METALLICA AIM TO SEVER “MAIN ARTERY”

The kings of metal's battle with the software provider escalates...

Metallica have upped their offensive against Napster, claiming their goal now is to drive the MP3 software provider and website to the wall.

Speaking during a recent online interview, drummer Lars Ulrich said: “The ideal situation is clear and simple: to put Napster out of business.”

Frontman James Hetfield added:”There has to be somebody who steps up to represent musicians. No one else had the balls to step up and take the first step. Metallica has never been in the back seat. We’ve always been in the driver’s seat. We’ve always had opinions on it, and we’re voicing them as we speak.”

Metallica were the first high-profile act to take action against Napster. On April 13 they sued the MP3 software provider for copyright infringement in a suit that could run to US$10 million. And yesterday (May 4) they took the action a step further, delivering a list of 345,000 names to Napster headquarters they claim have acted illegally in downloading Metallica‘s music using the website’s software.

During the online chat, hosted on Tuesday (May 2) by [url=]www.artistdirect.com Ulrich assured fans that Metallica were not trying to alienate them and instead accused Napster of dirty tricks.

“We are going after Napster, the main artery here. We are not going after individual fans. Metallica has always felt fans are family,” he said. “Remember the reason we’re giving these names to Napster is because they dared us to come and prove to them that people were trading Metallica around through their vehicle. They refused to take Metallica off their list…now the ball is in their court again. Basically what Napster is doing [is] trying to make this an issue between Metallica and our fans and our friends, when the issue is really between Napster and Metallica.”

An estimated nine million users have swapped MP3 files using Napster to date.

A backlash against Metallica has alrady begun. Fans annoyed by their actions are alleged to have set up a website, exmetallicafans.org, calling for a boycott of their material. It cannot yet be found on the web.

Metallica themselves have encouraged fans to carry on bootlegging their live shows.

Ulrich concluded: “We still encourage fans to bring tape recorders to concerts and bootleg our shows. But what Napster does is illegal.”