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Anti-Piracy Company Caught Distributing 'Stolen' Music, Amidst Corruption Scandal

Posted by: , 16:39 AEDT, Sat December 3, 2011

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A series of events reveals the underbelly of the copyright industry, as anti-piracy video uses authorised music, and the composer's ordeal to get paid for this work embroils him in a corruption scandal

A Dutch company responsible for making anti-piracy advertising, shown before DVD releases, has been accused of stealing the music used in the trailer by the artist who composed the music.

Musician Melchior Rietveldt was originally asked to compose music to be used in an anti-piracy video, that, according to the artist, was strictly to be only shown at a film festival and paid so accordingly.

But when Rietveldt discovered the trailer, and his music, being played at the start of a Harry Potter DVD he had purchased, he became alarmed, and soon discovered that his music was being used on millions of Dutch DVDs, without his authorisation.

Ironically, or at least according to Rietveldt, the music being used in an anti-piracy ad was, itself pirated. And unlike the relatively innocent crime of fans downloading music for free, this could be considered mass commercial piracy, and Rietveldt puts the damage at at least a million Euros in lost royalty.

But unfortunately, that's not where the story ended for Rietveldt. Having contacted a royalty collection agency, Buma/Stemra, to receive his due rewards, he was initially met with a cold shoulder, but when a Buma/Stemra board member offered to intervene on his behalf, you could be mistaken to think Rietveldt would have been glad.

Instead, he found himself in the middle of a corruption scandal. The board member, Jochem Gerrits, offered to help, but in exchange for getting Rietveldt what he was owed, Gerrits wanted 33% of all recouped fees. And not only that, Gerrits said that Rietveldt had to give up the rights to the track to the Gerrits owned publisher, High Fashion Music.

Unfortunately for Gerrits, his conversation with Rietveldt's financial advisor in regards to this "deal" was recorded, and with the whole sordid affair revealing the dirty underbelly of the money driven copyright industry, there's a wall of outrage from politicians, musicians and even Buma/Stemra board members.

And yet, Rietveldt still hasn't been paid properly for his work.


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