Ulrich, along with Dr Dre‘s attorney Howard King and Napster founders Hank Barry and Shawn Fanning, went to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (July 11) to discuss the issues surrounding the controversial music downloading software.
Ulrich compared Napster to walking into a record store, taking what you want and walking out, without fear of arrest. He continued: “Napster hijacked our music without asking. They never sought our permission.
“Just like a carpenter who crafts a table gets to decide whether to keep it, sell it, or give it away, shouldn’t we have the same options? My band authored the music which is Napster‘s lifeblood. We should decide what happens to it, not Napster.”
Ulrich maintained that they would embrace digital technology, however, he raised concern that it was currently not possible. He argued: “How can we embrace a new format and sell our music for a fair price when someone, with a few lines of code, and no investment costs, creative input, or marketing expenses, simply gives it away? How does this square with the level playing field of the capitalist system? In Napster‘s brave new world, what free market economy models support our ability to compete? The touted ‘new paradigm’ that the Internet gurus tell us we Luddites must adopt sounds like old-fashioned trafficking in stolen goods.”
Orrin Hatch, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee added: “We must protect the rights of the creator, but we cannot in the name of copyright unduly burden consumers and the promising technology the Internet presents for all of us,”
Napster boss Hank Barry was more reserved, and reiterated Napster‘s argument that music sales are actually increasing as a indirect result of the software. He continued: “Americans love music, and Americans are listening to and making music like never before. Napster‘s success reflects that love of music.
“Like other advances in technology, what Napster shows is that more access to music leads to more interest in music… Every time a new technology makes it easier for listeners to discover, enjoy and share music, the recording and music publishing industry benefits.”
The full transcript of Ulrich‘s statement is available on www.napster.com.