A Bizarre Legal Battle Is Being Waged Over Metal Orange EX And Chip-Chan Kick's Soundtracks 1

When you're talking about all-time classic video game soundtracks, Metal Orange EX (X68000) and Chip-Chan Kick (PC-FX) might not seem like obvious candidates for a vinyl re-release, but these two games have been trust into the limelight thanks to a frankly bizarre legal battle over their ownership.

As detailed in this excellent post by gosokkyu, the soundtracks of these games – which include contributions from the legendary Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata – have been "illegally monetised and policed" by an individual called Yusup Dalmaz, a representative of MetroVG – a firm which apparently manages a catalogue of music penned by his father, who, it is claimed, was a resident in Japan in 1990s and wrote video game music under pseudonym.

According to gosokkyu, Dalmaz has been editing websites and wikis in order to falsify the ownership of countless pieces of music. "Dude was no criminal mastermind, preying exclusively on obscure tunes or whatever," he says. "He stole anything and everything, for the sake of streams with single-digit plays, and the vast majority of "his" music, which he'd routinely claim was from some Russian game you'd never heard of, or an arranged version of an unused track from an unreleased EU port of a game that doesn't exist, were tracks taken straight from, like, Bubble Bobble, and OutRun, with an echo filter on 'em."

Such blatant copyright plagiarism isn't a new thing in the world of VGM, but bizarrely, Dalmaz took things even further – he even approached the real creators of the music to tell them that they didn't actually write the songs, but they were, in fact, created by his father and they had no legal claim on them.

Shockingly, Dalmaz has successfully deployed DMCA claims in order to assert this ownership of the music, even going as far as to take down a YouTube video investigating his actions by Patbytes (which has thankfully been preserved here and is essential viewing).

Dalmaz's actions have triggered a response in the world of video game music. Many Japanese composers have little interest in safeguarding the music they produced decades ago, and this has been exploited by individuals like Dalmaz, who step in and monetize said soundtracks.

"People came to realise that no matter their personal position on commercialising their old work or whether there was any commercial demand for them to do so, they needed to be more vigilant about controlling their work," adds gosokkyu. "Because if they don't, there are plenty of vultures all around the world who'll do it for them and global copyright laws won't necessarily be on their side, and the next vulture's probably not going to be as incompetent as this one."

So, why are Metal Orange EX and Chip-Chan Kick making headlines? Well, Very OK Vinyl and Disc Union have just announced that they are collaborating with the true composers to release soundtracks for both games this year. These releases will enable the original artists to benefit from the commercial sale of the music they created.

This, as you can imagine, has triggered a predictable response from Dalmaz:

A Bizarre Legal Battle Is Being Waged Over Metal Orange EX And Chip-Chan Kick's Soundtracks 2
Image: @ydlmzSound

Naturally, we'll be keeping a close eye on this.

Let us know if you'll be supporting these legitimate releases by posting a comment below.

[source cohost.org]