According to the judge, the voicemail is a creative work and Yung Internet violated the speaker’s copyright by using it.
Grease Damage Claims
The group and two members of it appear to have settled the case last year for 5,000 euros and a commitment to remove the track.
A third member, who has since left the group, was unable to reach an agreement and was taken to court by the speaker of the message with claims for damages totaling almost 22,000 euros.
Yung Internet is a successful rap formation from Amsterdam, which has been around since 2014 and originally consisted of Yung Mau (Mauro Plantinga), DJ Hyperlink (Daan Hegt) and Yelli (Sergio Hasselbaink).
In 2018, Hasselbaink, who is also an actor as well as a rapper, received a phone voicemail from a former schoolmate and co-actor who contacted him to see if they could work together.
“Hey, tiger, how you doing, man? Hey, you might not remember me, but we went to school together, man. Remember? Bert? Apollo school? Back in the day? And you were that skater And I remember the first time I saw you? on tv, i thought wow horrible. No, but anyway, anyway bradda, we’re in the same field and I haven’t heard from you in a long time, man. How are projects and assignments going?
Instead of Hasselbaink calling him back, Yung Internet used the text message on the song “Wesley Sneijder,” the second track from 2018’s Long Island album.
A year later, the speaker discovered that his message had been used in a Yung Internet post on Instagram. His manager then contacted the rap group to report that permission for its use had not been given. Yung Internet later deleted the post.
A year later, the voice actor discovered that the text message had also been used in the Wesley Sneijder song, which was available for more than two years on all kinds of music sites like Spotify, YouTube and iTunes.
He then threatened to take a sizeable claim to court. In the end he settled the case with Yung Internet, Plantinga and Hegt for 5,000 euros. The group also had to agree to remove the song from music platforms like Spotify.
However, the speaker did not want to settle for Hasselbaink, the original recipient of the message, who has since left the rap formation. He was taken to court by the dubbing actor with a claim for economic losses of almost 17,000 euros including interest, and another 5,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage.
Hasselbaink argued in court in Amsterdam that the voice message cannot be considered a work under copyright law and that he cannot be held personally responsible for the use of the message.
A ruling made public Tuesday shows the Amsterdam court dismissed that first argument in January.
According to the judge, the voice message can be considered a work protected by copyright. “The voice fragment has its own character, original and bears the personal stamp of the author,” according to the statement.
However, Hasselbaink does not have to pay tens of thousands of euros in compensation. Because the speaker already reached an agreement with Yung Internet and the remaining two members last year, according to the judge, he can no longer claim damages from the former rapper lineup member.
It also plays a role that Hasselbaink was still a partner in the company behind the group at the Chamber of Commerce at the time and thus indirectly involved in the deal.
His lawyer, Victor den Hollander, says he is surprised by the verdict. “I thought we would win on all fronts. Until now, the voice clips were never considered copyrighted work.”
One of the speaker’s attorneys, Stephan Mulders, has mixed feelings about the verdict. “We won because the fragment is copyrighted, but no compensation was awarded. The operation was successful, but the patient died.”
According to Mulders, the actor has not appealed.
pain and stress
Yung Internet member Mauro Plantinga calls the affair “nonsense that has caused a lot of pain and stress.” He calls the speaker of the text someone ‘who wants a lot of money from people who don’t have it’. If we have to pay €20,000 to everyone on our tracks, we immediately go bankrupt.’
According to attorney Mulders, the fact that the voice actor goes to court could have an explanation. “He also writes lyrics for the semi-government, and all of a sudden he was on a drug and suicide track. It was also about quite a bit of money, and there was resentment about the way this had gone without his knowledge.”