In case you missed it earlier today, TechRaptor reported on the continuing saga surrounding the DMCAs associated with music creator Alex Mauer. As mentioned in that article, one game that has been affected by this is River City Ransom: Underground. It had been removed from Steam via a DMCA claim by Mauer on the game’s music. We had been awaiting a statement from Conatus (the developer) on the state of the game, and finally got it today in a Steam post with the game’s discussion forums.
Basically, Conatus has determined that the best course of action for River City Ransom: Underground is to commission an entirely new soundtrack and hope for a “clean break” from any negative associations with Alex Mauer’s wrongful claim. Conatus goes on record saying that their lawyers made it absolutely clear that Alex Mauer’s claim that the game violates her copyright is absolutely false. They go on to list the co-creators of the music: Mauer, Dino Lionetti, and Rich Vreeland, with Rich commonly known by his stage name, Disasterpeace. Conatus indicates that the written license agreement was made with Rich and that he sub-contracted Dino and Alex. They go on to say that Rich offered to pay Alex an equal share of the music fee for her contribution to the game’s soundtrack and that she was paid in full with her saying at the time “Oh that’s awesome man i’m all for it thanks!”.
Now, I had been in touch with Mauer trying to get answers out of her (which then abruptly stopped as I was told “Kotaku got it first”), but I did get Alex’s claim regarding this specific DMCA. She is indicating that there was no paperwork between herself and Disasterpeace. She does indicate that she filled out W9 and 1099 tax forms with Disasterpeace, and that those forms are un-usable in place of an actual document regarding ownership and permission.
Now, despite both sides seemingly saying the work is theirs, Conatus is going to remove the music entirely, citing that “being legally right is only half the story”. They are concerned that the costs of legal action would put console development on hold, and they don’t have an interest in spending their time or energy on the matter further.
What do you think about Mauer’s actions, and were you a fan of the RCR: Underground soundtrack before it’s removal?