You know those ads that play before a DVD menu, reminding you that piracy is a crime, and that stealing copyrighted art is still stealing? Well, in a cruel twist of irony, an anti-piracy organization that produces such ads has been fined for stealing music to put in its ads.
The group, Brein, commissioned musician Melchior Rietveldt in 2006 to compose a song to serve as the soundtrack for an anti-piracy video at a local film festival. Under these conditions, he accepted the job. However, in 2007 Rietveldt discovered that his song was also being used on a Harry Potter DVD that was being distributed globally.
To recoup his royalties, Rietveldt went to a local music royalty collections agency, which happened to be a member of Brein. The agency promised him €15,000 and a list of the 70 commercial DVDs on which his song appears. He never received either.
After years of legal tussling, an Amsterdam District Court ordered the group last week to pay Rietveldt all the money he was owed (about €165,000), as well as a fine of €20,000.
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