When the history of the Napster case is written, Bertelsmann will go down as the only major music firm to have the intelligence to treat consumers like adults.Despite this, the speculation - a day after the landmark ruling that looks set to sink Napster - is that Bertelsmann may also jump ship because it can't make the business model work. That would be a shame. Undoubtedly Bertelsmann's owners, already unnerved by internal ructions within BMG, the company's music business, would be less than impressed by an embarrassing climb-down after such a high-profile endorsement of Napster (which is, after all, probably illegal). It was always going to be a risky strategy. Indeed, Bertelsmann's decision to make a deal with Napster may well have had as much to do with these internal power games as anything else. The rumour is that BMG found out about the deal at the same time as the rest of the world - that's right, via press release. Not the best way to get the corporate team onside. The deal marked a power shift within Bertelsmann that saw the firming up of CEO Thomas Middelhoff's position and a clearing out of some of his rivals. Three months and a new management team down the road, BMG is still part of the lawsuit against Napster that prompted the ruling yesterday. More importantly, Bertelsmann has been unable to get any of the other big five record companies - EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros - on board. They know consumers aren't going to pay a subscription fee for a service with music from just one music label. The worry is that this situation will force Bertelsmann to backtrack rather than expose the record companies for the laggards they are. Everyone knows Napster - as a free service - can't continue forever. But the record companies' attempts to tell 50 million users they are plain wrong is patronising and short-sighted. A fee-paying, properly copyright protected Napster would surely keep everyone - most importantly the music artists - happy. Most of the record companies just don't want to let anyone else have a piece of the pie, that's all. And if only for that reason, Bertelsmann deserves a bit of luck.