Anti-Piracy Group Caught Pirating Song For Anti-Piracy Ad... Corruption Scandal Erupts In Response

from the wow dept

The Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN is one of the most aggressive of the anti-piracy groups out there. So there's some amusement in watching as it gets caught up in a scandal that started when it pirated music for an anti-piracy campaign. BREIN had asked musician Melchoir Rietveldt to compose a song for a video that was only to be used at a local film festival. The terms of the deal were strict: the song was only for that one anti-piracy video at that one film festival. However, Rietveldt later discovered that the anti-piracy ad was being used all over the place -- a fact he discovered when he bought a Harry Potter DVD and noticed the video... with his music.

After determining that the music had been used tens of millions of times in such an unauthorized manner, he contacted the local music collection agency, Buma/Stemra, asking them to seek somewhere around $1.3 million owed from BREIN. Buma/Stemra ignored him. Eventually, however, apparently a Buma/Stemra board member, Jochem Gerrits, reached out, and said he could help Rietveldt get paid... but with some questionable conditions. According to TorrentFreak:
In order for the deal to work out the composer had to assign the track in question to the music publishing catalogue of the Gerrits, who owns High Fashion Music. In addition to this, the music boss demanded 33% of all the money set to be recouped as a result of his efforts.

The conversation between Gerrits and the composer’s financial advisor was recorded by Pownews, and during the conversation the financial advisor confronts Gerrits with his unconventional proposal.

“Why do you have to earn money?” he asks, as usually all of the money goes directly to the artists.

“It could be because a lot of people in the industry know that they are in trouble when I get involved,” Gerrits responds, adding that he can bring up the topic immediately in a board meeting next week.

Once again trying to find confirmation for the proposal, the composer’s advisor later asks if the music boss indeed wants one-third of the money.

“Yes, that’s the case, but then [the composer] would make 660,000 euros and now he has nothing,” Gerrits responds calmly.
This is apparently making news across the Netherlands, and Gerrits has resigned. As for BREIN, it's insisting that the whole thing is "a contractual issue" and that it is "not involved."

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: No, the hypocrisy is pro-pirates gleefully ruling out "free"!

    IANAL... but while you may 'feel' that contract law is stronger and he has more options, last time I checked there was no 'statutory fine' of $150,000 (3x for 'willful infringement, as this case obviously is, since they willfully used music on multiple DVD's that they only had a contractual right to use once at a film festival.... if this doesn't qualify as willful infringement I'm not sure what would).

    So while it's nice to claim that contract law should be relied upon, I would personally hit them with their own bat.... Statutory damages for each willful infringement....

    Lets see, $150,000 * 3 is $450,000 per willful infringement * "tens of millions of times in such an unauthorized manner" = roughly 4.5 bazillion dollars (give or take a couple billion) that BRIEN just STOLD from this artist and the world economy... They should be taken out behind the woodshed and 'dealt with'.....

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