The move is part of Napster's plan to turn its once free-of-charge peer-to-peer file sharing system into a pay-for-play model to generate profits.
At the end of October last year, Napster took its first step in the new strategy announcing a surprise deal with Bertelsmann BMG, one of its foes in an ongoing courtroom battle, to develop a membership-based file sharing service. BMG agreed to drop its lawsuit against Napster once the membership-based service is established and has called for other players in the music industry to support the service.
Napster's agreement with edel takes effect immediately. The German company will allow the master recordings and musical compositions to which it controls the rights to appear on Napster's file sharing Web service. Edel will also serve in an advisory role to Napster, attempting to help the company address some of the intellectual property concerns that have hampered it throughout its recent history.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed suit against Napster in April 2000 on behalf of five major record labels, including BMG, claiming Napster violated the labels' copyrights by helping users gain free access to song titles owned by the labels.