Metallica & Napster controversy:

In 2000, Metallica discovered that a demo of their song "I Disappear" was being distributed via the Napster P2P file-sharing network. Not only was the song unfinished, it was supposed to be released in combination with the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack.

They soon discovered that in addition to the demo, their entire catalogue was freely available. The band initiated legal action against Napster, demanded that 300,000 Napster users found to be trading Metallica songs be banned from the network. Legal actions were also filed against Yale University, University of Southern California, and Indiana University for not blocking Napster from their campuses. In 2001, Metallica and Napster agreed to an out-of-court settlement which led to Napster user accounts being locked out (the band did not take legal action against any individuals for copyright infringement). This led to Lars Ulrich providing a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding copyright infringement on July 11, 2000.

The lawsuit created a public relations nightmare. Throughout the controversy, websites hosted cartoon parodies of band members, portraying them as selfish rock stars who were out of touch with their fans. The most popular of these was a cartoon parody entitled Napster Bad!, by Camp Chaos, which spawned an entire series. Critics mocked Ulrich by spelling his name as "Lar$". In retaliation to the controversy, Ulrich appeared during the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, in a skit with that year's host Marlon Wayans, that blasted the idea of using Napster to share music. Marlon played a college student sitting in his dorm room, listening to Metallica's "I Disappear". Ulrich, playing himself, walked in and asked for an explanation. Upon receiving Wayans' excuse that using Napster was just "sharing", Lars retorted that Marlon's idea of sharing was simply borrowing things that were not yours without asking. He called in the Metallica road crew, who proceeded to confiscate all Wayans' belongings, leaving him almost nude in an empty room. Napster creator Shawn Fanning responded later in the ceremony by presenting an award wearing a Metallica shirt, saying "I borrowed this shirt from a friend. Maybe, if I like it, I'll buy one of my own".

Public ridicule was widespread as Metallica had gotten their start via underground trading of bootleg recordings of their performances.Metallica's defense was that Napster was allowing free access to their back catalogue and not live bootleg recordings, which the band had always encouraged. In 2006, years after the controversy, Metallica was still subject to ridicule for its actions, even being named #17 on Blender magazine's list of "biggest wusses in rock" for its "anti-Napster crusade".

Since 2003, however, the band, Lars in particular, has warmed up to the digital media age, and has since withdrawn itself from any further actions against any P2P sites.


Anonymous said...

Im doing a report on this @ school. Lots of people hate metallica for this.

Anonymous said...

A walking foot is aye getting.