"Media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG has settled a copyright infringement case involving its deal with the Napster file-sharing service, paying $130 million US to music publishers."
"The National Music Publishers' Association, a trade association that represents more than 700 U.S. music publishers, announced the deal on Friday. In the agreement, which still needs approval by a federal U.S. judge, BMG does not admit any wrongdoing.
The NMPA joined other music publishers in a $17 billion US class action filed in 2003 against Bertelsmann (BMG) over its investment in the Napster file-sharing service in 2000. The publishers contend Bertelsmann contributed to Napster's copyright infringement of songs by being an original investor in the service.
The suit claimed BMG wanted "to preserve Napster's user base for Bertelsmann's own commercial advantage."
BMG has already paid a reported total of $154 million US to Universal Music Group and EMI. The latest deal should end the four-year dispute between Bertelsmann and the music publishers.
"Bertelsmann is very pleased to have the last piece of the litigation behind it at this point," the company's lawyer Bruce Rich said. American courts ordered Napster shut down in 2002 over copyright violations. Since then, the company has re-grouped and re-established itself as a legitimate online music distributor."