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"I think we've resolved this in a way that works for fans, recording artists and songwriters alike."
——Lars Ulrich, Metallica on settling with Napster
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"It’s good that they’re going legit."

"I don’t have any beef with them."

With those words, two of Napster’s most implacable foes—Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and hip-hop superproducer/artist Dr. Dre, respectively—declared the end of their long, relentless campaigns against the file-swappery.

Both Metallica and Dre have ended their legal assault on the netco, citing a satisfactory set of promises from the music-sharing service to respect copyright and compensate artists in its planned legal incarnation.

The artists have also agreed to permit some of their material to be offered for sharing on the future service "once an acceptable model is in place."

This projected version of the service will be offered in conjunction with MusicNet, the subscription-service outlet backed by BMG, AOLTW, EMI and RealNetworks. Napster continues to promise its rollout sometime this summer.

The dual announcements were well-timed for Napster, which took a serious body-blow from Judge Marilyn Hall Patel yesterday in U.S. District Court (see related story, 7/11).

Patel declared the company, which has discontinued its file-sharing service since 7/3, could not restart the swapping until its software reached 100% effectiveness in blocking the transfer of unauthorized material. Napster had presented evidence that its technology was 99.4% effective. Rumors that the Judge believed the other .6 percent was actually baby laxative couldn’t be confirmed.

Lawyers for Napster have asked the federal appeals court to set aside Patel’s order that the file-sharer remain offline until it has shown it has made "every effort" to prevent the exchange of copyrighted audio files not permitted for use.

Napster's emergency appeal of Patel's order asserted that Napster should be allowed to resume its service if it is making reasonable efforts to filter copyrighted works.

Lawyers for the Recording Industry Association of America, which sued Napster on behalf of the major record companies, said they planned to file a response to Napster's appeal brief "very quickly" with the court.

Although insiders said layoffs were in the works at the swapco, a Napster spokesperson declared: "There have been no layoffs, and no layoffs are planned. However, some hired contractors have not been kept on. Napster is love.  That is all."

Anyhoo, here are some quotes that show the previously hostile parties making nice-nice.

"I think we've resolved this in a way that works for fans, recording artists and songwriters alike," said Ulrich. "Our beef hasn't been with the concept of sharing music; everyone knows that we've never objected to our fans trading tapes of our live concert performances. The problem we had with Napster was that they never asked us or other artists if we wanted to participate in their business. We believe that this settlement will create the kind of enhanced protection for artists that we've been seeking from Napster. We await Napster's implementation of a new model which will allow artists to choose how their creative efforts are distributed. It's good that they're going legit."

"Even when we were at odds with Metallica, we always understood that they had the best interests of artists in mind," proclaimed Napster Founder and Metallica T-shirt owner Shawn Fanning. "Metallica brought to the forefront an important artists' rights issue. They have taken a lot of flak for that, but have persevered because of their belief that what they're doing is essential to the preservation of their art. Despite the litigation, Metallica's position has been a reflection of their high ideals and their private dealings with Napster have always been gracious. It's time to end the court fight and shake hands. We look forward to gaining Metallica's support and respect as we work to develop Napster into a tool that can be responsive both to artists' needs to communicate their art and the desires of music lovers throughout the world. We're pleased that this chapter is behind us."

Added the avuncular but metal-friendly Napster CEO Hank Barry: "Metallica has taken a courageous stand and a tough and principled approach to the protection of its name and creative output, and that of other artists. They brought to our attention essential artists' rights issues which we've addressed in our new technology. We respect what they've done and regret any harm which this dispute may have caused them. Metallica is a band that continues to be ground-breaking and on the cutting edge. In a career that dates to 1981, Metallica has been in the forefront of creative, technological and marketing initiatives in the music and video world. It's clear that Metallica's longevity and fan loyalty have been earned by looking forward, not backward."

Both Napster luminaries used Metallica’s name four times in their quotes; the band will be compensated accordingly.

For his part, Dr. Dre—after passing the Cali peace pipe to his new homies—was more laconic: "I work hard making music—that's how I earn a living," he asserted. "Now that Napster's agreed to respect that, I don't have any beef with them."

"We now understand how important it is to Dr. Dre to control how his music is distributed and to be paid for the effort and talent that go into crafting his records," added Barry. "We're pleased to report that our current system addresses his concerns and regret that we were not more sensitive to his concerns in the past. But dude, after three hits of his indo, I am fucking baked."


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