"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," judge Regina Cahan of the Superior Court of Washington King explained in their ruling.
What does this mean for O'Donnell? Besides now owing Bungie all the money that he made from Bandcamp sales, he has been ordered to pay the studio's attorney fees, the costs associated with the third-party examination of his electronic devices, and "reasonable costs" associated with the contempt proceeding. Bungie is asking for $100,000 for this last point, a fee that O'Donnell's representatives are arguing against and calls unreasonable.
In addition to that, O'Donnell was also forced to remove all the relevant material from the internet, and inform third-party sites hosting that content to also delete it. Finally, he has 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."
Signs that O'Donnell had entered into a new dispute with Bungie first surfaced when he removed Destiny-related videos from his YouTube channel and deleted his Twitter account. O'Donnell restored his Twitter account in June, and cryptically tweeted that he was considering retiring from the video game industry and in a now-deleted reply as to why his YouTube channel had been shut down, O'Donnell wrote: "Ask [Bungie CEO] Pete Parsons."
The Halo composer later asked fans to consider buying the soundtrack to the 2019 PlayStation VR game Golem that he worked on at his new studio, Highwire Games, saying that the money raised would help him pay his "huge" legal bills. Highwire Games is currently working on the Iraq war game Six Days in Fallujah, which has generated plenty of controversy since it was announced.