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Business

Business Briefs

Bertelsmann given breathing room in Napster case, German business gets welcome boost from Ifo, VW posts drastically reduced profits, group aims to boost German presence in Iraq.

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Court rules in favor of Bertelsmann on Napster lawsuit

Bertelsmann get injunction in Napster lawsuit

Germany's highest court has said that a $17 billion lawsuit cannot be filed against media giant Bertelsmann concerning its alleged involvement with the Napster online music file-swapping service. The decision by the Federal Constitutional Court comes at a time when Bertelsmann is fighting three separate lawsuits, including one from Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, and another from EMI, its U.K. rival. The suits all allege that Bertelsmann extended the life of Napster by helping fund the company between 2000 and 2001. In its preliminary ruling, the German court said the delivery of the suit, filed by New York-based music publishers, risked violating Bertelsmann's rights under the German constitution. The injunction is valid for six months while the

Napster Logo

Napster Logo

court conducts a full hearing.

German business optimism up, says Ifo

The Ifo institute index of business confidence, an important indicator of German business optimism, rose in July in a sign which hints at an economic upturn after more than two years of stagnation, the research institute’s report said Monday. The index rose to 89.2 from 88.8 in June, the third straight increase – a result that officially makes it a trend. The part of the index that looks at expectations for the future also rose, to 100.2 from 98.6. "According to experience this far, a third increase in a row in the business climate index points to a coming economic upswing," Ifo head Hans-Werner Sinn said in a written statement. The Ifo index is based on surveys of 7,000 business executives in western Germany in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade and retailing about their views of the current and future business climate.

VW posts drastic half year profit drop

Profits at Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car company, have fallen by more than half according to figures released by the German company on Tuesday. Pre-tax profits for the first half of the year were down 55 percent on the corresponding period last year at €1.01billion ($1.16 billion). The company said that while sales were down only slightly, costs soared as VW absorbed the expense of restructuring. The cost of developing new products also dragged profits downwards and the strength of the euro and slumping demand ate into its performance.

Group Seeks to Boost German Profile in Iraq


A task force supported by German midsize business sees good chances for German companies entering Iraq. "Made in Germany" is a statement of quality in Iraq, the Task Force for Rebuilding Iraq said. The initiative, supported by Germany's Foreign Office as well as by the German Industry Association, hopes for a doubling of trade volume with Iraq in the mid-term, from €6billion ($7.2 billion) to €10 or €12 billion. Above all, the task force wants the German Mittelstand, or midsize firms, to take part in rebuilding the Iraqi economy and increasing exports. Especially needed are Germany's expertise in machine buidling and construction, the group said.