Composer Maarten Hartveldt, famous for composing the music heard throughout the Efteling amusement park, had his day in court recently and won one of the two battles he was fighting: getting paid more for his work. The other battle, claiming that his music was not akin to filling station music, he unfortunately lost.
For years Hartveldt had been paid a measly 198 euro a year for music that everybody associates with the Efteling and other locations, and decided that Buma-Stemra who is there to defend his rights was not paying him properly. The court decided that Buma/Stemra never should have paid Hartveldt as if it his creations were background music, adding that music in theme parks make up a significant part of the experience and atmosphere. However, the court also said that Buma-Stemra doesn’t have to expand its background music category, which Hartveldt fell under for so long.
Hartveldt’s music needs to fall under and be given the same consideration as music used for radio and television, based on the actual music used in the park. The music Hartveldt composed for the Efteling can be heard everywhere in the park by 5 million visitors each year since 2006 on almost 54,000 square metres of land.
Tags: Buma Stemra, copyright, efteling, Kaatsheuvel, Noord-Brabant
Composer Maarten Hartveldt is mainly famous in The Netherlands for the music he composed for the Efteling amusement park in Kaatsheuvel, Noord-Brabant, normally heard everywhere in the park by 5 million visitors each year since 2006 on almost 54,000 square metres of land. While the Efteling banks more than 200 million euro a year from its visitors, Hartveldt gets a measly 198 euro a year for his work.
Hartveldt is currently fighting Buma Stemra, the collecting society with a monopoly, as not only does the amount of money he received makes no sense, it’s been labelled ‘filling station music’ by them, adding insult to injury. Buma Stemra’s decisions are known to be unclear and random, a problem that has been pointed out countless times by others. The collecting society has a reputation for chaotic administration while employees get paid handsomely and composers have to beg to find out where their money is.
Later today the court of appeal will rule on the matter. In this case, it’s a long-drawn out situation where Buma Stemra blames Hartveldt for not filing certain documents properly, but in previous cases threw money at him right before hearings with no explanation, which makes it all very complicated.
Here’s some music by Hartveldt for when you park your car at the Efteling:
Tags: Buma Stemra, copyright, efteling, Kaatsheuvel, Noord-Brabant
Dutch furniture and interior design company Moooi has launched their own app, so that customers can verify the authenticity of the products they buy from the company. Moooi’s products all have a unique digital identity in the shape of a flower that customers can scan, which contains a wireless chip. Moooi has described it as “a tiny digital superhero that provides Moooi products with an authentic digital identity.”
Moooi launched the initiative as a way of helping their customers in the face of a growing number of counterfeits. At present, many companies stick holograms on their products, rely on customs control border forces to check or even using DNA spray. “But all these solutions are only really doable by people working at the border, so you’re not protecting average customers,” explained Jan Haarhuis, a specialist in customer experience at Moooi. The app is available for Android and iPhone.
(Link and photo: dezeen.com)
Tags: app, copyright, counterfeit, Moooi
A year ago when a group of scientists, developers, engineers and art historians from organisations including Microsoft, Delft University of Technology, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam revealed an artwork called ‘The Next Rembrandt’ made from collating data of 168,263 Rembrandt paintings, it was about a new way of creating a work of art.
This year instead of having data and computers creating a Rembrandt, we now have a robot actually painting works resembling old masters, but the question then arises: who owns the copyright of these works? We found out last year that copyright cannot be held on artworks made by non-human animals because copyright can only be held by legal persons, so that means robots don’t count.
“Earlier computer-generated works of art, machine learning software generates truly creative works without human input or intervention”, and again that could easily apply to a painting rabbit. The argument is that since copyright can also be held by companies because they too are ‘legal persons’, there should be some sort of copyright on the artwork that robots produce. On the other hand, suing a rabbit or a robots over copyright seems like an exercise in futility and madness.
Despite all the different laws, rules and distinctions in different parts of the world as well as the ginormous amount of computational power available to us today, one day we’ll have to decide if we want artworks created by intelligent computers to be protected by copyright.
(Links: phys.org, theguardian.com, Photo www.artmarketmonitor.com)
Tags: copyright, Delft University of Technology, Mauritshuis, Rembrandt, robots
For the second time in five years composers’ and performers’ rights organisation Buma/Stemra has lost a substantial sum in severance money to high paid executives. According to a news report which the organisation released earlier this week, chairman of the board Hein van der Ree will leave Buma/Stemra next February over a wage dispute, taking half a million euro with him.
Van der Ree wanted to be paid 387,889 euro per year for running an organisation of 250 employees, but a recent law declares that managers of quangos like Buma/Stemra cannot earn a salary higher than 130% of that of a government minister. Van der Ree refused to take a cut and as a result the board of Buma/Stemra is cutting him loose.
Composers were quick to point at the difference between the ways they themselves, as the actual creators, and intermediaries like Van der Ree are rewarded. Singer song writer Pim van de Werken calculated that a popular radio channel like 3FM should play his songs every minute of every hour of every day for more than a month to make as much as Van der Ree’s severance pay.
In 2011 Buma/Stemra had to fire Van der Ree’s predecessor Cees van Rij for reasons it did not disclose at the time. Van Rij received 700,000 euro in severance money. In 2014 the organisation collected 190 million euro of which it distributed 163 million euro to its members.
Composer Ruud van Osch from The Hague is claiming that Ilse and Waylon, aka The Common Linnets stole his song to make ‘Calm After The Storm’, which won second place at this year’s Eurovision Song Festival.
In 2013 Van Osch had sent in a song to Ilse’s record company as a possible contender for the Eurovision Song Festival. He heard nothing back, which I’m sure is common, although he says he tried to get the company’s attention for months. However, only now has he decided to go public about it by telling The Hague broadcaster Omroep West his story.
Van Osch’s song was called ‘So Sad’ and has a very similar chorus and arrangements, which cannot be a coincidence unless the song is not his or he composed it after the fact. Even a secretary who had picked up the phone at the record company said to him: “Yes, they sound alike, I can’t deny that. Go get a lawyer.”
Have a listen to both songs superimposed and hear for yourself.
Here’s a video of Van Osch singing his song intermixed with The Common Linnets video.
The song sounds adapted yet recognisable, the lyrics are very different, but the chorus and feel of the song has been ripped off, which would equate to plagiarism. The 65-year-old composer in a wheelchair can’t fight the record company so he’s upset, but yes, it could possibly be a ruse to get some attention — but that’s all he is going to get. ‘Calm After The Storm’ sounds like a lot of other songs as well.
(Links: www.nieuws.nl, www.omroepwest.nl, Photo of Guitars by tarale, some rights reserved)
Tags: copyright, Eurovision, plagiarism, The Hague
The Court of Justice of the European Union decided yesterday that the Dutch practice of allowing downloads from an illegal source is itself illegal, Tweakers.net writes.
The court followed the hypothesis of advocate general Pedro Cruz Villalón who felt that the Dutch attitude caused “the mass distribution of illegal materials”. A spokesperson for the Dutch government told NRC that this makes downloading from an illegal source “illegal right away”.
The case was a continuation of one we wrote about earlier, in which manufacturers of blank media argued that since many copies came from illegal sources, the levies they had to pay shouldn’t be so high.
Dutch copyright law contains an exemption that says that copies made for private use are not infringing, regardless of whether the author was paid or not. Member of parliament Astrid Oosenbrug (PvdA) was surprised by the speed with which the government announced a ban on downloading: “That is of course not how things are done.” According to her, the government should explore alternatives first, such as raising levies.
Oosenbrug told 24 Oranges: “PvdA is against a ban on downloading. Citizens should be able to freely use the Internet. We also want to protect the makers, but we shouldn’t do that with bans. Instead we should stimulate legal download models such as Netflix, Spotify, Deezer and so on.”
The Pirate Party’s Dirk Poot (not represented in parliament) called for a drastic revision of copyright law and added that “the government’s attitude is made abundantly clear by the fact that it outlaws downloading as of today, but does not eliminate the levies on blank media with similar haste.”
TL/DR: Copyright law was once a matter between authors and publishers. Now it’s just a mess and everybody’s made to suffer except large publishers and lawyers.
(Photo of the court’s towers by Court of Justice of the European Union / G. Fessy, used with permission)
Tags: copyright, law, Pirate Party
Ray Kluun has stopped blogging … for now.
The author of Love Life keeps being bombarded with ridiculously high copyright claims over images that he naïvely had been plucking off Google Images in the past to adorn his postings.
In a message that replaces his blog’s frontpage he explains:
Bloggers who borrowed from Google Images in the past have been declared outlawed. Unfortunately I (and many others with me) only found this out recently. All of this has cost me thousands of euros and lots of irritation. Of course I have stopped publishing photos [on this blog] for this reason.
It is however pretty much impossible to remove all photos that I have added to postings on kluun.nl since 2003. I would have to check thousands of articles and remove the photos one by one.
Basic legal tenets, such as the right to a fair trial and the right to a punishment proportional to the wrongdoing have been thrown out the window in the Netherlands in the past few years where it comes to intellectual property. There is an entire cottage industry of so-called copyright trolls who scour the web for infringements. If they find one, the send out bills ten times the price of the license or more. These companies even have their own go-to court, the one of The Hague, where especially judge Chris Hensen is a good friend of the copyright industry.
(Illustration: screenshot of Kluun’s website)
Tags: blogging, copyright, copyright trolls, judges, Ray Kluun, writers
Here is some free advice for our government. If you want the difference between gigabit and gigabyte to be clear, do not abbreviate those words!
A small printing error has made it so that multinational record companies can pump even more of our tax money out of the country, at least in theory. In October last year the Ministry of Justice published a table of copyright levies in Staatsblad, the official government newspaper in which laws and decisions must be printed to become legal. Where the ministry wanted to write ‘gigabyte’, it wrote ‘Gb’, an abbreviation meaning gigabit. When talking about storage a byte typically contains 8 bits.
This means that legally speaking people who for example buy a smartphone with 2 gigabytes of storage would have to pay a higher price.
In practice this will likely not occur. Jochem Donker, a legal consultant working for Stichting Thuiskopie, the organisation that will collect the levies, told Webwereld: “We agreed upon gigabytes, so I find it hard to imagine that parliament suddenly changed its mind. This is probably a capslock error. I expect we will not abuse this.” Several lawyers called the use of ‘gigabit’ “an apparent mistake” (kennelijke verschrijving).
The ministry has decided that it will not correct the text until the levies are up for revision in 2014. “If we had meant gigabit, we would have written Gbps.” Fail! Gbps means ‘gigabit per second’. Later the spokesperson admitted that the ministry had made a mistake. “But it is evident that we meant ‘gigabyte’. The reports of the lower house also say ‘gigabyte’.”
Here is more free advice. If you desperately do want to use abbreviations, for instance because you are printing a table and the columns aren’t very wide, explain your abbreviations in a legend.
Tags: copyright, copyright levies, fail, government, laws, levies, Stichting Thuiskopie
Engelfriet writes on his blog:
An [Internet trend] I had not seen before, Pinterest, is a service that lets you publicly bookmark images, a sort of virtual notice board. […] Is this legal, can anybody just make a collection of images from everywhere without the rights holders’ permission?
No, this is not legal. […] If I were older and more cynical, I would now announce the bankruptcy of copyright law for images. Everybody, and I mean everybody, thinks it is normal that you take images off Google for your mood boards, blogs, and Facebook accounts. And this is happening on a grand scale. The uploaders are difficult to track, middlemen are not accountable, and notice-and-take-downs are a lost battle.
[…] If half of the country breaks the law, it is time to start wondering if the law should not be changed.
In the comments Engelfriet (who incidentally has helped us in the past and who regularly comments here too) gives several examples of road rules that have been adapted following civil disobedience: on one hand, cyclists can now turn right on a red light in certain situations, but on the other, they are still obliged to use bike lights when it’s dark outside. Compliance with the latter rule has, however, been increased with safety campaigns and stricter policing.
Tags: copyright, law