The anti-piracy group BREIN has been accused by a soundtrack composer of not having permission to use his work in their well known “you wouldn’t steal a car” anti-downloading campaign. The image above is a still from the infamous advert, which has been satirised heavily (most famously by The IT Crowd).
You couldn’t make this shit up. Well no you could - but no-one would believe you. Which is why Melchior Rietveldt, the Dutch musician whose work was used on the huge international ad campaign after it was commissioned for a only one-off screening, wore a wire to record the conversations he had with his national royalty collection agency Buma/Stemra. As if it wasn’t bad enough that his music was used without permission (in a bloody anti-piracy campaign, of all things) Mr Reitveldt was then told by a representative of Buma/Stemra, Jochem Gerrits, that the issue could be resolved if Gerrits was given a 33% share of the possible million-Euro-plus pay out that Rietveldt was due. In effect, a bribe.
It all started back in 2006, when the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group BREIN reportedly asked musician Melchior Rietveldt to compose music for an anti-piracy video. The video in question was to be shown at a local film festival, and under these strict conditions the composer accepted the job.
However, according to a report from Pownews the anti-piracy ad was recycled for various other purposes without the composer’s permission. When Rietveldt bought a Harry Potter DVD early 2007, he noticed that the campaign video with his music was on it. And this was no isolated incident.
The composer now claims that his work has been used on tens of millions of Dutch DVDs, without him receiving any compensation for it. According to Rietveldt’s financial advisor, the total sum in missed revenue amounts to at least a million euros ($1,300,000).
The existence of excellent copyright laws and royalty collecting agencies in the Netherlands should mean that the composer received help and support with this problems, but this couldn’t be further from what actually happened.
Soon after he discovered the unauthorized distribution of his music Rietveldt alerted the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra. The composer demanded compensation, but to his frustration he heard very little from Buma/Stemra and he certainly didn’t receive any royalties.
Earlier this year, however, a breakthrough seemed to loom on the horizon when Buma/Stemra board member Jochem Gerrits contacted the composer with an interesting proposal. Gerrits offered to help out the composer in his efforts to get paid for his hard work, but the music boss had a few demands of his own.
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.
Unbelievable! I hope Mr Rietveldt rinses these bastards for everything they’ve got. Here’s the original BREIN anti-piracy advert:
Thanks to Paul Shetler.