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EMI, Bertelsmann Settle; Put Napster Dispute To Rest

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EMI and Bertelsmann have agreed to settle their four-year-old Napster dispute out of court. EMI was amongst a gaggle of record labels to sue the German group in 2003, claiming its investment in the then-controversial original incarnation was tantamount to copyright infringement. Bertelsmann bankrolled Napster to the tune of $85 million, drawing rival labels’ fire, before its outright acquisition was blocked on a technicality, finally forcing that iteration of Napster out of business. Terms of the settlement were not revealed but Bertelsmann admits no responsibility. Universal last year got $61 million from a similar settlement; anonymous sources in the LA Times put EMI’s pay-day at anywhere between $50 million and $150 million. EMI CEO Eric Nicoli: “We can now put this matter behind us and continue to pursue the development of new legitimate digital music business models.”