My name is Jon Rekdal, I am a composer from Sweden living in the US since 2002, I have been composing music since the mid 80s, for CDs, film and TV.
In May -07 I was told by a friend that she had enjoyed listening to some of my work that she had found on the internet on a website called Sounddogs. I was surprised because she was mentioning work that no one could have heard off the internet.
Sure enough, as I went there myself, 260 of my compositions were for sale. I wrote Sounddogs a letter to inform them that they had no right to do so and that I wanted substantial proof and records of sales. I realized that the material was demos submitted to an agent for composers in Hollywood called MOD, back in 2003, so I wrote them a letter also. Sounddogs immediately pulled the work off the net, and I started the long quest to get hold of them since they didn’t want to speak to me and never provided me with the information I requested.
First I called STIM my composing society in Sweden (the equivalent to ASCAP in Sweden), they were listed as copyright owners on the website, they told me to go somewhere else, they didn’t even have anyone handling legal stuff.
Coming back to the US i called ASCAP since they handle my rights in North America. They told me to go back to STIM, but also gave me the number to the VLA. Since i knew STIM was no option I cannot tell you how excited I was three weeks later when you called to say that you had managed to place my case with a law firm in the city.
I met with partner David Leichtman and his team in November 2007. It was then confirmed that since I had not registered my work with a US copyright agency, I had no right to claim anything more than what Sounddogs claimed that they had earned selling my work. I was shocked since STIM in its policy projects that you do not need to do that in order to be protected all over the world.
Fall 2008 STIM was lightly waking up after it had come to their attention that a big law firm in Manhattan was looking at a case that was clearly theirs, when they did no care to even consider it. In April -09 I wrote an article on the web, (newsmill.se) that was later featured in the leading political forum in Sweden (Arena), soon it was picked up by national TV (SVT) and the biggest newspaper in Sweden (DN) that made it national news, it conjured with the big Pirate Bay trial so the timing I guess was right.
STIM is changing their procedure when recruiting new members. People abroad are getting educated. The VLA has contributed to great knowledge about a circumstance that would appear rather absurd, that of what I compare it to......coming home, finding our that your neighbor has sold your furniture on craigslist and.....when asking him why he did that...getting the answer that he is sorry but that he only made 20 bucks and that he would give you those 20 bucks.
I want to thank you for picking up my case, for being able to place it, from me and for all that because of this case now know a little bit more about US intellectual property law and I dare to say from all the others you so graciously help.
I want to extend my thanks to Lovells law firm for picking my up case. Especially David Leichtman and his team of sharp minds like Eric Feldman, that with power and smartness finally managed to squeeze what they could out of this very severe case of copyright infringement. I think Mr Leichtman should have an award for that along with Lovells, and the whole team.