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Music attorney ordered to pay damages, legal costs, and fine

Remember that series of commercials that ran before movies proclaiming, "You wouldn't steal a handbag", etc. and then likening film piracy to petty theft commenting, "Piracy: it's a crime"?  

Set aside for a minute that big media tries to prosecute piracy not as petty theft, but as grand corporate-scale million-dollar infringements, and has graciously paid politicians millions in "contributions" to "see the light".  At least big media is consistent, right?

I. Independent Musician Learns the Hard Way That Big Media is no Friend

The answer, it turns out, is "no".

The makers of the anti-piracy ad approached independent musician Melchior Rietveldt asking him to make music for an advertisement that would exclusively be used at a local film festival.

It turns out the big media heads liked Mr. Rietveldt's work so much they stole it, putting it in over 71 DVDs and pre-movie ads in dozens of regions, including the U.S.  Mr. Rietveldt never received any compensation and was unaware of this wanton infringement until he watched a DVD copy of one of the Harry Potter movies and was shocked to hear the track he composed.

Piracy it's a crime
[Image Source: Cinema Public Warning]

He immediately contacted Buma/Stemra -- the agency he had worked with on the festival bid.  They acknowledged that the work had been used, and eventually promised to send him a list of what works it had been used in.  They sent him an advance of €15,000, but never sent him that list.

Buma/Stemra board member Jochem Gerrits suggested that if Mr. Rietveldt wanted to get paid, he should sign with Mr. Gerrits' label, High Fashion Music.  Under his scheme, Mr. Gerrits would then pocket 33 percent of Mr. Rietveldt's royalties in addition to the fees he already charged him.

II. Musician Fights Back

Arnoud Engelfriet, a lawyer specializing in Internet law at the ICTRecht law firm, told TorrentFreak in an interview, "This prompted TV news organization PowNews (which had recorded the conversation) to assert corruption. However, Gerrits later claimed he was speaking as director of his record company, and it is standard that a record company gets 1/3rd of the mechanical royalties."

The incident lead to new regulations and scrutiny of big media companies by the Dutch government; it also inspired Mr. Rietveldt to sue for uncollected royalties.

In June, perhaps sensing defeat, Buma/Stemra agreed to cough up €31,000.   Mr. Rietveldt took the cash, but did not drop his suit.  And this week he was rewarded another €60,000, plus legal fees, while Buma/Stemra was ordered to pay a fine of €20,000 to promote artist awareness of collecting royalties.

Euro notes
The big media pirate was ordered to pay damages and a fine. [Image Source: Ink Magazine]

The tough ruling was a much needed dose of reality for big media, which has long sought to pay their way to punitive piracy legislation at the expense of citizen rights, all while stealing independent musicians' work.  It follows in line with Canadian federal courts, which recently ordered big media labels to pay $45M USD to independent musicians for stealing their work.

Source: TorrentFreak



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I copied that floppy
By EricMartello on 7/18/2012 6:44:41 PM , Rating: 3
Whatchu gonna do? I got a bootleg copy of Jazz Jackrabbit on floppy and I'm going to share it with all my friends!




RE: I copied that floppy
By Nortel on 7/18/2012 6:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
Commander Keen was my first copying of said floppy.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Solandri on 7/18/2012 8:25:28 PM , Rating: 5
My uncle runs a print shop with an ancient (by computer standards) film printer made around 1993. It still runs fine, since it was designed for heavy industrial use and hasn't had anywhere near that workload in his small shop.

His biggest problem is the company which made it went out of business, and the only software to drive it (basically a printer driver) runs on Windows 3.1 and Mac OS 6/7. It doesn't impact his work since he can create the graphics and layouts on a modern computer, then print it to the network-shared film printer. But he's been buying old PowerMacs off of eBay to keep the driver software running as the hardware dies. So far he's just had to transfer the hard drive to the new Mac, and he's up and running again.

I asked him what happens if the hard drive dies? He said that's ok, he still has the original install floppies. I told him the magnetic media on those don't typically last more than a decade. I borrowed them to make virtual images of them just in case. Surprisingly, most of the floppies were still readable, but as I feared Disk 1 was unreadable.

So now we're trying to find 1990s-era backup software for the Mac which will copy the SCSI system drive to another drive, so he has a backup drive. Otherwise, when the hard drive dies he's going to have a $20,000 paperweight. All because he didn't copy that floppy.


RE: I copied that floppy
By InternetGeek on 7/18/2012 9:52:45 PM , Rating: 5
Not only images. Maybe you could look into virtualizing this? He wouldn't be tied up buying old macs, backing, etc.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Solandri on 7/19/2012 4:28:52 AM , Rating: 2
I have. But the film printer connects to the Mac via a 25-pin external SCSI port. The only such cards I can find new cost $200+. It's actually cheaper to buy old PowerMacs off eBay. The older SCSI cards I find on eBay usually only have driver support under Win98 at latest or MacOS. So the VM software would have to run as one of those as the host. And frankly I'm not sure any of the common virtualization software would support them anyway.

The software is written for the PowerPC architecture, so theoretically it should run under emulation in OS X 10.4 or 10.5 on an Intel Mac. I've been trying to see if there's a 25-pin external SCSI card which run on those.


RE: I copied that floppy
By quiksilvr on 7/19/2012 8:50:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to sound like an idiot but...

What is a Film Printer?


RE: I copied that floppy
By Gondor on 7/19/2012 10:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
RE: I copied that floppy
By danjw1 on 7/19/2012 11:13:49 AM , Rating: 2
What interface does the drive use? IDE? You can still get modern computers that have IDE interfaces. So you move the drive to something that can run a current disk imaging application and copy it there. I would suggest you copy it to flash drive, rather then a hard drive. Less likely to degrade with age then magnetic media.


RE: I copied that floppy
By daar on 7/19/2012 12:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
I was in a similar situation where all the floppies of said software were unreadable. Transferred the hard drive (was a hard drive from the 80's, I think it was only 25 megs) to my computer, was surprised at the number of software that couldn't even see the drive (didn't think it would be that big an issue, it was only FAT16 and most claimed it could be done). Newest Norton Ghost didn't see it even though I remembered using Ghost to back up drives for school around then; found out Symantec bought up some rival and ditched their old software.

Couldn't find anyone with the versions I used, not even on ebay, thankfully some pirates decide to put up torrents of old software and used that. Worked like a charm and was able to replace the drive without many issues when it died a few months later.


RE: I copied that floppy
By michael2k on 7/19/2012 5:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
Macs should have a built in mode called target disk mode that turns them into giant external discs. Boot into it and use another Mac to clone the first hdd onto another drive.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Argon18 on 7/19/2012 12:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
Correct. Hold the "t" key at the EFI firmware boot screen to put the machine into target disk mode. I don't remember the procedure on the older PPC macs, but it may be the same.

Also, target disk mode is accessible only over firewire, not USB. This is a good thing, since firewire is so much faster than USB, so your data transfer will go a lot quicker.


RE: I copied that floppy
By jonadab on 7/20/2012 10:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
> Also, target disk mode is accessible only over firewire, not USB.

PowerMacs of the vintage in question supported neither.

They had two ADB ports (a type of mini-DIN, with a different number of pins from any other mini-DIN I've ever seen) for keyboard and mouse, a Mac Serial port (another type of mini-DIN, typically used for a modem, or AppleTalk), and a Mac printer port (also mini-DIN, same number of pins as the Mac Serial port), and sometimes a SCSI port (usually either a large D-sub or sometimes a micro-ribbon connector similar in style to Centronics printer connectors). Plus, of course, the video port for plugging in a monitor.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Gondor on 7/19/2012 10:24:26 AM , Rating: 2
As I see it you have two low-cost options:

1: You boot some sort of Linux distribution for PowerMacs (list: http://penguinppc.org/about-2/distributions/ ), connect to a network share that can accomodate the entire system image and do a

dd=if/dev/sda of=/mountpoint_of_network_share/your_disk_image.bin bs=512

(or whatever name your disk appears under in place of sda)

2: Open that PowerMac to see whether it uses 50 or 68 pin SCSI connector, purchase a second hand PCI controller on fleaBay (should only cost a couple of dollars + PP, you don't need anything fancy), hook that disk to it inside a PC and repeat the above process without the network hassle (using PC Linux distribution this time around, of course). This option costs more money but is more user-friendly in my opinion.

Either way you end up with 1-to-1 image of your disk and when your original hard disk fails you can restore the contents to an identical drive by reversing the process (read from image; write to device).

Since you're copying raw disk data it doesn't matter whether the system can read the filesystem or not. Then again, if you wanted just some specific files, Linux *CAN* read Mac's HFS volumes.


RE: I copied that floppy
By MrBlastman on 7/19/2012 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
I love dd. Even on my Windows machine with multiple partitions I use it whenever I need to swap out a drive or manipulate data on another one via a Gparted bootable CD I made. Nothing beats dropping to the prompt and running some old fashioned Unix commands (even if it is being run on a Linux distro).


RE: I copied that floppy
By Argon18 on 7/19/2012 12:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
Google "Kryoflux". This nifty device can help recover the bits off your "unreadable" floppy disks. I've used my kryoflux on many occasions and it works quite well. It's a bit technical though, not your typical point-n-click follow-the-wizard peecee program.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Solandri on 7/19/2012 5:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, great suggestions I hadn't even thought of/know of being made by everyone. Thanks!


RE: I copied that floppy
By shabby on 7/18/2012 6:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing, there's no gaming industry association of america.


RE: I copied that floppy
By danielravennest on 7/18/2012 6:58:04 PM , Rating: 3
RE: I copied that floppy
By Mitch101 on 7/18/2012 7:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
But this exists which kind of negates piracy as best it can.
http://www.SteamPowered.Com

I love that they patch all my stuff, I can find my friend and jump in a game with them instead of co-ordinate through chat/e-mails. I never resell games so it works for me and I discovered a ton of great games (Limbo, Bastion)that I would have never bothered to have looked at otherwise. Plus some really good add ons.


RE: I copied that floppy
By EricMartello on 7/19/2012 12:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
I have a few games on steam but if I'm paying for it I want some kind of physical media. I don't have a problem paying a few bucks to buy "virtual items" for a game that I am really into, but the game itself I'd want on disc. Same for any software that I would be using on a regular basis.


RE: I copied that floppy
By CList on 7/19/2012 9:30:50 AM , Rating: 2
One of the nice things I've found with steam is that the games are very "self contained" as far as the HD install is concerned. I.e. You can easily move the steam folder to a different drive and everything will run fine.

Similarly, once steam is installed, you can download your purchased games to multiple machines, or simply use a network copy of the SteamApps HD folder to copy it to the a new machine.

I've found it to be much more flexible / transparent than I initially expected.


RE: I copied that floppy
By HoosierEngineer5 on 7/19/2012 8:16:42 AM , Rating: 2
My son uses Steam to play some on-line games. In 9 days it blew through over $100 in data. Needless to say, he is now disconnected from Steam.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Flunk on 7/19/2012 8:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely make sure that you don't save credit card details into an account for your young child.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Kurz on 7/19/2012 9:18:16 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds more like he has a Data Cap and he needs to pay extra every time he goes over it.


RE: I copied that floppy
By Camikazi on 7/19/2012 10:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
That happens when you have to download a big game, but if you are smart that only happens once (you can copy and paste steam games to other comps with no problem). Unless the game is online and multiplayer Steam doesn't use much bandwidth for normal game authentication.


RE: I copied that floppy
By KOOLTIME on 7/19/2012 7:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
Only real problem with steam games aka online only systems, is when you purchase such things, over time those systems become obsolete, so all your virtual purchases are just that temporary virtual, and you can lose them all at any time. If steam suddenly goes out of business, you lose all of it.

I still have a working TRS80 from 1979 and play zaxxon 1982 on it one of my favorite games still.


Only 106,000 Pounds?
By wallijonn on 7/18/2012 7:27:43 PM , Rating: 5
He should have sued like the RIAA sues - thousands of dollars per each instance, so if they sold 1 Million Harry Potter movies he should collect $10,000 per copy, as an example. And it ain't just HP movies - there's a LOT of DVDs and BDs with that ad. He should make them pay each and every single copy out there. After all, if the Sony lawyer can say, "Yeah, if you make a copy for yourself - that's stealing," then he should use the same defence and demand payment for each and every unauthorised copy made.




RE: Only 106,000 Pounds?
By Solandri on 7/18/2012 8:34:49 PM , Rating: 3
As nice as the schadenfreude from that would've been, the penalty is per infringed work, not number of times it was infringed. So 106,000 pounds is actually pretty high compensation for a single work. The U.S. limit is $150,000 and I would imagine the U.K. limit is in the same ballpark.

(Yes, that's right. If you copy two songs for a friend, you're potentially liable for more money than someone who sells a million bootleg copies of a single song.)


RE: Only 106,000 Pounds?
By HoosierEngineer5 on 7/19/2012 8:22:31 AM , Rating: 3
Most of the people fined for infringement didn't do it to make money. In this case, since it was part of a commercial product with the intent to make money (I suspect Harry Potter made a couple of bucks), it might be reasonable to increase the amount (for punitive reasons, at least).


RE: Only 106,000 Pounds?
By steven975 on 7/19/2012 8:30:50 AM , Rating: 3
Don't forget the number of public performances of the infringed work in movie theaters.


RE: Only 106,000 Pounds?
By TSS on 7/19/2012 10:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
That's only in the US. The mention of buma/stemra tells me this was settled in Dutch court. Our fines/jail times are actually quite low in general compared to other countries.

Considering he managed to get 100K+ euro's out of the whole ordeal, that's not bad at all. Actually one of the higher compensations that i know of in my country. I think the highest personal compensation for anything here was around 400,000 euro's, compared to the millions of dollars compensation for a spilled cup of hot coffee in the US.

He played it right, there's no way he would've gotten more. If he'd just sued from the start whatever amount he claimed would've been knocked down to that 60,000 euro and that would've been that. Instead he bullied buma/stemra, then bullied them some more, then sued them anyway and won, and even managed to get a fine imposed on them! It doesn't get more "an eye for an eye" then that.

Way to go Melchior Rietveldt! I hope many more follow his example. What comes around goes around.


RE: Only 106,000 Pounds?
By TSS on 7/19/2012 10:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
That's only in the US. The mention of buma/stemra tells me this was settled in Dutch court. Our fines/jail times are actually quite low in general compared to other countries.

Considering he managed to get 100K+ euro's out of the whole ordeal, that's not bad at all. Actually one of the higher compensations that i know of in my country. I think the highest personal compensation for anything here was around 400,000 euro's, compared to the millions of dollars compensation for a spilled cup of hot coffee in the US.

He played it right, there's no way he would've gotten more. If he'd just sued from the start whatever amount he claimed would've been knocked down to that 60,000 euro and that would've been that. Instead he bullied buma/stemra, then bullied them some more, then sued them anyway and won, and even managed to get a fine imposed on them! It doesn't get more "an eye for an eye" then that.

Way to go Melchior Rietveldt! I hope many more follow his example. What comes around goes around.


Fairplay!!!
By BigEdMan on 7/18/2012 7:14:54 PM , Rating: 5
Forget royalties. Should have taken this case to court and gone for the same kind of awards the big American labels have been demanding from those who infringe on them. If memory serves me right people are being charged upwards of $182,000 per song. So if they say sold 1 million copies of each of the 77 DVDs containing the stolen music the award could have be in the neighborhood of $140,140,000,000,00.




RE: Fairplay!!!
By inperfectdarkness on 7/19/2012 4:34:28 AM , Rating: 3
I would rate this up if I could. I'm absolutely sick of people giving lectures about how piracy is bad--yet completely ignore the fact that the distributors are doing it even more egregiously.


RE: Fairplay!!!
By HolgerDK on 7/19/2012 5:48:27 AM , Rating: 3
This post need have the +/positive range increased at least 100 fold.


And this, children, is called...
By geddarkstorm on 7/18/2012 10:01:18 PM , Rating: 3
Comeuppance.




By HolgerDK on 7/19/2012 5:50:32 AM , Rating: 3
Also known as "what goes around, comes around" or karma :)


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