Harmonix files, promptly withdraws suit against Activision

Rock Band studio sues publisher over Guitar Hero III royalties, but drops suit a day later in favor of out-of-court negotiations.

Viacom-owned Harmonix Music Systems on Monday filed a lawsuit at the California Superior Court in Los Angeles claiming that Activision owes it some $14.5 million, reports Variety. In a very quick turnaround, by Tuesday, it had withdrawn the suit and decided to discuss it all in a civilized manner outside of court instead.

The suit alleges that Activision has paid Harmonix the wrong royalty rate for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The first rate, which is half of the higher rate, should be paid if a Guitar Hero game is made from scratch and the higher rate if a game "incorporates, uses, or is derived from Harmonix property."

Harmonix created the original Guitar Hero game for RedOctane, which was bought out by Activision in 2006. Harmonix was acquired by Viacom's MTV Networks in 2006 and has recently released Rock Band, which features drums and vocals, as well as guitars.

In February, Activision touted the Guitar Hero franchise as having sold more than 14 million copies in North America alone, with Guitar Hero III alone accruing more than 5 million songs downloaded. Harmonix's maiden effort with the Rock Band franchise has been no slouch itself, going platinum in January and claiming 2.5 million songs downloaded.

However, Harmonix reckons it's owed some $14.5 million in extra royalties for Guitar Hero III and also points out that it hasn't seen any royalties from song downloads, in-game advertising, or any "ancillary products."

Activision's lawyer, general counsel George Rose countered by saying, "Activision believes it has made sufficient payments to Harmonix and the claims otherwise do not have merit."

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Discussion

59 comments
Brainy142
Brainy142

they should STFU and fix the wii version and work on getting us more songs :P

ItsRichie
ItsRichie

well... rock band wii will be a must buy

Eldridge00
Eldridge00

Good for Harmonix, i hope they put a little fear in Activisions eyes with this. This is what Activision deserves for their half assed commitment to GH3

NintendoWarrior
NintendoWarrior

lol..... Activision are sellouts for releasing Guitar Hero: Aerosmith? lol did everyone forget rock the 80's, also GH3 has loads of free DLC and they paid for famous guitarists and guitars, which nearly balances out the ingame ads calm down guys, its not EA, its Activision, they published that game you all worship: COD 4

doobist
doobist

...still waiting for a PS3 patch so I can use GH3 guitar on RB.....

oblivion_blaze
oblivion_blaze

to Reaper1117: didnt activision help make call of duty 4?

Reaper1117
Reaper1117

Activision hasn't made a good game since........... (insert name of game here because I can't think of any.)

Choquette
Choquette

I think Activision s*cks bad time, cause they ruined a perfect game called ''Guitar Hero 3'' Harmonix had better ideas with Guitar hero 2, It didnt look great but man It didnt lag has hell. It didnt have bugs like when they lunched GH3. And for a game Called GH3 the game GH2 and Gh1 and the Guitar should work with it! Anyway thats my Opinion!

ewmgreendawg
ewmgreendawg

I fully support anybody trying to sue activision. They ruined skateboarding games and now their trying to steal the control system from EA's SKATE for their next tony hawk title. everybody i know who has GH3 has had their guitar break, the song downloads are limited and expensive, the in-game advertising is lame as hell.... i can go on all day.

NeleNel
NeleNel

In court, out of court, it all comes down to money no matter how you look at it.

Maximo03
Maximo03

I hate people who say RB is better than GH. Opinions like that are not acceptable in an article that's about the companies suing each other. If you're going to post on the page with an article, then comment about the article, not your own stubborn opinions.

_Horde
_Horde

Respect to Harmonix for choosing to discuss it outside of the court.

Tylendal
Tylendal

This actually sounds justifiable for once.

gmagnus
gmagnus

This isn't greed; Harmonix is just saying they got short-changed, that Activision didn't pay them the agreed upon amount. They didn't just make up something crazy to sue them for. They even changed their minds about suing them THE NEXT DAY and they're gonna talk it out.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

harmonix sold the guitar hero franchise.... they need to let it go

cckcmain
cckcmain

What a fight this whole franchise has been. Reminds me of the early days of 2D fighting games.

troopershades
troopershades

i need to become a lawyer....sweet jeebus... next on the docket... Fatass sues Major League Eating game for the wii cuz it made him more fat from eating.

ChuckNorris82
ChuckNorris82

HAHA!!! TAKE THAT HARMONIX!!!! WOOO!!!!! "xblane" I know man what ever happend to that good o'l gaming....and "Muppetguy21" that.....would.....be.....AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rockstar_88
rockstar_88

It's quite ironic that every time Guitar Hero and Rock Band are mentioned, EA and Activision's respective roles as greedy corporations get switched around. Normally when franchises are milked to no end, fingers are usually pointed at EA Games, while Activision gets treated with respect for putting out high quality games. But Guitar Hero is being milked to no end since Encore, and Rock Band has focused its franchise entirely on its one copy of its game through weekly downloadable content.

xblane
xblane

It use to be about the games man ;)

leimeisei
leimeisei

Activision is ruining Guitar Hero. With their new plan to focus the games on one artist at a time and release them like every 3 or 4 months is a really stupid Idea. Meanwhile, Activision has released like, what.. 12 or 13 songs as addons for Guitar Hero 3. Greedy. On the other hand, you have Rock Band, which has AT LEAST 3 new downloadable songs per week. They're at like 70 songs or something like that now, arent they? Rock band FTW.

gnbfd
gnbfd

I know a way to settle this... BATTLE MODE!!!! wait, Rock Band doesn't have battle lol. GHIII ftw

Muppetguy21
Muppetguy21

I think a battle of the bands would solve this!

haesuse
haesuse

man considering that there are multiple sequels and now a spin-off to GH and more to come, i'd throw in another 10 mil or so just for a good measure to say thanks, not stiff the guys. man, is everyone turning EA these days o.0

yinyang3
yinyang3

When is Konami going to sue?

CaptCheeseGuy
CaptCheeseGuy

C'mon Activision - Harmonix developed a fantastic franchise for you guys. The least you can do is pay them what's due.

puablo
puablo

Out of court settlement: patches to support each others' guitars. We could only hope.

vf21x
vf21x

Somebody is being greedy somewhere.........

Killer2401
Killer2401

If they have yet to give Harmonix the money, then they should. If Harmonix is meritless, then they should explail why.

Obliterati
Obliterati

There's only one way to settle this. Corporate Lawyer Rock Battle TO THE DEATH!!

Dan2002sk8er
Dan2002sk8er

GH3 sucked compared to Rock Band anyway. RB is way more fun has better songs better DLC. Yes my first guitar didn't work but After EA sent me my new one it works great. But on the PS3 at least the GH3 guitar didn't work at all it would lag at different rates so I couldn't calibrate it because it would change plus the Fret mapping was atrocious. After GH1 and 2 and Rock Band I can't see why anyone would want GH3 I traded my copy in for Devil May Cry 4 and couldn't be Happier.

donnyslingblade
donnyslingblade

We should sue Harmonix, EA and who ever else is involved with making those crappy instruments that we have to keep sending back. I have never had a problem with the drums, but I am on my fourth guitar now and this one I have to send back after one day. The customer service is great for sending stuff back, but now it's tireing and pointless to get a guitar that is going to do the same thing. On top of that!!! I can't use another guitar that I have due to two companies that. Not only are jerks to eachother, but in turn are ultametly jerks to the gamers in the end. I love both games, both companies, but I am tired of all the BS. Can't get a patch, having to send crap back all the time. As much fun as the games are. I am about to the point that if anything new comes out from both I won't buy at all.

ghost867
ghost867

Um.... okay? Can I just get my cross game instrument patch now?

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

money money money, wow, who would have thought

WhiteSnake5000
WhiteSnake5000

Did it really take you 5 minutes to read just that?

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

So is Viacoms lawyers the same people that watch MTV? It seems really really dumb that any company would file for a law suit, and then change their mind a day or 2 later. Looks like MTV wants even more money, on top of the billions they generate already. MTV sucks, luckily they didn't butcher Rock Band, great game, but man when it comes to rockin'...the boys at Activision know how to ROCK!!!!

decoy1978
decoy1978

I find this funny considering it was Activision who told Harmonix that they need more money to release the PS3 patch to make GH3 compatible to RB. I think this situation wouldn't have degenerated if Activision just OK'd the patch to begin with and both sides would be happy.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

I think for looking at the stinkin ads all day i deserve some royalty ... i dished out 80$ for the game ... now give me my money for all the bleeding eye soreness i had to look at ...

GreenC4T
GreenC4T

Hopefully they do bring a patch for the PS3 ;)

illusivemcsorly
illusivemcsorly

Look forward to the day when Rock Band is released in Europe. Maybe late 2009 if we're lucky?

Theman3788
Theman3788

dmish82 Anyone smell a certain little PS3 Rock Band patch coming??? Thats genius actually.

dmish82
dmish82

Anyone smell a certain little PS3 Rock Band patch coming???

Colsworl
Colsworl

Harmonix: "We are going to file a lawsuit against you" Activision: Rep opens briefcase Harmonix: "ok lets talk"

bd0g5
bd0g5

so when will the GH3 controller be compatible with rock band again?