Big content has been exposed as a bunch hypocritical money-obsessed bigwigs who don’t really care about artists at all.
Five years ago Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt created music for use in a one-off anti-piracy video which was to be shown at a film festival.
However, Big Content decided that the tune was so good it used it on dozens of commercial DVDs and just did not pay Rietveldt.
In order to get the money he was owed, Rietveldt went to local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra who had been representing him since 1988.
According to TorrentFreak, Stemra sent Rietveldt an advance of 15,000 euros along with a promise to forward a list of all the other DVDs that the composer’s music had been used on.
However, it forgot to do so. That list would have amounted to at least 71 commercial DVDs and cost Big Content a pretty penny.
Stemra threw another 10,000 euros ‘advance’ at Rietveldt but by then the money involved was a lot more than that.
In 2012 Stemra arranged a settlement with BREIN legal parent of NVPI for the unpaid royalties. Under the settlement Stemra would receive 60,000 euros. However, Rietveldt had worked out that he should have been paid 164,974 euros.
In June, Stemra paid Rietveld another 31,000 euros but this week the Amsterdam District Court Stemra had been negligent in their handling of the case and collecting Rietveldt’s cash. Not only were they fined 20,000 euros, ordered to pay Rietveldt’s legal costs, they have to continue efforts to squeeze all the cash from their Big Content chums.
The case was deeply unpleasant as it showed the under-belly of the Big Content business in all its ugly, corrupt and slighty lardie ways.
Buma/Stemra board member Jochem 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 a third of Rietveldt’s royalties for its trouble.
When TV news organization PowNews, which recorded the conversation, claimed corruption, Gerrits claimed he was speaking as director of his record company, and it is standard that a record company gets a third of the mechanical royalties.
Gerrits had to resign and initiated a defamation lawsuit against PowNews.
The government stepped in with the Dutch secretary of state Fred Teeven announcing regulations to forbid the conflict of interest that Gerrits was involved with.