Bertelsmann is going to court in New York on Thursday to seek the dismissal of a $17 billion lawsuit filed against it because it financed Napster.
The German media giant is to argue that it has infringed no copyright in its role as a third-party funder of the defunct P2P file-trading software biz, according to Spiegel, which has seen a copy of its 50-page submission.
Bertelsmann also claims that Universal Music, one of the plaintiffs, had also tried to buy Napster. The deal fell through when Napster's price got too high.
Lined up against Bertelsmann are music rivals Universal, EMI and a group of copyright owners, chiefly publishers. They say that Napster would have collapsed earlier without Bertelsmann's money. Consequently, the plaintiffs lost vast sums to piracy, as Napster members carried on swapping music illegally. OK, but $17 billion? This equates to approximately half the turnover of the world music industry - in a year before file trading took wing. ®