It is ironic indeed that a group which claims to work to curb piracy would end up indulging in piracy itself. This is precisely what happened in Netherlands, where a musicians’ rights group was found by the court to have stolen music from one of its clients and to have used it without his permission. The group was slammed with a fine of 20,000 euro.
The whole fiasco started in 2006, when music royalty agency Buma approached Dutch musician Melchoir Rietveldt. Rietveldt was asked to produce a track that was to be used in anti-piracy advertisement. Originally, the musician was promised that the song will only be used in a local film festival.
However, about a year later, Rietveldt incidentally purchased a Harry Potter DVD and to his utter surprise, his composition was being sold along with the CD. Naturally, he was shocked and went straight to his royalty agency Buma.
Buma was well aware that it owed the musician a huge sum and tried to placate him by giving him 15,000 euros and promising that they would soon send him a list of all the DVDs featuring his work. That list never arrived. In 2009, Reitveldt wrote to the agency again and they paid him a mere 10,000 euros again.
The dispute had continued until 2012. Buma was ready to pay Reitveldt 60,000 euros now under a settlement. However, Reitveldt had calculated that he was owed 164,974 euros. So he sued the agency. In June this year, he was paid another 31,000 euros by the agency. But since the case was in the court of law, the court has now given the verdict against Buma, asking the agency to pay a fine of 20,000 euros, cover all legal costs for Reitveldt and continue their efforts to pay him all his rightful royalties.
Courtesy: Torrent Freak