The advert will be familiar to anyone who has watched a DVD over the past half decade - the "you wouldn't steal a handbag... you wouldn't steal a car" music has rung out to those who didn't steal copyrighted material. This advert now has a new twist, aside from the dubious analogy of comparing mugging to copying a file - the song used in the advert was itself in fact stolen.
In an interview with Torrenfreak Dutch Musician Melchior Rietveldt explained was asked in 2006 to whip some background music "to be used exclusively at a local film festival". The jingle he made of course wound up said advert, which then became a staple of pretty much every un-pirated DVD ever made at the behest of the anti-piracy MPAA. This all happened without the musician ever receiving addional payment.
To be fair the criminal here is not likely to be the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), as they appear to have purchased the advert lock-stock from elsewhere - it does appear however the makers may not have had permission to use the music. When he noticed his music popping up everywhere (first hearing it in a Harry Potter DVD) Mr Rietveldt went to royalty agency Buma/Stemra, who made a € 15,000 ($AU 17,500) advance and then appear to have completely dropped the ball.
Only when Mr Rietveldt took legal action did Buma/Stemra pay a further € 31,000 ($AU 36,000), before the artist was finally awarded an addtional € 60,000 ($70,000) by the courts. As well as showing a lack of scruples on the part of the advert's creators, this ruling highlights some of the challenges that artists face - the total $AU 124,000 paid to the artist certainly appears to pale in compaison to the widespread international usage of his song.
Atomic has contacted the MPAA for comment.