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pte20030513031 Politik/Recht, Handel/Dienstleistungen

Universal to take Bertelsmann to court

Copyright violation through support of Napster


New York (pte031/13.05.2003/13:29) - The Universal Music Group http://www.umusic.com , the worldwide market leader in the music business, has filed a lawsuit against the German company Bertelsmann http://www.bertelsmann.de for its support of Napster. Bertelsmann took over the illegal music service Napster in October 2000 and helped it with financial support. It is expected that Universal will enter into legal battles with other music publishers and songwriters that are similar to ones made by Bertelsmann in February, reports the Financial Times (FT).

Napster went offline in July 2001 after a San Francisco court ruling. Bertelsmann had already invested about US$90m in the company. The German firm was aware of Napster's copyright violations, but claimed that their company wanted to build up a legal music service.

The lawsuit is not aimed at the Bertelsmann label BMG, but at the mother-company itself. Last month Universal, with British music company EMI, sued the Napster investor Hummer Winbald.

EMI is still considering joining the Universal lawsuits.

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