EXCESS DENIED!

Over 300,000 users have their access to the site blocked after a list of their names is submitted by Metallica's Lars Ulrich...

Napster, the Internet company at the centre of a worldwide MP3 file-swapping debate, has blocked the access of over 317,000 users alleged to be infringing Metallica‘s copyright.

Last Wednesday (May 3), Napster received a delivery of a list of 317,377 Napster user names from Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. All the names are alleged to be using Napster to infringe Metallica‘s copyright. The band requested that in compliance with policies outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Napster remove all the named users from the system.

In a statement posted on Napster‘s website, [url=]www.napster.com, they agree to “fully comply with the DMCA“. Napster software will now redirect all users alleged to be infringing on Metallica‘s copyright to an “infringement notification page”, explaining Metallica‘s complaint. It also gives users the opportunity to submit a counter notification should the user have been misidentified.

A Napster attorney told US reporters on Wednesday (May 10): “Napster has taken extraordinary steps to comply with Metallica‘s demands to block hundreds of thousands of its fans from using the Napster system. Napster has always stated that it would act in response to notice from copyright holders, and it has lived up to that commitment in good faith.”

Napster claim they will reinstate any user who disputes Metallica‘s allegation of copyright infringement. If after submitting a written counter notification of complaint to Napster, the user is not taken to court by the band within ten working days of Metallica being notified of the person’s identity, they will be reinstated with a Napster account.

On April 13, Metallica became the first major band to sue Napster for alleged copyright infringement. At the time Ulrich said: “This is not about Metallica versus the Internet. We know the Internet is the future in terms of spreading your music to your fans…but we want to control how that’s done, just like we’ve always controlled what we make.”

Napster have been in and out of US courts since, and on Tuesday (May 9) the company lost a significant court battle when a Californian Judge ruled that the company’s claim that the site is a “mere conduit” for music swapping to be false, and judged Napster should be liable for the copyright violations of its users.