Offspring, Napster Reach Peace Agreement

MP3-download software company, punk band to sell merchandise for charity.

Punk-pop pranksters the Offspring and embattled MP3-download software company Napster shook hands Monday (June 5) over the Offspring's previously unauthorized sale of merchandise imprinted with the Napster logo.

The two entities will work together to sell "a more complete line" of Napster merchandise and will donate the proceeds to an

as-yet-undisclosed charity, an official statement issued by Napster said.

"The Offspring have been great supporters of Napster," Napster founder Shawn Fanning, 19, said in the statement. "We are looking forward to working with them."

"T-shirts ... good," Offspring frontman Dexter Holland added to the statement, apparently a reference to the "Napster Bad" animated short, available at campchaos.com, which mocks hard-rockers Metallica for their tough anti-Napster stance. In the cartoon, a caricature of Metallica singer James Hetfield grunts "Napster bad ... money good."

Napster is embroiled in a series of copyright infringement lawsuits with Metallica, veteran rapper Dr. Dre and the Recording Industry Association of America — all of whom accuse the company of encouraging users to freely trade pirated, near-CD-quality copies of unauthorized MP3 song files such as Metallica's "And Justice for All" (RealAudio excerpt).

The Offspring, who have spoken out in favor of Napster as a promotional tool, began selling T-shirts, hats and stickers emblazoned with the Napster logo on their Web site Wednesday — apparently a

tongue-in-cheek attempt to see how the company would react to an attack on its own copyrighted material.

Napster filed a cease and desist order Friday, ordering the band to stop selling the merchandise.

"It would be very interesting if they would go, 'We're going to send them a cease and desist [order],' " a source close to the Offspring predicted before the stop order was filed, " 'Cause it would all of a sudden expose a huge hypocrisy.

"Or, it would really, really be interesting if all of a sudden they say, 'We think that's cool. We hope that more bands do that because the more Napster T-shirts out there, the cooler it is,' " the source said. "Ah! [That would suggest] these guys are genuine."

Napster spokesperson Roy Dank was unable to comment further on the agreement. Representatives of the Offspring had no comment.