Metal band Metallica, pushed by drummer Lars Ulrich, sued Napster in 2000, in an overwhelmingly bold move that pushed a revolution and transformed the face of music online. The suit named three offenses: copyright infringement, unlawful use of digital audio interface device, and Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). All Napster users found to have downloaded Metallica material were banned from the service- 300,000 in total. 30,000 of those users appealed the ban, and Metallica’s lawyer called them “liars”. Fans protested and rioted outside of their concerts.
A press release by Ulrich explained:
“With each project, we go through a grueling creative process to achieve music. . . We take our craft. . . very seriously, as do most artists. It is therefore sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity rather than the art that it is. From a business standpoint, this is about piracy- a/k/a taking something that doesn’t belong to you; and that is morally and legally wrong. . . trafficking in stolen goods.”
Courts ruled against Napster, and it essentially underwent a radical transformation to purge the service of infringement- Napster is now in close ties with record labels, and is, of course, no longer free.
As of 2010, Ulrich stands by his action, stating that he is proud of the destruction of Napster.