Napster Trial Ends Seven Years Later
September 4, 2007 at 5:45 AM (PT)
Defining the online sharing world along the way, the NAPSTER lawsuit concluded FRIDAY after seven years of intense litigation, reports WIRED. BERTELSMANN AG agreed FRIDAY to pay the NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION $130 million to settle the NAPSTER case's final copyright claims, BERTELSMANN attorney BRUCE RICH said in an interview. "BERTELSMANN is very pleased to have the last piece of the litigation behind it at this point,"
BERTELSMANN AG admitted no wrongdoing in the first case defining the rules of online, peer-to-peer, filing-sharing networks. The federal court case originally began in 2000, when the recording industry sued the first incarnation of NAPSTER, which has subsequently become a paid music service. The litigation ceased abruptly FRIDAY, with BERTELSMANN settling the final lawsuit accusing it of financially propping up NAPSTER and thereby allowing NAPSTER to continue allowing millions of users to pilfer music.
As part of the case, a judge and a federal appeals court ruled in 2002 that NAPSTER was liable for contributory or vicarious copyright violations because it was allowing millions of users to download music for free. NAPSTER eventually shut down and went bankrupt before it emerged as a legitimate, online music service.
With a bankrupt NAPSTER unable to cough up big financial damages, the industry turned to BERTELSMANN, accusing it of copyright infringement for holding up NAPSTER financially with loans totaling $85 million.
Last year, BERTELSMANN AG agreed to pay the world's largest label, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, $60 million to settle the allegations. EMI got an undisclosed amount in MARCH and, in APRIL, WARNER MUSIC GROUP settled with BERTELSMANN for $110 million.