On July 11, 2000, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich read testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee accusing Napster of copyright infringement. He explained that, that year, Metallica discovered that a demo of "I Disappear", a song set to be released with the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack, was being played on the radio.
“With each project,” read a press release from the band, “we go through a gruelling creative process to achieve music that we feel is representative of Metallica at that very moment in our lives. We take our craft — whether it be the music, the lyrics, or the photos and artwork — 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 — taking something that doesn't belong to you. And that is morally and legally wrong. The trading of such information – whether it's music, videos, photos, or whatever — is, in effect, trafficking in stolen goods.”
“Our beef hasn't been with the concept of sharing music; everyone knows that we've never objected to our fans trading tapes of our live concert performances. The problem we had with Napster was that they never asked us or other artists if we wanted to participate in their business. We believe that this settlement will create the kind of enhanced protection for artists that we've been seeking from Napster.”
For smaller artists, the pinch is far more acute. “Remember too, that my band, Metallica, is fortunate enough to make a great living from what it does,” Lars told a Senate Judiciary Hearing in July 2001. “Most artists are barely earning a decent wage and need every source of revenue available to scrape by.”
Although, ultimately, guitarist Kirk Hammett has acknowledged that Metallica achieved little with their crusade, looking back during a 2014 Reddit AMA, there was a hint of vindication for Lars. "I wish we had been better prepared for that shitstorm that we found ourselves in,” he wrote. “I was stunned that people thought it was about money. People used the word 'greed' all the time, which was so bizarre. The whole thing was about one thing and one thing only – control. Not about the internet, not about money, not about file sharing, not about giving shit away for free or not, but about whose choice it was. If I wanna give my shit away for free, I'll give it away for free. That choice was taken away from me."
It's funny, I just rewatched it too, also for the first time in I don't know how long. And while Lars often indeed comes off as a dickhead, I actually found myself having way more sympathy for him than I ever had before. I don't think I could stand being in a band with him, and while I don't think he deserves the amount of hate he gets, I too wish he would practice more (and I guess he finally started doing so at some point?), but as with the Napster issue, an awful lot of times in the documentary, I don't think he was (always) wrong--just annoying in expressing himself.I just re-watched Some Kind of Monster for the first time in at least 10 years. It is an absolutely fantastic documentary about the making of the worst record Metallica ever made. Lars comes off like a complete dickhead. It's awesome.
BTW, I'm not a Lars hater. I have tons of respect for both him and Metallica.
Which leads me to ask, "Who in their chain of studio people uploaded those tracks to be traded?" I mean...someone had to have done it & did Lars & Co. go after those folks?It was the fact that unreleased outtakes were being traded that initially drove their rage, and I don't blame him one bit.
I didn't hear about it either, but it stands to reason that if they went after Napster, they also tried to find out where the leak sprang from internally.Which leads me to ask, "Who in their chain of studio people uploaded those tracks to be traded?" I mean...someone had to have done it & did Lars & Co. go after those folks?
I don't remember hearing about that.
Good point & well said.I didn't hear about it either, but it stands to reason that if they went after Napster, they also tried to find out where the leak sprang from internally.
But, I mean...these kinds of leaks have been a thing since at least July 1969, when what's generally considered the first major bootleg—Great White Wonder, a collection of unreleased Bob Dylan recordings, some of which were later released as The Basement Tapes—hit the stores. Since then it's been a constant problem for artists, some of whom care more than others. My favorite record store growing up was shut down by the FBI in the 80s due to selling bootlegs, so it's not like going after those who distribute the bootlegs (many of which I paid way too much money for and absolutely adored!) is a new tactic. It's just that Napster and its successors were able to do it far more efficiently and with a far wider reach.
Which leads me to ask, "Who in their chain of studio people uploaded those tracks to be traded?" I mean...someone had to have done it & did Lars & Co. go after those folks?
I don't remember hearing about that.