Feeds

German court blocks $17bn Bertelsmann suit

A Tale of Two Jurisdictions

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
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.