Porn company offers to buy Napster

Private Media, a publicly traded adult entertainment site based in Spain, says it wants to jump into the peer-to-peer market by acquiring the assets of the defunct song-swapping site.

Private Media Group, a publicly traded adult entertainment site based in Spain, on Thursday said it has made an offer to acquire the assets of defunct song-swapping site Napster.

In a statement issued from Barcelona, Private Media said that it had offered to acquire the Napster trademark and Napster.com Internet address for 1 million shares of Private Media common stock, valued at about $2.4 million.

Private Media shares closed down 11 cents at $2.41 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

A representative for Napster, which recently closed its doors and terminated all but a few of its remaining 42 staffers as it prepared to go into Chapter 7 liquidation, was not available for comment.

The revolutionary Internet song-swap service hailed by millions of music fans but damned by the powerful recording industry officially shut down earlier this month after a U.S. bankruptcy court blocked its final sale to German media giant Bertelsmann.

Private Media Chief Executive Charles Prast said in the statement that copyright infringement is a major issue in the online adult entertainment industry as well as for the music and movie industry.

"Acquiring Napster is our way of entering the peer-to-peer marketplace for adult content in a closed environment," Prast said.

Private Media said it plans to use the Napster trademark to offer millions of adults worldwide the ability to swap adult-oriented content for free and to also gain access to "top quality" content at a reasonable price. Private Media claims to own the largest library of adult-oriented content in the world, with global copyrights to the content.

"Along with Hollywood and the recording industry, we have become increasingly concerned about the level of copyright infringement inherent in the free peer-to-peer file swapping services," Prast said.

Story Copyright  © 2002 Reuters Limited.  All rights reserved.

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