Lars Ulrich Tells Senate Committee Napster 'Hijacked' Metallica's Music

Sen. Orrin Hatch downloads Creed MP3 at hearing.

MTV News Online

WASHINGTON, D.C.

color="#003163">Metallica drummer Lars

Ulrich told a Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (July 11) that

Napster "hijacked" his band's music by making it available for anyone to download

for free.

Ulrich and Napster CEO Hank Barry appeared before Senate Judiciary Committee

Chairman Orrin Hatch to discuss the highly charged subject of digital-music

copyrights.

The outspoken drummer used the forum to blast Napster, the music-swapping

software company Metallica is suing for allegedly promoting copyright

infringement. "Napster hijacked our music without asking," he said. "They never

sought our permission. Our catalog of music simply became available for free

downloads on the Napster system.

"I do not have a problem with any artist voluntarily distributing his or her songs

through any means that artist so chooses, but just like a carpenter who crafts a table

gets to decide whether he wants to keep it, sell it, or give it away, shouldn't we have

the same options?" he asked. "We should decide what happens to our music, not a

company with no rights, no recordings, which has never invested a penny in our

music or anything to do with its creation. A choice has been taken away from us.

"With Napster, every song by every artist is available for download at no cost, and

of course with no payment to the artist, the songwriter, or the copyright holder,"

Ulrich continued. "If you're not fortunate enough to own a computer, there is only

one way to assemble a music collection the equivalent of a Napster user: theft."

As the hearing got under way, Hatch downloaded music by the rock band

color="#003163">Creed to show the ease of downloading tracks via the

Web.

Napster CEO Barry defended his company, saying "Napster's success reflects [a]

love of music. Napster does not copy files. It does not provide the technology for

copying files. Napster does not make MP3 files. It does not transfer files. Napster

simply facilitates communication among people interested in music. ... Napster is

helping, not hurting, the recording and music publishing industry and artists. A

chorus of studies shows that Napster users buy more records as a result of using

Napster, and that sampling music before buying is the most important reason people

use Napster."

MP3.com CEO Michael Robertson and

color="#003163">Byrds frontman Roger

McGuinn also expressed the need to allow online music-distribution

technology to grow.