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May 2000

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Metallica to Fans: "Kill 'Em All!!!"

Weird Al, on Napster from Ask Al on his site:

Jeremy McCarthy of Fairfield, CT asks:

Hey Al!!!!! What do u think about Napster ? I just want to know if you approve.

I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I m concerned that the rampant downloading of my copyright-protected material over the Internet is severely eating into my album sales and having a decidedly adverse effect on my career. On the other hand, I can get all the Metallica songs I want for FREE! WOW!!!!!

Metallica is a rock band that came from practically nowhere to become one of the biggest selling bands of all time with its unique brand of Heavy Metal. They truly are rock and roll rebels, making it big their way and on their terms.

Sometimes, success can go to your head.

In what may be the worst business decision in rock music since Van Halen decided to dump Sammy Hagar's ass for that dude from Extreme, Metallica has decided to battle Napster in court over the usage of its website and software in what the band claims is illegal trading of software. This charge can be debated: what is unique in the Metallica case is it has also decided to punish its fans for the unforgiveable offense of trading its songs as MP3 files.

Metallica has become such a huge rock band thanks to a fan base that is rabidly devoted. Thanks to such a large fan base, their 1991 album (called The Black Album due to its cover) has been certified Diamond, meaning it has sold over 10 million copies in the US.

Metallica's claim of being victimized by Napster and its fans is bogus: anyone interested in getting their music for free can easily copy from CD the album without computers (and, with over 10 million copies of The Black Album out there, it isn't difficult to find.) What is very likely is that Metallica will victimize itself with its self-destructive lawsuit, targeting the fans that have turned them into the rich assholes they've apparently become.

In any case, for those who do feel bad for poor oppressed Metallica, please visit PayLars.com, which has decided to raise money for Lars and the boys since they're obviously hurting.

 

The following is from CNET. Please visit their site in thanks for this report.

Metallica fingers 335,435 Napster users

By John Borland

Staff Writer, CNET News.com

May 1, 2000, 6:30 p.m. PT

Metallica has been taking names.

The heavy metal band, which is suing music-swapping company Napster for what the musicians say are massive copyright violations, says it has identified more than 335,000 individuals who were allegedly sharing the band's songs online in violation of copyright laws.

The band's attorneys will deliver close to 60,000 pages of documents to the small software company Wednesday afternoon, asking that Napster block all of those individuals from the service. It's the first time Napster or other file-swapping software users have been identified in bulk as potential copyright pirates.

"I don't know if it's going to put a chill on the user end," said Howard King, the Los Angeles attorney who represents Metallica and rap artist Dr. Dre, who also is suing Napster. "But it certainly is going to show other artists what they can do to get their work out of Napster."

The massive number of individual names to be unloaded on Napster's front door could send shock waves through the online music community. Many individuals using the software or rival products believed they were operating anonymously or that individual actions would go unnoticed among the massive quantity of files being traded at any given time.

Napster and a handful of similar programs have allowed hundreds of thousands of computer users to open their hard drives and share music files with others online. People can remain superficially anonymous, but enough information is transmitted by the Napster service to track many individuals to their specific computers, network administrators say.

Attorneys for Metallica say they hired NetPD, an online consulting firm, to monitor the Napster service this past weekend. The firm came up with more than 335,000 individual users who had made the band's content available online, the lawyers said.

Napster has consistently refused to remove specific artists' content from its service, noting that it is only a directory for the individuals who are trading the files. But the company has said it would eject users who are specifically identified as copyright violators.

Napster had no comment on the news.

Metallica's action is the latest development in what appears to be a campaign aimed at dissuading people from using Napster by adding an element of risk.

The band initially sued three universities that allowed students to use Napster, charging that they were assisting in copyright piracy. All three quickly backed down, blocking or sharply restricting use of the software on their campuses.

Metallica and Dr. Dre also included slots for unnamed students and universities in their lawsuits, saying they would be added later as the musicians obtained more information.

The current list of Metallica song-traders will only be given to Napster and will not be included in the lawsuit, King said. Dr. Dre has not yet conducted his own search for pirates, but the same techniques will likely be applied to the rapper's work if Napster does respond, the attorney added.

Another lawsuit against Napster, filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), is in federal court, where a judge is expected to make a preliminary ruling any day.

Metallica is scheduled to chat with fans online tomorrow at the Artistdirect.com Web site to explain its fight against Napster.

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