Germany's internal security agency has asked media giant Bertelsmann AG to help stop extreme right-wing bands exchange music with its online song swap partner Napster.
A spokesman in the state of Lower Saxony said the agency would appeal to Bertelsmann's sense of responsibility to prevent abuse of its platforms. "Napster is a challenge because everyone has access to skinhead and Nazi music with its incitement to hatred and its appalling anti-Semitic content," he reportedly said.
Bertelsmann's newly formed eCommerce Group, BeCG and Napster recently concluded a deal to offer a secure membership-based service that will provide Napster community members with file sharing, while at the same time provide payments to rights holders, including recording artists, songwriters, companies and music publishers.
Andreas Schmidt, head of the Bertelsmann eCommerce Group that handles the media giant's alliance with Napster, condemned the use of the platform for the exchange of Nazi music, but said the company is powerless to prevent it.
"Music on the Napster network is not stored on a central computer but on the computers of more than 40 million users," he said in a statement. "Napster is, like any internet provider or the post office, merely the transport platform."
Napster officials did not return phone calls. Both Napster and Bertelsmann will seek support from others in the music industry to establish Napster as a widely accepted membership-based service.
Once Napster successfully implements its membership-based service, Bertelsmann's music division will withdraw its lawsuit against Napster and make the music catalogue available.
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