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Bertelsmann Licenses Napster Technology Platform

Bertelsmann AG media group said on Tuesday it will use the new secure technology of Napster song-swap firm for its BeMusic operations as part of a licensing agreement between the two companies.

BeMusic is part of the German-based Bertelsmann eCommerce Group and its holdings consist of Web-retailer CDNOW, record club business BMG Direct, and myplay Inc, a digital music locker company.

The technology licensing deal culminates a long-running alliance between Napster and Bertelsmann, which broke ranks with other major music companies last year by entering into a strategic alliance with the song-swap service. Napster, which had allowed free swapping between peers, was sued by the recording industry for copyright infringement.

With the help of some funding from Bertelsmann, Napster has been working for the past year to transform itself into a secure service that charges its members. Napster expects to roll out the service later this year.

The technology licensing deal with Bertelsmann will give Napster’s platform added distribution through BeMusic, which has over 23 million subscribers and customers, the companies said.

The underlying architecture, which does not include Napster’s peer-to-peer functionality, will be used as a platform on which the BeMusic suite of brands and services will be built.

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