MTV: Did it feel like a real personal hurt on some level? Like a rejection of something that you were so proud of? Or were you angry more on behalf of the co-workers you have or the users who use your service?
Fanning: I was a bit angry for the co-workers, but I mean, mainly it was the users who I was concerned about, because... the reason I worked hard on the technology was because of the feedback that I was getting from people. To me, they were the ones being attacked, not necessarily me personally, or even the technology. My biggest concern was [the judge] was saying that these 20 million people are infringers, and we don't agree with that.
MTV: So she said that you had to shut your site down, essentially, as of midnight [PT] on Friday. How do you do that?
Fanning: That's a good question. I don't know. I mean, the way Napster works is [it's a] peer-to-peer system, so the actual contents of the files that people are exchanging exist on the users' machines. So we never actually see any of the material. Our service is based on the names people give the files. And so for us, it's a pretty big task that may not be possible.
MTV: So is somebody going to throw a switch or something? Or is somebody just going to go through file by file by file to see which one is potentially in violation of the judge's injunction? How are you going to get it done?
Fanning: We're thinking about that right now. I mean, we're going to do what we can, but right now I don't think a decision has been made as to how we are going to implement this, because it's really a difficult... it's a difficult problem.
MTV: So you're not sure you can make that deadline, at least in terms of what the judge is asking you to do?
Fanning: We're not sure. It may be that the only solution is to completely shut down the system. But we're going to fight as much as we can to keep that from happening.
MTV: That would hurt, right? That would hurt you to shut that down?
Fanning: Yeah. That would hurt.
MTV: Do you wish you could reach out to the record companies, to the artists who have objected to Napster? Have some sort of dialogue with them? Or has that time passed?
Fanning: Yeah. And you asked what we did last night... one of the things we determined was necessary was to have our users direct all this energy to the record companies themselves -- the five major labels -- and let them know how they feel about this decision. Because in reality, it is the record companies who are trying to shut down the system. If they can direct their ideas and their opinions to the record companies themselves, it may help. That information is currently available on our Web site.
MTV: So as they're sending you e-mails saying how much Napster means to them, it wouldn't hurt to copy that e-mail...
Fanning: Yeah, or e-mail them directly and give them their thoughts. Most of the e-mails that I get are, you know, "I'm purchasing more CDs," or, "What can I do to help you with this problem?" This is one of the things that we think they can do to help.
Explaining the "buy-cott," keeping positive, and fixing things up as they go along... NEXT >>>