Tommy Tallarico and the case of the Roblox Copyright Infringement Agreement May make you go “oof!”

by Jason Venter

Roblox is a phenomenon. Just ask any typical 10-year-old gamer who isn’t busy with Fortnite. Most of those kids probably don’t know much of anything about music/sound creator Tommy Tallarico. Yet. They may soon, however. That’s true thanks to an agreement Tallarico has reached with Roblox concerning the continued use of the “Oof!” sound effect he created.

As reported on VentureBeat, the prolific audio creator (and Intellivision Entertainment CEO) has been engaged in a dispute with Roblox over the use of an “Oof!” sound effect. The distinctive sound has appeared in a variety of user-generated games built within the community, and its use spread like wildfire. There’s one big problem: Tallarico never authorized its use.

The “Oof!” effect actually originates in the PC game Messiah, first released in 2000. Someone “borrowed” the effect, and other people kept borrowing it in kind without stopping to wonder whether they had the legal right. Given how copyright works, Tallarico couldn’t stay quiet about the matter once he discovered the infringement (unless he wanted to stop owning his own content). He entered talks with Roblox to find a resolution.

It now appears a resolution has been reached. The “oof!” sound will vanish from Roblox in the short term. Further out, it will be restored with a license fee of 100 Robux (about $1). Tallarico, now a Roblox developer himself, is offering four sound design libraries. The most expensive one costs $250.00 and includes 10,000 effects. “Oof!” (is one of them).

Complete terms of the agreement between Tallarico and Roblox are a secret to (almost) everyone, but it sounds like both sides have plenty of reason to be excited about the outcome. Tallarico will also make available exclusive “Oof!” merchandise in the official Roblox store on Amazon. It should arrive in time for your holiday shopping. Ho, ho… oof?

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