Napster Tells Offspring To Stop Selling Bootleg Merchandise

Software company issues cease and desist order to pop-punk band.

Napster Inc., makers of controversial MP3 file-sharing software, slapped pop-punk band the Offspring with a legal order Friday (June 2) to stop selling merchandise imprinted with the Napster logo, a source close to the band confirmed.

A day earlier, another source in the Offspring camp said that if Napster issued a cease and desist order, it would "expose a huge hypocrisy."

Napster Inc. is embroiled in a series of lawsuits — filed by hard-rockers Metallica, rapper Dr. Dre and the Recording Industry Association of America — that claim the company is infringing on artists' copyrights by allowing users to freely trade near-CD-quality MP3 files of their work without permission.

The Offspring, who have praised Napster as a promotional tool for connecting fans with music, began selling T-shirts, hats and stickers emblazoned with the Napster logo via their Web site (www.offspring.com) on Wednesday without asking the San Mateo, Calif., company's permission.

The Napster name and logo are trademarks owned by the company, and may not be used by other parties, according to the Napster Web site (www.napster.com).

"It's all fair," an Offspring source said on Thursday. "We've already said you guys [can use] our stuff — we're gonna do yours, too. You shouldn't have any problem with that, should you?"

At press time, Napster spokesperson Tracy Mlakar had no information on the cease and desist order and could not comment.

(Senior Writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)