Don’t steal things online.

That’s the conclusion of a 45-second commercial produced by the anti-piracy group, BREIN. Brein means “brain” in Dutch. It’s also an acronym for the Dutch translation of “Protection Rights Entertainment Industry Netherlands.”

Unfortunately, the producers of this ad must have neglected to use their “breins” when they allowed the global use of the promotion before talking to the people who put the piece together.

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haxorcat/YouTube

The ad observes that most viewers wouldn’t steal a car, a television, or a handbag. Meanwhile, bass-heavy action music that would be at home in the Matrix trilogy thumps in the background.

“Downloading pirated films is stealing,” stresses the commercial before reminding viewers that “stealing is against the law.”

“Piracy,” the promotion concludes over pulsing music. “It’s a crime.”

Misleading Artists Is A Crime

Melchior Rietveldt is the Dutch composer who penned the jumping jingle that keeps viewers glued to this ad.

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anne miek/YouTube

When representatives from BREIN approached Rietveldt about scoring the scene, as Olivia Solon explained in an article for Wired, they told the composer that production “was to be shown only at a local film festival.”

Consequently, the Dutch artist was surprised when the next year he heard his tunes after popping in a Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix DVD. Rietveldt reached out to the representatives at BREIN (we imagine him wielding his wand and saying, “Expecto dinero!”).

Stealing From A Child Star

Rietveldt grew up in the music industry, performing under just his first name, Melchior. As a youngster, Melchior sang a Dutch version of “ET + Ellliott,” a song from the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. The track peaked at 14th on Holland’s Top 40 list in 1983.

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NL Discografie

In 1989, Melchior joined Dutch actress Brigitte Nijman to form the “Two Hearts” duo. The young singers finished at seventh place in a national competition; they performed a Grease-like duet called “Johnny and Mandy.”

Rietveldt started his own production company in 1994, writing music for movies and television, so he was a seasoned professional by the time he worked with BREIN in 2006.

Lawsuits and Deception

Upon realizing that his work was being used without his consent, Rietveldt sought help from the Dutch organization in charge of collecting music royalties, Buma/Stemra. The organization promised to pay the artist a modest amount of money and to help him identify places his music played so he could seek fair compensation. They never followed through, though.

Around the same time, a board member of Buma/Sterma, Jochem Gerrits, tried to get Rietveldt to, as Wired explains, “sign over the rights of his song to his own record label – High Fashion Music.” This shady act would have earned the composer only a third of the royalties he worked for.

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NL Discografie

The former child star didn’t bite. He revealed Gerrits’ deceitful ploy, which ultimately forced the Buma/Stemra leader to resign his seat on the organization’s board.

The royalty collection agency continually tried to short the musician, initially offering him just 15,000 euros, but by all accounts, Rietveldt was entitled to more than 10 times that amount, 164,974 euros. The organization only ponied up the cash after the artist sued and after an Amsterdam District Court fined them an additional 20,000 euros.

Let this be a lesson to you: Pirating artists’ work online is a crime…so is stealing music while telling people that pirating is a crime.