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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
Metallica's offline request
Metallica
Noisy protest: Metallica round on Napster
Rock giants Metallica are demanding online music service Napster cut off 335,000 users who they say have been illegally trading their songs.

The band have passed on the names of all those they consider to be "stealing" their material over the internet.

It is the latest development in an ongoing battle over the protection of music copyrights on the web.

Napster's software allows users to search for songs on MP3 and download them directly from one another's hard drives.


Lars Ulrich
Down in the mouth: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich

The US firm says it is not doing anything illegal because it does not directly provide the copyrighted music.

But Metallica and rap star Dr Dre are both taking court action in an attempt to block users from accessing their songs.

Lars Ulrich, the heavy metal band's drummer, hand-delivered 60,000 pages containing the screen names of the people they want removed from Napster's service.

"If they want to steal Metallica's music, instead of hiding behind their computers in their bedrooms and dorm rooms, they should go down to Tower Records and grab them off the shelves," Ulrich stated.

The band said the alleged misuse of their copyrighted material had been monitored and logged by computer consultants NetPD.

Family

Metallica actively encourage fans to record bootlegs of their concerts, but believe there is a big difference between live recordings and high-quality digital copies of studio recordings being traded on the net.

In a web chat earlier this week, frontman James Hetfield said: "We are going after Napster, the main artery. We are not going after individual fans. Metallica has always felt fans are family."

Napster has hinted that it may comply with the request to remove the users, but company founder Shawn Fanning, 19, said: "I'm a huge Metallica fan and I am really sorry that they're going in this direction.



Not the enemy: Rapper Chuck D favours Napster service

"If we got the opportunity to explain to the band why Napster exists and why fans enjoy Napster, perhaps we could bring all of this to a peaceful conclusion."

Not all bands are against them. US rockers Limp Bizkit recently announced details of a Napster-sponsored tour and Public Enemy star Chuck D says the service is a way to reach out to new fans.

In an article in the New York Times, he wrote: "I believe that artists should welcome Napster.

"We should think of it as a new kind of radio - a promotional tool that can help artists who don't have the opportunity to get their music played on mainstream radio or TV."

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See also:

27 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Rapper Dre sues MP3 site
03 Mar 00 | Education
Students fight music web ban
25 Apr 00 | Entertainment
MP3 site takes the Bizkit
24 Jan 00 | Business
Record companies sue MP3.com
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