The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
By SHENAZ BAGHA, Badger Herald
Published: May 17, 2000
(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. -- The debate over Napster, the controversial MP3 trading software company, continued as the company banned 317,377 users from its software Wednesday.
The users allegedly traded songs by Metallica, and were banned at the request of the band, which was the first band to sue Napster in April for copyright infringement and racketeering. Artists such as Dr. Dre followed Metallica's suit. Napster is also being sued currently by the Recording Industry Association of America.
"At the behest of the band, Napster has promptly instituted a block on more than 300,000 allegedly infringing Napster users," said Tracy Mlakar, a spokeswoman for Napster. "Blocked users who have not infringed on Metallica's rights may submit a counter notification in order to reinstate their Napster accounts. Napster respects the privacy of its users and has disclosed no personal information regarding their accounts."
The Napster software, widely used by UW-Madison students, is used to download songs over the Internet. Many fans of the software reacted with anger and disappointment to the ban.
"Metallica has become money-hungry," said Brett Running, a frequent Napster user who was banned from using the software Wednesday. "They've lost sight of what their songs are all about. They're going to lose a lot of fans over this."
Many people in the music industry said the practice of trading and downloading songs over the Internet is unfair because it violates copyright laws and creates music piracy.
"This is not about Metallica versus the Internet," said Lars Ulrich, the band's drummer, on the band's website. "We know that the Internet is the future in terms of spreading your music to your fans, and we're excited about that. But we want to control how that is done, just like we've always controlled what we make. We object to the companies that take the liberty of providing that access without asking us and Napster never came and asked us first."
The band has been defending its actions against Napster to angry and upset fans who have bombarded them with questions about why they are opposed to the trading software.
"Metallica effectively restricted the free exchange of any music by these users, including so-called 'bootleg' recordings authorized by Metallica for free distribution," Mlakar said.
Access to Napster has been denied by many universities across the United States, including UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville, who claim that the software slows down the schools' servers.
Napster says it is only a conduit for trading songs and should not be liable for copyright infringements and music piracy. The company argued in U.S. District Court that it is protected by a provision in a federal law that limits the liability of Internet service providers who are sued for the actions of their users.
However, many Napster users say the ban will prove to be a small setback.
"Time to uninstall and reinstall with a different username," Running said. "I don't know if I should be sad or if I will be able to look back on this in 20 years and tell my children that I was one of the first people banned from Napster."
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