Anti-piracy campaign attacked for copyright infringement

Most people are familiar with the anti-piracy ads at the start of DVDs. Even if you've bought the film, you still have to sit through that unskippable part where some guy tries to break into a car, intertwined with scenes of a girl downloading something illegal. Serious stuff. But it has emerged that one group has been breaking copyright law in these ads about...err...copyright law.

Melchior Rietveldt, a musician in the Netherlands, has been caught up in a legal mess. After buying a Harry Potter DVD in 2007, Rietveldt discovered that anti-piracy group BREIN had been unlawfully using his work for their campaign. The musician had initially worked with the group to produce a song for a local film festival. He is now demanding the group pays up €1 million.

Torrentfreak has discovered that Rietveldt tried to seek help from a royalty collection agency. Rietveldt had initially asked for help from Buma/Stemra, but even though the agency themselves didn't get in touch, a member of the board personally called back with an interesting offer.

The deal would have seen Rietveldt signed up with Jochem Gerrits' music catalogue. Gerrits, who owns High Fashion Music, demanded a chunk of the profits in exchange. The deal would have seen Rietveldt claim back his €1 million, but Gerrits would take 33% of that in exchange.

Rietveldt's financial advisor got in touch with Gerrits, who asked the board member if he really wanted such a significant amount. "Yes, that’s the case, but then [the composer] would make 660,000 euros and now he has nothing," Gerrits said.

The scandal is continuing to unfold in the local press. As a result, Gerrits has decided to temporarily resign.

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