Following the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the injunction against Napster on February 12th, Metallica, the file-sharing company’s most vocal opponents, expressed their approval of the court’s decision. “We are delighted that the Court has upheld the rights of all artists to protect and control their creative efforts,” the statement said, echoing the sentiments of the Recording Industry Association of America’s CEO Hilary Rosen. “The Ninth Circuit Court has confirmed that musicians, songwriters, filmmakers, authors, visual artists and other members of the creative community are entitled to the same copyright protections online that they traditionally have been afforded offline.”
From the time Metallica first filed their own suit against Napster last April, the group, and most specifically drummer Lars Ulrich, argued that artists’ should have a choice as to whether they are featured on Napster. Their statement reiterated that point: “We have never objected to the technology, the Internet or the digital distribution of music. All we have ever asked is that artists be able to control how, when and in what form their creativity is distributed through these channels. This is something that Napster has continually refused to do. Now the court has made that decision for them.”
Not so, according to Napster CEO Hank Barry. According to his statement on Napster.com — which is still up and running until the lower court judge who initially ordered the injunction last July revises that court order — the company plans to take the case to the appellate courts. “While we respect the Court’s decision, we believe, contrary to the Court’s ruling today, that Napster users are not copyright infringers and we will pursue every legal avenue to keep Napster operating,” Barry said.
Barry went on to say that Napster would keep up its negotiation efforts with record labels to come to an “industry supported solution.” Those efforts resulted in three major settlements for Napster with Bertelesmann Music Group, and distributors, Edel in Germany and TVT in the U.S. “Finally,” Barry added, “even if Napster file-sharing is shut down while our trial is pending, we will do whatever we can to work within the limits of the injunction to continue to provide more than fifty million Napster community members access to music.”
Metallica fan and Napster founder Shawn Fanning echoed Barry’s intention of negotiating with the major labels. “The new technologies we are developing are amazing,” he said. “I hope that, by further court review or by agreement with the record companies, we can find a way to share them with the community.” Fanning went on to thank the “Napster community” and urged users to appeal to Congress to keep the site going.