After a yearlong skirmish in courtrooms, Metallica and Dr. Dre reached settlements today with Napster, after the two acts filed copyright infringement lawsuits against the music file-swapping software maker.
The California metal men and rap star, who share the same Los Angeles-based attorney, agreed to bring their suits to a close and will offer select material from their respective catalogs once Napster implements its subscriber-based service, which will compensate artists whose music is downloaded from the site.
“Our beef hasn’t been with the concept of sharing music; everyone knows that we’ve never objected to our fans trading tapes of our live concert performances,” Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said. “The problem we had with Napster was that they never asked us or other artists if we wanted to participate in their business. It’s good that they are going legit.”
“I work hard making music — that’s how I earn a living,” Dre said. “Now that Napster’s agreed to respect that, I don’t have any beef with them.”
The settlements were a bit of good news in a dreary week for Napster. On July 11th, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel ordered the company to remain off-line until it is able to ensure that 100 percent of unauthorized copyrighted material is eliminated from the site. Napster obeyed Patel’s order, but also filed an appeal.
Meanwhile, the reaction at the Napster camp remained upbeat about their latest supporters. “Metallica has taken a courageous stand and a tough and principled approach to the protection of its name and creative output,” Napster CEO Hank Barry said. “They brought to our attention essential artists’ rights issues, which we’ve addressed in our new technology. It’s clear that Metallica’s longevity and fan loyalty have been earned by looking forward, not backward.”
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Of Dre’s settlement, Barry added, “We’re pleased to report that our current system addresses his concerns and regret that we were not more sensitive to his concerns in the past.”
“We look forward to gaining Metallica’s support and respect, as we work to develop Napster into a tool that can be responsive both to artists’ needs to communicate their art and the desires of music lovers throughout the world,” said Napster founder and Metallica fan Shawn Fanning. “We’re pleased that this chapter is behind us.”