Metallica's Lars Ulrich Vows To Keep Fighting Illegal MP3s

In TV debate, drummer goes toe-to-toe with rapper Chuck D, who comes to Napster's defense.

Outspoken Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich vowed to battle illegal MP3s to the end, while Net-savvy rapper Chuck D came to the defense of such controversial file-sharing companies as Napster, during a music-piracy debate on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show" Friday night.

Metallica's copyright-infringement suit against Napster Inc. should serve as a warning to other software makers, Ulrich said.

The hard-rock vets aim to "show to other upstart companies out there

that provide similar services that if you're going to do this, people

like Metallica — who have very deep pockets, who are very tenacious and very emotionally involved in trying to fight this — [will be] on your back all the time."

Napster links its users online, allowing them to search for MP3s on

other users' computers and download them for free, often without

permission of the copyright holder. Other programs, such as Gnutella and Scour Exchange, have sprung up in its wake.

During the courteous half-hour exchange, the two artists made many of

the same points they've been asserting since Metallica filed its case

last month.

Chuck D, leader of Public Enemy and founder of the Rapstation.com online music site, described Napster as a valuable promotion tool that shifts the balance of music-industry power back to music fans, after being controlled too long by lawyers and accountants.

Ulrich made the point that if people get used to having music for free, it will toss the notion of commerce and copyright on its head — a condition already too late to halt, according to Chuck D.

"The former rules are out of the door like an old baseball game," he

said.