Online game platform Roblox has settled a copyright dispute with game creator Tommy Tallarico over the well-known ‘oof’ sound that has grown to be integral to the experience of the game.
Roblox will be temporarily suspending the ‘oof’ sound that occurs upon the death of characters in the game as a result of the dispute. The sound will be made available on the platform again at a price: game makers must license it from the creator of the sound, Tommy Tallarico, at the virtual currency of 100 Robux (approximately $1).
According to reports Roblox hosts nearly two million game makers and 150 million gamers on its platform.
Tommy Tallarico, the CEO of Intellivision Entertinment, is a renowed game sound producer who created the ‘oof’ sound for the game Messiah nearly 20 years ago. When it came to Tallarico’s attention that the same sound was used in Roblox games – thanks to social media posts – Tallarico did not sue but reached out to Roblox to reach an agreement.
Under the copyright settlement Tallarico will be creating multiple sound design instruments which will be made available to game makers on Roblox. The sounds will cost from $10 to $250.
In an interview with the BBC, Tallarico states:
‘It’s amazing to think that such a small sound I did over 20 years ago for a different video game ended up being one of the most iconic pop culture audio clips of the 21st century.’BBC (source)
Tallarico does not disclose details of a financial settlement with Roblox but praised Roblox for their handling of the dispute:
‘It was great that we were able to come to a resolution with Roblox and they were very accomodating of the situation.’BBC (source)
‘It’s kind of funny to think that out of all the things I’ve done over my 32 years in the video game industry… that for a new generation of video game players, I’m now just known as the Oof guy.BBC (source)
Roblox responded in a statement saying: ‘We worked together to find a fair resolution that allows Tommy to become part of the Roblox community. As part of our commitment towards UGC content, we will replace the platform’s default ‘game over’ sound effect with a new audio track later this month. When our Developer Marketplace is available, people will also be able to choose community created sounds for platform-wide events.’ (source)
The Roblox copyright dispute is an awakening to young individual game makers who may not be aware of infringing upon the works of others by utilising creations without thinking twice about the legalities of doing so.
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