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Napster, the file-sharing service once synonymous with the unlawful downloading of music, has snubbed Wragge & Co by selecting Addleshaw Goddard as its principal legal adviser.
Addleshaws’ appointment will be hugely frustrating for Wragges because although the Birmingham-based firm has a relationship with Napster’s parent company Roxio it was not invited to pitch for the work.
Earlier in the year Wragges secured a crucial victory for Roxio in relation to the ownership of the www.napster.co.uk domain name. The firm was also understood to have advised Roxio on the relaunch of a legal version of the download service in the UK.
Addleshaw’s music group secured the client win because of a personal relationship between its music group associate Alexander Ross and Napster’s UK-based vice-president and general manager Leanne Sharman, who once held a position at MP3.com.
Addleshaws will principally advise Napster on music licensing matters, e-commerce issues, special promotions and general commercial contracts.
The firm recently helped Napster to secure agreements with all five major record companies – BMG, EMI, Sony and Universal – which enabled it to launch a UK subscription service.
Addleshaws is now helping Napster to roll out a similar service on the Continent.