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Anti-piracy Group Fined For Using Song Without Permission 220

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the what-a-twist dept.
zacharye writes "Oh, the irony. A musicians' rights group in the Netherlands was fined this week for stealing music from a client, using it without his permission and failing to pay royalties. Music royalty collection agency Buma/Stemra approached Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt in 2006 and asked him to create a composition that would be used in an anti-piracy advertisement, which the group said would be shown exclusively at a local film festival. One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission..."
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Anti-piracy Group Fined For Using Song Without Permission

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  • by starworks5 (139327) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:34PM (#40678087) Homepage

    Perhaps its time that we realize that intellectual property is not in the best interests of society

    • For the record i would also like to say that both intellectual property law and current forms of governance are out dated.

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:50PM (#40678299)

      Perhaps its time that we realize that intellectual property is not in the best interests of society

      Eh... I cannot say I agree with you. I mean if the IP system was being used properly, the composer would be getting paid for the use of his work.

      That said, would totally agree that cases like this prove that people are abusing it. I mean, if you're going to hoot and holler over people using your content without permission, you should be the last person to do the same. This example doesn't really exlcaim "IP is bad for everybody!"

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:03PM (#40678455) Journal
        There is a second extra-classy angle in this story.

        When the composer discovers his song has been used more widely than agreed, he goes to his music royalty collecting agency, an entity ostensibly representing those starving artists out of whose mouths pirates are stealing delicious crumbs.

        They stonewall him. Hard.

        Then, in a conversation that turned out to be recorded, causing a bit of a scandal, "The case caused a scandal in the Netherlands last year following discussions Rietveldt had with Buma/Stemra[the collecting agency] board member Jochem Gerrits about getting the money he was owed. In order to help, Gerrits suggested that the composer should sign his track over to High Fashion Music, a label owned by Gerrits himself and one that would take 33% of Rietveldt’s royalties for its trouble."

        So, yeah, if he was merely willing to play ball with the label owned by a board member of the collecting agency, his little problem could be made to go away, for a modest price. If he preferred not to sign, well, perhaps he might continue to have trouble?

        This isn't exactly news; but the de-facto Intellectual 'Property' system appears to operate on the basis that peasants might have the right to sell their little scraps of it; but only people who matter are accorded any serious protection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by starworks5 (139327)

        The composer should have been paid for the of work he performed, as the function of the investment it takes to perform the work and value, not for how useful the work ended up being. He may be hired to work again if it was a good performance, otherwise you tax and unempower other people and musicians, so you get to be fat and lazy off of their hard wor.

        Likewise I have a hard time developing devices without running afoul of someone's patent, even though what I did was developed in a clean room process, so th

        • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:16PM (#40678583)

          The composer should have been paid for the of work he performed, as the function of the investment it takes to perform the work and value, not for how useful the work ended up being.

          Why? His unique contribution helped bring in a good deal of money, so much so that they enter into agreements that basically equate to profit sharing. Your approach would just mean the big nasty corp gets all the dollars.

          Likewise I have a hard time developing devices without running afoul of someone's patent...

          This really is a different topic from patents and, as such, a separate discussion. I would like to point out, though, that it's implied that the people you're accusing of sitting fat and lazy off your work did that work before you got to it. You're being encouraged to either license their work or try another approach. That means rewarding the inventor who sunk the time into it (like you do for a living) or developing the technology even further by trying other approaches. That actually is how the patent system is supposed to work and I'm willing to bet that's helping the company you work for out. Getting back on topic, if your complaint about their patent is that it's overly broad, then we're back to the problem not being with the system, but how its enforced. That is a legitimate complaint, but it takes a different approach to get something done about it.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:12PM (#40678557)

        >>>This example doesn't really exlcaim "IP is bad for everybody!"

        Yeah it does. It shows how the law is used for the benefit of the rich, not the people it supposedly protects. WE steal money, we get punished. MF's Jon Corzine steals money, he gets called "the honorable" in Congress and that's about it. RIAA/MPAA get caught pirating songs and selling them to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars, but nothing happens. WE do that and we get hit with multimillion dollar fines that make us lifelong wage slaves (see Jamie Thomas).

        Ultimately We the People would be better off without these laws, since they don't benefit us. They only benefit the fucking rich (corporations/CEOs) and/or the well-connected (politicians and polticians' friends).

        • by chrismcb (983081)
          So what you are saying is there is a problem with the justice system. Not sure I see how this equates to "IP is bad for everybody"
      • by next_ghost (1868792) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:48PM (#40680143)

        This example doesn't really exlcaim "IP is bad for everybody!"

        The example screams this: "The copyright system is so ridiculously complicated that even its biggest supporters can't follow the rules properly." (Or worse, they don't even bother to.)

        • by chrismcb (983081)
          Copyright is simple. Do you have permission to copy it? No... then you can't copy it. It isn't complicated. Does it last too long? yes, but it isn't complicated.
          • Copyright is simple. Do you have permission to copy it? Maybe, I'm not sure... then you possibly can't copy it. It isn't complicated. Does it last too long? yes, but it isn't complicated.

            FTFY

          • by metacell (523607)

            The practical reality of copyright compliance lies far, far from that.

            First, every copyrighted work potientially has a different license agreement, that specifies how many copies you may make, which geographic region you may distribute them in, for what purpose you may do it, during which time period you may do it, how and when you're allowed to display the work publicly, etc.

            Second, different countries have different copyright terms, different rules for fair use, and so on.

            Third, a work may have several cr

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      I am confused. This is a case of IP law working very well. Are you suggesting that this person should receive no payment for their music?

      • I am confused. This is a case of IP law working very well. Are you suggesting that this person should receive no payment for their music?

        I believe this to be a case of a person making a generalization based upon what they perceive to be popular opinion (Ugh think copyright/IP/patents BAD, Ugh no need know reason why), with zero regard for reality or logical thought processes. Common practice on the 'net these days, what with the apparent obsession with peer acceptance and approval as a means of self-realization.

        Otherwise, one would assume they would have realized, prior to posting, that the concept of "not in the best interest of society" i

        • Or it could be based on a nuanced study of capital flows to IP thugs, and the lack of investment in other human resources (people), which in turn harms the ROI on other human labor (farming, manufacturing). Thereby reinforcing a class system in which people are unable to escape.

          Hardly as subjective as your subjective analysis of "he probably just wants free stuff".

          • Or it could be based on a nuanced study of capital flows to IP thugs, and the lack of investment in other human resources (people), which in turn harms the ROI on other human labor (farming, manufacturing). Thereby reinforcing a class system in which people are unable to escape.

            Yea, no.

            Look, it's perfectly reasonable to claim that the current iteration of IP/copyright/patent law is fucked, namely because it is. But that is by no means a blanket condemnation of the tools themselves; in fact, to claim the tools are the problem is to show an abject lack of critical thinking ability, as any child could tell you it's not the hammer which ultimately drives the nail, but the man holding the hammer. Yes, the system is oft abused by powerful groups, but that doesn't mean the system itself

            • Yea, no. Look, it's perfectly reasonable to claim that the current iteration of IP/copyright/patent law is fucked, namely because it is. But that is by no means a blanket condemnation of the tools themselves; in fact, to claim the tools are the problem is to show an abject lack of critical thinking ability, as any child could tell you it's not the hammer which ultimately drives the nail, but the man holding the hammer. Yes, the system is oft abused by powerful groups, but that doesn't mean the system itself in inoperable - there are also instances, such as that brought forth by TFA, in which IP/copyright/patent law actually does work to protect the artist/inventor from whom the product originated.

              What IP/copyright/patent law actually does is protect the artist/inventor, at the expense of both the consumers, producers and competition, and that is whats inherently unethical about it. Any laws that exist should be applied universally (Immanuel Kant), tractor manufacturers should be alllowed to license and charge royalties on food production, production workers should be able to license and charge royalties as well.

              Funny, I don't recall making that statement... *re-reads previous post* Nope, nothing even close to the assumption you've made here. In fact, you're the only one who has broached the idea of wanting something for nothing... perhaps you yourself are unaware of your actual agenda? One has to wonder why a person would be so adamantly opposed to the mere concept of IP, especially when discussing a rare instance in which IP law actually works out in the best interest of the creating artist...

              What's your angle here? If you're not attempting to posit the idea that you should have access to other people's creative works without payment, then what are you trying to say?

              Yes. I am saying that the person who created the work should be paid according to their l

      • I generally believe that if his work was important enough to be made, than he should have been paid for the amount of work performed, not based on how much it benefited society.

        Do you think a tractor company should get "license" and charge royalties (however the amount) on the the food the tractor produces?

        • by tomhath (637240)

          Do you think a tractor company should get "license" and charge royalties (however the amount) on the the food the tractor produces?

          No, but we're talking about creative works here, not labor. If the company makes an improvement in the tractor that increases its usefulness they should benefit from the idea. A perfect example is the three point hitch [wikipedia.org] which Harry Ferguson invented. It revolutionized how tractors were used.

          • What is the difference between creative works and labor ? And by patenting it or some other benefit, does it prevent it from realizing its maximum usefulness?

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Do you think a tractor company should get "license" and charge royalties (however the amount) on the the food the tractor produces?

          Well, do you think it should be illegal for me to buy some tractors and lease/rent them out to farmers, charging either for time or miles driven or both? Maybe I want to run some kind of Tractors as a Service (TaaS) system providing tractor capacity on demand the way I find best and charging by the food produced. Maybe that's the only kind of service the tractor company wants to offer. You make it sound like you have to sell your work and I disagree, you just shouldn't be able to have it both ways. Today yo

        • by chrismcb (983081)

          >

          Do you think a tractor company should get "license" and charge royalties (however the amount) on the the food the tractor produces?

          So what you are saying is, if I'm a farmer and I rent a tractor for a week... Then I can just keep using that same tractor forever?
          That is basically what happened here. He made a song, they could use it for a week. But then they kept using it.

          • by metacell (523607)

            That's different, because if you keep the tractor, you're depriving the tractor company of one tractor.

            On the other hand, if you COPIED the tractor, the tractor company would be no worse off than before, and you'd be richer by one tractor.

        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          Actually, lots and lots and lots of companies work that way. For example: Suppose that the tractor is so good it costs $250,000 to build: parts and labor. And the R&D to develop it was $50 million. No farmer could afford that. But they might be able to afford paying a per-crop fee so long as they used the tractor. And it might still wind-up with them saving money because it cuts their work down.

          Medical devices work this way, as one example. So do inkjet printers & ink. And movies. And restau

      • This is a case of IP law working very well

        No, this is a case of someone forcing the MAFFIA a eat their own dog food.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Perhaps its time that we realize that intellectual property is not in the best interests of society

      Oh, it is, it is! You just have to be a big company to try to get away with it.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:06PM (#40679183) Homepage

      Perhaps its time that we realize that intellectual property is not in the best interests of society

      Intellectual property is in the interests of society, it stops big companies from using people's music on top-selling DVDs all around the world.

      The problem with intellectual property is when individuals are being fined millions of dollars for sharing half a dozen songs, when the internet is being wrecked in the name of preventing piracy even though anybody with half a brain knows it can't be stopped, when consumers are being screwed over by DRM, when young artists are being ripped off by experienced con-men in suits, etc.

      ie. There's no sense of proportion in the laws, they're going way too far in the direction of the corporations instead of towards the consumers.

      • Intellectual property is in the interests of society, it stops big companies from using people's music on top-selling DVDs all around the world.

        Except that they wouldn't be able to actually sell the content all around the world

      • by ghostdoc (1235612) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:29PM (#40680441)

        IP laws do not provide 'protection' for anyone, they just provide the grounds for a court case.

        Because court cases are generally won by the side with the best lawyers, unless they're complete idiots as in TFA, laws generally favour corporations rather than consumers, and larger corporations rather than smaller ones.

        This, obviously, is a generalisation and there are always counter-examples of the little guy winning. But if IP laws can be said to protect anyone, then they generally protect the rich against the poor.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Perhaps its time that we realize that intellectual property is not in the best interests of society

      Yo Ho, Yo Ho, the pirate life for me. Take everything you can, give nothing back. Arrrgh!

  • Just goes to show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by detain (687995) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:35PM (#40678105) Homepage
    the music industries attack on piracy is often about a new way to extort easy money more than an actual concern for the musicians they are supposed to represent
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by starworks5 (139327)

      Which is a secondary function of all forms of governance, corporate and civil.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      the music industries attack on piracy is often about a new way to extort easy money more than an actual concern for the musicians they are supposed to represent

      Music & Entertainment Industry are their own worst enemies.

    • If it were us, we would be looking at "infringment penalties" of many, many dollars for every copy we "distributed".. yet they have to pay a 20k Euro fine, and his court costs.. Wow.. the downside is really not a downside, is it?

  • €164,974? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That seems low for when someone steals music. Shouldn't that be more like €100,000,000 by the MAFIAA calculating ways?

    • Every infringing DVD should probably also be hunted down and destroyed by armed ICE agents or their local equivalents....
    • That seems low for when someone steals music. Shouldn't that be more like â100,000,000 by the MAFIAA calculating ways?

      No. Such high damages are only appropriate in cases involving non-commercial infringement.

  • DVD Ad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigby (659157) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:43PM (#40678197)

    So there was a DVD advertisement that pirated music about not pirating music?

    • by OldSport (2677879)
      Haha, yeah, I was going to ask, did the pirated song appear before or after the three unskippable anti-piracy ads?
    • by tapspace (2368622)

      Well, that's the problem. A lot of terms are lobbed around which insight more emotion than understanding. Did they pirate it? Not really. They had permission to exhibit the song in a specific way and broke the terms of the license. Constantly using analogues to physical things ("piracy", "property", "theft") is just dumb. We need to realize that this stuff isn't property and this isn't theft. Should content creators be protected? Yes. Are they currently? IMO way more than is necessary.

  • by kotku (249450) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:45PM (#40678215) Journal

    So we don't need to discuss this anymore. Copyright infringement is "THEFT"

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber/ipr

    Preventing intellectual property theft is a top priority of the FBI’s cyber program. We specifically focus on the theft of trade secrets and infringements on products that can impact consumers’ health and safety, such as counterfeit aircraft, car, and electronic parts. Key to our success is linking the considerable resources and efforts of the private sector with law enforcement partners on local, state, federal, and international levels.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:54PM (#40678359)

      When did the FBI get to decide that?

      Under US law it is clearly not theft.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:55PM (#40678369) Homepage Journal

      Don't get your definitions from a law enforcement agency. I mean, the none of the FBI's Law Enforcement Officers are in LEO. In fact, don't let government define anything; PATRIOT act, anyone?

      Here's the difference between stealing music and infringing copyright.

      Sealing music: you walk into WalMart and shoplift a CD. WalMart is out the value of the CD. If you're caught, it's a misdemeanor and a small fine.

      Copyright Infringement: You BUY that CD form WalMart and put it on the Pirate Bay. Nobody has lost anything, and the label may actually gain sales from your "piracy". If caught, it will cost you thousands of dollars and maybe jail time.

      Not the same at all. I wouldn't steal a car, but I'd accept a copy of a car someone GAVE me.

      • "nobody has lost anything"?!? Is your basic premise is that intellectual property has no value whatsoever? Something tells me if you were the musician whose paycheck was directly proportional to the number of CD's sold you may have a different opinion.

        • Perhaps he should not rely on a model which is contingent on the number of cd's sold, like for instance doing performances for the general public... you know "work".

      • In the context of TFA, there is an effective theft in that there was a contractual agreement based on IP laws that the composer would get money for distribution of his work. The work was distributed and the composer was not given his due and was thus deprived of something of material value (money).

        That's what it all comes down to when they're talking about copyright violations being theft, isn't it? Depriving someone of funds which they theoretically should have received.

        In the case of poor college
      • by mark-t (151149) <markt@l y n x . b c .ca> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:56PM (#40680213) Journal

        Copyright Infringement: You BUY that CD form WalMart and put it on the Pirate Bay. Nobody has lost anything

        Correction... nobody has lost anything that anyone other than the copyright holder may perceive as valuable. Or, to be more specific, nobody has lost anything tangible.

        The point of copyright is that it is supposed to be an *exclusive* right to control copies of the work. If somebody just goes any makes copies of such a work without getting that permission, then that exclusivity has been compromised, and is actually lost to the copyright holder.

        Whether you want to argue that this exclusivity should be of no value is immaterial to the notion that it is not an inexhaustible resource (it runs out completely once the work has reached a saturation limit that is specific to both the nature and widespread appeal of the work), and so can arguably have some financial value associated with it.

  • They refer to a Creative Commons pilot program [bumastemra.nl] on their website, but it's in Dutch, and the translation is a little hard to understand. Can someone describe what this is about a bit more clearly than Google Translate?
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:51PM (#40678323)

    Its real simple to understand these asshats. They hold the following constellation of views:

    1) if we have licensed it, it's ours.
    2) if we comission it, it's ours.
    3) if one of our signed artists makes it, it's ours.
    --
    4) if it's ours, we can do whatever we damned well want with it.
    5) if somebody is violating their limited license for something that is ours, we will squash them.

    The conflict between "You were given limited rights. You may not redistribute however you like!" And their internal rose-colored view of how copyright should work never crosses their mind. They operate under the blanket policy that anything they license, comission, or sponsor is their full, exclusive right. That's why they make stupid blunders like this, time and time again.

    It's also why they get cranky like a baby with diaper rash when they can't get full, exclusive rights to properties. Their business model revolves around having exclusive power, and dolling out highly nonexclusive licenses.

    To defeat them, we need to cut off their supply of exclusives. Nothing short of oxygen deprivation will kill them. Like ants though, they have quite a bit of bottled air, and will take decades to kill off.

    Big media was a bad idea for everyone involved except government, middlemen, and lawyers.

  • One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission.

    I can't access the TorrentFreak link from my office. How did it wind-up on a Harry Potter DVD? Did the anti-piracy group get their message as a special feature on the DVD somehow?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission.

      I can't access the TorrentFreak link from my office. How did it wind-up on a Harry Potter DVD? Did the anti-piracy group get their message as a special feature on the DVD somehow?

      presumably yes. if that sounds far fetched then I suppose you haven't seen any legit(non blackmarket/torrent) dvd's or blurays ever.

  • Anyone surprised by this is truly clueless.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Oh I'm not surprised. But I think the author of the music should sue them for oh...what's the going rate these days? $250k/infringement? Man that's going to be a lot of cases per DVD isn't it? Oh and I bet it's on Bluray, and digital distribution too.

      Man, this guy is going to be rolling in so much money that that he could bankrupt them...wait just a tick. Everyone support this guy, quick!

  • I'm sure it's a misunderstanding because these agencies are just so concerned about those poor starving artists.

  • by houghi (78078) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:12PM (#40678553)

    That is what they should pay.

    Take their own calculation and use that on how much he should get. So how many billion copies have been sold? Those were clearly missed sales for him. Then add the number of illegal downloads that they made possible by putting it on those DVDs and you get to a gazillion pretty quickly.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:18PM (#40678625) Journal
    Fuck You.
  • Should come with a short summary of the difference between Malum in Se and Mallum Prohibitum.
  • So now that they have been caught stealing the music, did they return the music to the artist they stole it from?

    No?

    Because they used the music without the proper permission, the artist no longer had their music anymore...

    Oh hang on, what I just said makes no sense at all.

    Thats because COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS NOT STEALING!!!

    Why do people perpetuate this fucking insidious myth?

    • Dear Recording Industry,

      I am terribly sorry for the music I have stolen from you, please accept your items returned in an "as new" state as recompense.

      11001 1110000101010110010 00011100110001111 00001111001110011000001 000110101010 0101 1010100001 0101010001 0101 0101 010 00011110101010101010 01011101001010 0 10 10 01 0110110100110 10101001010100 0101010101010 100111111 010010101010101 01010 0100101010....

      I hope that now your property has been returned to you in perfect condition that you will not pursue a

  • The summary seemed to suggest his music was ripped off and used as background music in a Harry Potter movie. Not exactly so. They "MSNBC-ed" a couple words in that sentence to make it sounds more outrageous:

    when Rietveldt bought a Harry Potter DVD in 2007, he discovered his music being used in the anti-piracy ad without his permission

    Now it makes a bit more sense.
    By the way, pretty sure this is not the one they're talking about but I have to post it. I HAVE TO!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg [youtube.com]

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