Viacom just can’t catch a break legally. Not only are they embroiled in an ongoing legal battle over whether YouTube is infringing on their copyright, but now they’re being sued themselves by the former owners of Rock Band over hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of royalties – twice. Even as a lawsuit over money owed to former shareholders of Rock Band creators Harmonix after Viacom’s 2006 purchase of the company goes to arbitration, Viacom faces a second lawsuit, this time brought by a proxy for the original Harmonix owners.
The bone of contention for both lawsuits seems to be Viacom’s recalculation of Rock Band‘s true worth; Viacom, which has failed to make profit from the game thanks to increased production costs and falling sales, is actually trying to sell the franchise and claims that it is actually owed refunds on performance payments it has previously paid thanks to the underperformance of the franchise. The lawsuits against Viacom allege that the company not only still owes hundreds of millions of dollars in performance payments, but that it also held back $12 million of the original purchase payment unfairly.
Unsurprisingly, Viacom claims that the lawsuits are attempts to rewrite initial contracts, and promises to “defend this [lawsuit] vigorously.”
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