Napster Hits Problems as European iTunes Launch Confirmed

Napster has run into licensing problems as it prepares its UK launch – with only four months to go. It would appear that the fragmented nature of Europe’s music labels, licensing bodies and royalty collection services are causing headaches for the new music services.

Negotiations are apparently heading back on track in the UK, but are only in preliminary stages in Europe.

Former Napster investors Bertelsmann AG will be in court in San Francisco next week where music labels are accusing the media giant of keeping the download service operational because of its investment in 2000.

Bertelsmann invested US$90 million (€76 million) in Napster in 2000, hoping to turn the service into the legal music site it is now. Now Universal Music and the EMI Group are claiming the $90 million investment cost them approximately $17 billion (€14.3 billion) in lost revenue because of illegal downloads.

Not a bad return on an investment, really.


Napster – still Coming Soon

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?