Singer/actor talks about his role in Facebook film 'The Social Network' playing file-sharing network's co-founder

Justin Timberlake has said that he probably would have illegally downloaded music if he had attended university when Napster first appeared online as a file-sharing network.

The singer/actor stars in new film The Social Network as Sean Parker, who as well as having a role in establishing Facebook, was also a co-founder of Napster.

Speaking to NME in a video interview about the new film (watch the interview on the right now), Timberlake said he sympathised with the makers of the file-sharing program, who were sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America in 1999.

“It [illegal downloading] didn’t affect me so much – when it came out I was probably about 19,” he said, “so I understood both sides of it. If I hadn’t dropped out of school I probably would have been at university and I probably would have been downloading music if it was that easy to.”

He added: “So I identify very emotionally with the defendants, being college kids, that these labels were going after.”

Timberlake explained that the music industry should shoulder some of the blame for the negative effect that sites like Napster had on record sales.

“The record companies should take responsibility for not being of the time and not paying closer attention to what was going on. I don’t think one person sitting in a dorm room killed the music industry,” he explained.

“On the other side I know songwriters who had to take up different jobs because they don’t get to perform onstage, they don’t have endorsement deals. They get a small piece of the small pie to begin with.”

Watch the full video interview with Timberlake on the right.

The Social Network is released in UK cinemas tomorrow (October 15).