Dr. Dre Slaps Napster With Warning

Less than one week after Metallica became the first musical act to levy legal action against the online music distribution company Napster, Dr. Dre has apparently set his sights on the tech outfit as well.

According to Reuters, Dre and his lawyers have issued a letter to Napster giving the site until Friday to remove the rapper’s songs from its pool of available MP3s.

Napster aims to give users one simple interface through which to search for and download MP3s of their favorite songs. Dre reportedly shares Metallica’s views that this constitutes copyright infringement.

Perhaps not all that coincidentally, Dre’s lawyer, Howard King, is also representing Metallica in that band’s lawsuit against Napster.

As we first reported last week, the heavy metal titans have sued Napster as well as U.S.C., Yale, and Indiana University charging copyright infringement, among other claims (see “Metallica Sets Legal Sights On
Napster”
).

Dre has reportedly yet to make up his mind about a similar suit, though King told Reuters, “That would be the logical conclusion if they don’t take it off their site.”

King also told Reuters that at least ten other acts have approached him about filing suit against Napster.

King was unavailable for comment at press time, and a spokesperson for Dre’s record label, Interscope Records, chose to reserve comment on the matter.

Metallica’s suit (levied against Napster as well as U.S.C., Yale, and Indiana University) charges those defendants with copyright infringement, unlawful use of a digital audio interface device, and violations of the Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act for “encourag[ing] and enabl[ing] visitors to its website to unlawfully exchange with others copyrighted songs and sound recordings without the knowledge or permission of Metallica.”

Napster contends that the band made no effort to contact the
tech company, and that if it had, “We would be happy to speak to the artists or to their management. Many bands who have approached us learned about Napster and how to leverage what we offer and understand the value of what we do. But if these people insist on turning it over to the lawyers, we’ll defend the case on that turf” (see “Napster, Hackers Strike Back At Metallica” ).

For complete digital music coverage, check out the Digital Music Reports.