EMI, Bertelsmann Settle Age-Old Napster Spat

The original Napster died years ago, though that hasn’t stopped a messy legal battle from dragging on.

At the center of the fiasco is Bertelsmann AG, whose then-CEO Thomas Middlehoff purchased the property for $8 million in 2002.  That move appears visionary so many years later, though it subjected the media company to a flurry of liability lawsuits.  That includes an action from EMI Group Plc, which recently announced that it had resolved its long-standing tiff with the German media giant.  “We can now put this matter behind us and continue to pursue the development of new legitimate digital music business models,” said EMI chief Eric Nicoli in a statement issued Monday.  The label first sued Bertelsmann in 2003, along with Universal Music Group and a group of publishers.  Universal parent Vivendi recently ended its legal conflict through its purchase of BMG Music Publishing, a 1.63 billion euro ($2.12 billion) deal.   That buyout is still awaiting approval from European regulators.  Terms of the EMI deal resolution were not disclosed.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.