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InternetNews.com: Metallica Sues Up-Start Napster

Apr 14, 2000, 20:51 (8 Talkback[s])

By the InternetNews.com Staff

The hard-rock band Metallica became the first major recording act to sue Napster Inc., makers of the music-sharing program wreaking havoc on university campuses across the country.

Three universities allowing use of Napster on their networks, University of Southern California, Yale University and Indiana University, were also named in the suit.

Metallica's suit stipulates that Napster has infringed upon the band's ownership of its music as allowed for under copyright law. Metallica, unlike many recording acts, has full ownership of its own music, and is thus in a position to go after Napster directly for the alleged violations.

The Recording Industry Association of America earlier brought similar charges against Napster on behalf of record companies, who fear that Napster will erode their profits by allowing individuals to download free digital copies of popular music instead of purchasing CDs.

In a statement on Elektra's Web site, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich writes "from a business standpoint, this is about piracy ... taking something that doesn't belong to you; and that is morally and legally wrong."

Ulrich, Metallica, and Elektra allege that Napster and the universities have facilitated and encouraged users to unlawfully exchange copyrighted songs without the permission of the band, and have thus violated the law.

Reaction to the the suit in some online communities has been largely unfavorable. Slashdot.org's cover age of the story contains several user-submitted comments chastising the band for being money hungry.

Metallica has been very popular among Napsterites and MP3-afficianados -- nearly every Metallica song ever recorded is available for download over the 'Net, making the potential impact into Metallica's wallets more significant than most other bands, whose MP3 presence isn't quite as large.

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