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Bertelsmann, RecordTV.com mull plans for Net-based VCR

The companies are hoping to provide a way for TV and network companies to make their shows available via the Web at the times desired by their customers.

German media giant Bertelsmann and RecordTV.com said Friday they are in talks to develop an Internet-based VCR for the European market.

The two companies are hoping to provide a way for TV and network companies to make their shows available via the Web at the times desired by their customers.

The discussions come as RecordTV battles a pending lawsuit with major members of the Motion Picture Association of America. Members of MPAA earlier this year filed a lawsuit against the upstart, charging that its Web VCR service violated their copyrights.

RecordTV, based in Los Angeles, acts as a kind of VCR on the Web, recording TV shows for later playback. The film and TV studios are charging that the company has committed massive copyright infringement by recording TV shows online and are asking for up to $150,000 per work copied and distributed.

Bertelsmann's discussion with the controversial start-up is indicative of the giant's recent moves to embrace new Web companies. At the same time, it continues to push the envelope in the old-line entertainment industry.

The strategy has rankled competitors that are extremely protective of their intellectual property rights. Bertelsmann's recent alliance with online music-swapping service Napster came as a surprise to the industry and signaled a significant shift in the face-off between the major record labels and the start-up.

RecordTV said it will work with Bertelsmann's consulting division, MediaSystems, to develop and implement the Internet VCRs.