Harmonix stakeholders suing Viacom over Rock Band earnings

Harmonix founders and shareholders file for unpaid pay-outs

Former Harmonix shareholders are planning to take the developer's parent company, Viacom, to court over its alleged failure to make good on pay-outs based on the success of Harmonix's Rock Band franchise.

The suit was filed last week by former Harmonix stakeholders and company founders such as Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy. As detailed by Gamustra, the grievances stem from Viacom's acquisition of Harmonix in September 2006, wherein it agreed to pay Harmonix shareholders an allotted percentage of the gross profits made from the Rock Band series over the coming years based on a mutually agreed upon earn-out payment schedule. Now, four years later (and one month after Viacomannounced that it will be selling Harmonix), the shareholders are alleging that Viacom has held out on its share of monies owed and that the time has come to pay up.

According to a statement representing the plaintiffs: "[The shareholders seek to] recover damages arising from Viacom's manipulation of these earn-out payments by diverting opportunities from Harmonix for its own benefit in breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that inheres in Viacom’s contract with Harmonix."

In a nutshell, remember that scene in Spider-man where Peter Parker wrestles for an agreed upon rate based on his performance and then gets paid way less for his work by the manager? Well Harmonix is Peter Parker and Viacom is that manager; except that Viacom doesn't getganked by a random thug, thus setting off a chain of events whereby Harmonix becomes a superhuman vigilante.

Ok, so that's a terrible metaphor, but this issome strongegg nog.Full detailsof the lawsuit can be found at Gamustra.

Dec 20, 2010


“This morning's announcement does not affect the ongoing work at the studio,” says Harmonix

The Sergeant Pepper of music games


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