Dutch copyright group BREIN has been sued by a musician who claims that it has been using his music in an anti-piracy campaign without his permission.
The Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland, or BREIN for the sake of simplicity, is a Dutch trade association functionally similar to the MPAA, and much like the MPAA it has aggressively pursued copyright infringement over the years, including through the use of lawsuits against organizations like The Pirate Bay. But now the tables are turned, as the group is facing a lawsuit filed by a musician claiming that it is using his music in their campaigns without permission.
Back in 2006, BREIN asked Melchior Rietveldt to compose a song for an anti-piracy video for a local film festival. Rietveldt agreed, allegedly under the conditions that the video was only for use at the festival; but in early 2007, he noticed that a Harry Potter DVD he purchased contained the same video, including his music. And presumably because of the ubiquity of the ad, he claims that his work has been used on "tens of millions" of DVDs, which according to his financial adviser means that he's owed at least $1.3 million.
Amazingly, when Rietveldt took his case to Buma/Stemra, a "music royalty collection agency," he was told by board member Jochem Gerrits that before he could get any help in the matter, he'd have to sign the rights to the track in question to Gerrits' own music publishing company, and that he'd have to give Gerrits 33 percent of any money he received. Gerrits told Rietveldt's financial guy that he deserves the money because he's got a lot of pull and later said that getting two-thirds of what he's owed is a lot better than the no-thirds he has now.
What Gerrits didn't realize is that the entire conversation was being recorded by Pownews. When word of his demand got out, he claimed he'd been "misinterpreted" but also temporarily resigned his position on the board until the matter can be resolved. BREIN Director Tim Kuik, meanwhile, says the dispute with Rietveldt is a contractual dispute that doesn't actually have anything to do with his organization because it is neither the distributor nor the client in the case.