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EMI Sues Bertelsmann Over Napster

EMI, the music group that includes Capitol Records, has sued Bertelsmann AG, saying the German giant’s support of the music-swapping service Napster led to the infringement of EMI’s copyrights.

The suit is similar to one brought last month by the Universal Music Group.

It claims Bertelsmann’s 2000 investment in Napster kept the service alive for another year, during which people illegally swapped and downloaded countless copies of songs by EMI artists.

“By investing both millions of dollars and management resources in Napster – which was an illegal enterprise built on the unlawful distribution of copyrighted works – Bertelsmann enabled and encouraged the wholesale theft of copyrighted music,” EMI said in a statement.

Bertelsmann spokeswoman Liz Young said the company had no immediate comment.

The lawsuit, filed in New York federal court, requests at least $150,000 for each copyrighted song that was shared under Napster, which a federal judge shut down in California in 2001.

EMI’s labels represent artists such as Norah Jones, Janet Jackson and the Rolling Stones.

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