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Napster Officially Done

File-sharing company laid to rest

Napster officially took its last breath on September 3rd when an
attempted buyout by Bertelsmann Entertainment Group (BEG) — which
owns several record labels, including Arista Records and J Records,
homes to Santana, Alicia Keys and dozens of others — failed to go
through bankruptcy court.

Wilmington, Delaware bankruptcy court Judge Peter J. Walsh cited
a conflict of interest for Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers, who was a
former Bertelsmann employee. Judge Walsh’s decision was also
supported by Universal Records and other major labels, who cited
Bertelsmann’s reluctance to turn over documents related to the
loans and relationships between it and Napster. Those same labels
were involved in the initial lawsuits that began Napster’s slow
demise.

In May, Bertelsmann laid out $8 million towards the payment of
Napster’s creditors and funded the company’s efforts to relaunch
the site as a pay subscription service that would block the trading
of unauthorized, copyrighted material. Napster had been offline
since last July after two years of legal wrangling with the
Recording Industry Association of America.

“Napster is disappointed with the bankruptcy court’s decision
not to approve the sale of the company’s assets to Bertelsmann,”
Hilbers said in a statement. “As a result of the record companies’
and music publishers’ opposition, Napster’s creditors will be
denied substantial repayment and the company will likely be forced
into Chapter 7 liquidation.”

Napster subsequently laid off all its employees and the Web
site’s home page sports the Napster logo with “Napster Was Here”
written below. The link takes visitors to the service’s final
resting place, a picture of a gravestone with the Napster cat logo
and the words “Ded (sic) Kitty.”

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