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Anti-piracy group fined for stealing music

Updated 4 years ago
Published Jul 17th, 2012 9:55AM EDT

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.

The musician approached Buma/Stemra and after some back and forth, TorrentFreak reports that the group gave him an advance of €15,000 and a promise that it would furnish a list of all DVDs that used the man’s music. Rietveldt would never receive the list he was promised, but after a drawn-out court battle and a few more small payments from the agency, it looks like the musician will finally receive the money he is owed.

Buma/Stemra was slapped with a €20,000 fine by an Amsterdam District Court this week, and ordered to pay the remainder of any money owed to Rietveldt, which the musician calculated to total at least €164,974.

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Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.