Harmonix suing Viacom

Viacom’s sale of Rock Band developer Harmonix just got ugly; the devs are fighting back with a lawsuit. According to an ex-shareholders group, Viacom avoided paying the team performance related payouts by manipulating costs.

Apparently, Harmonix should have received 3.5 times any gross profit in excess of $32 million earned in 2007. The 2008 payment is similar, only gross profit rising to $45 million.

That’s where the problem comes in though, as Viacom supposedly “diverted opportunities” from Harmonix to get out of payment. For every $1 Viacom saved in their distribution deal with EA Partners, they’d have to pay $3.50 to ex-shareholders, so they (apparently) worked around it.

We’ll have to keep our eyes on this (fairly confusing) story. Is there any ground beneath the shareholders claims?