Metallica fingers 335,435 Napster users

From Mat Honan <>
Date Tue, 2 May 2000 08:45:45 -0700

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Metallica fingers 335,435 Napster users
By John Borland, CNET
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 Web site to explain its fight against Napster.

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