Bertelsmann's Relationship With Napster

from the all-the-rave-indeed... dept

I guess the folks who have published the new "tell all" book about Napster, All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster, are experimenting with some free distribution themselves. While not quite up to the level of Cory Doctorow's experimenting with publishing-by-file-sharing, this book seems to have more free excerpts published than any other I can remember. We've already linked to two excerpts from the book (one about John Fanning and one about an early supporter of Napster who later changed his mind). Now, Wired News is running yet another excerpt dealing with the details behind Bertelsmann's high profile investment in the file sharing company. This was the closest any of the major record labels ever came to embracing file-sharing, and the behind-the-scenes stories are quite interesting. It sounds like Bertelsmann never quite knew what to do with Napster, but were hoping to simply build a legal downloading system built off of the Napster brand name. The whole deal was designed (or so it sounds from this excerpt) to better position Bertelsmann to buy Napster's assets when the company eventually collapsed.
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