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.
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
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.