Feeds

German court blocks $17bn Bertelsmann suit

A Tale of Two Jurisdictions

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The German Constitutional Court has intervened in the $17bn lawsuit filed in New York in February against Bertelsmann over the funding of Napster.

In a ruling Friday, July 25, the court said the lawsuit could not be delivered to Bertelsmann because it would violate the company's rights under the German constitution.

"If lawsuits in (foreign) courts are obviously misused to bend a market player to one's will by way of media pressure and the risk of a court order, this could violate the German constitution," the court said in a statement, Reuters reports.

The court said its decision is preliminary, lasting for six months. It will deliver a ruling on the constitutionality or otherwise of the lawsuit after a full hearing.

This is a turn-up for the books. Isn't it American courts that are supposed to extend their jurisdictional sovereignty overseas?

Bertelsmann is seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed in the US. As a media giant, with huge interests in the US, it has a legal corporate identity and getatable assets in the country where the suit was filed. So it is unclear what effect the German court's ruling would have.

Bertelsmann stands accused of supporting music piracy by part-funding Napster, the wildly popular file trading service which collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001, following a blizzard of lawsuits. The plaintiffs in the case against Bertelsmann are two of the four other music majors, Universal and EMI, and music publishers.

The damages demanded - $17bn - look ludicrous, equivalent to nearly half the annual turnover - not the profits - of the world's recorded music industry. In a good year. ®

Related stories

Bertelsmann saves Napster
We can make Napster pay - Bertelsmann
EMI sues Bertelsmann over Napster
Bertelsmann seeks dismissal of $17bn Napster suit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.