DR DRE THREATENS NAPSTER

The beleaguered website and MP3 software provider picks up another enemy...

Hip-hop legend Dr Dre has followed Metallica‘s lead by taking a stand against the increasingly underfire website and MP3 software provider Napster [url=]www.napster.com.

DRE, real name Andre Young, has demanded they remove all his tracks from the site by Friday (April 21) or face legal action.

Metallica had gone a step further last Thursday (April 13) by taking the site to court in an action over copyright infringement. They are demanding US$100,000 for each Metallica track available to Napster users. There are thought to be 100 tracks.

Napster supplies software and access to a huge volume of material that allows users to build MP3 libraries fo their favourite tracks.

According to news service Reuters and website www.sonicnet.com, Dre issued a statement through his lawyer Howard King yesterday (April 13) warning that he was not “committed to suing Napster but that would be the logical conclusion if they don’t take it off their site.”

Metallica‘s action seems to have opened the floodgates for further lawsuits. Reuters reports that King, who represents both the metal giants and Dre, has been contacted by at least 10 artists or managers, plus a publishing company, since Metallica‘s action was made public.

Napster themselves have yet to publicy respond to Dre‘s ultimatum but were enraged by Metallica‘s legal move.

They accused the band of deliberately trying “to inflame the press and intimidate universities rather than to present legal issues to the court.”

Eileen Richardson, Napster CEO, said the company had a relaxed approach towards the bands whose material they supply access to. She also warned that they wouldn’t take action against them lying down.

“Many bands who have approached us, learned about Napster and how to leverage what we offer, understand the value of what we do,” she said. “But if these people insist on turning it over to the lawyers, we’ll defend the case on that turf.”

Napster, established in August 1999 by American teenager Shawn Fannin, has found support amongst webcrusiers and techheads of the world.

Hackers are alleged to have accessed the official Metallica website Napster[/a] Alone’ on the home page. It has since been removed.