Well, youve been months and months into it. How different
does it feel now dealing with the Napster issue than when you
first dealt with it? Is there still the same sense of burning
injustice or has it become a chore?
I think the main difference between now and four months ago, is
really that Napster the company is increasingly taking a lesser
role in this. Weve been fighting this as a direct legal
action against the company Napster, but at the same time, the
bigger picture is really trying to get people to understand what
its about, to understand the enormity of the issue and to
understand what it really means.
Are you talking about copyright?
I mean the idea of basically file swapping on the internet
what it really means, not just to musicians, but to artists of
all kinds, you know from obviously movies, literature or poetry
and so on. But increasingly its starting to reach new levels.
Like theres a site we just heard about a few days ago where
you can basically swap copyrighted video games, for Nintendo and
Playstation and all this kind of stuff. People are complaining
about things like, well I know this might sound a little silly,
but things like recipes lifted out of cookbooks tat are owned
and are being traded on the Internet. Things like, once again
I know this may sound silly, but sewing patterns that people have
copyrighted. So whats going on is basically that you had
an issue which is should people be allowed to freely share
anything they want on the Internet that is copyrighted? Thats
the bigger picture at the moment what were trying
to get people to understand. The idea of do you want to
live in that kind of society where the mob rules mentality becomes
the main thing and that because the technology exists
then its OK. The Napster thing is increasingly more
of a sidebar that is ultimately out of our hands, because its
being played out in the courts of California. So what has been
taking up my time, and what I is really much more valuable right
now, is public education: getting people to really understand
what this is about and trying and get people away from the selfish
ignorance of, you know hes just taking my ability
to download a song off the internet.
Can you put yourself in the shoes of a 15 or 18 year old kid,
as you once were, when you were trading tapes and so on and so
forth and can you understand why it might be harder for someone
who has not had the passage of life that you have had to grasp
the finer points of honor and copyright?
Of course I can. But thats kinda irrelevant. I mean, its
like asking if you werent a drummer in a rock band
what would you be doing? OK so, uh, of course if I was 15
then, sure. But Im not 15, Im 36 years old and I have
been through what I have been through.
But its not irrelevant when youre trying to educate
an entire fan base as to where youre coming from. Surely
if you can empathize with them a little bit, your point will find
it that much more easier to get across. Or are you quite happy
with the ease with which its been getting across?
Well, I sort of have this quiet peace with the fact that anybody
who doesnt really get it, or is vehemently opposed to what
were saying, doesnt know the information or doesnt
really understand the issue, so it comes out of ignorance more
so than anything. I dont really fell that its an issue;
you cannot really oppose the fact that whoever creates something
should have the right to decide what happens to it. Its
not an argument.
And thats not even the argument here. My question to you
is are you not interested in being, in this case, the kindly
educator to your fans?
Thats what I was just saying. I think I just spent 10 minutes
saying that thats were trying to do. So you try and
come up with basic sort of analogies and stuff like that people
can understand. Bottom line is that for every 15 year old that
sits there and thinks that its really exciting to do something
in the privacy of their own which is potentially illegal
hopefully by the time they get to be 20 and 25 or theyll
understand that its not the right thing to do and that you
try and appeal to peoples decency and sense of right and
wrong, especially in terms of Metallica fans. If you want to be
a Metallica fan, whether you agree with the position as a whole,
if you want to be a Metallica fan and hang out and follow what
we do then at least FUCKING respect what it is were trying
to do. Yknow, find a way to correlate something between
respecting our music, respecting what we do live, being a follower
of the band and understand for better or worse, this is part of
the ride at the moment. It shouldnt really affect that much
of your day to day life as a Metallica fan, because I presume
that most hardcore Metallica fans dont have a particular
need to swap our copyrighted songs off our records. And as weve
said a thousand times, theres no issue with them swapping
any live bootlegs or any kind of live recordings, or any kind
of rare appearances.
When did you guys come to that conclusion a few years ago?
When did that distinction become clear to you? When did you realize
you know, if youre going to tape a live show and
swap tapes that its cool?
I think basically what it all boils down to, is all roads lead
down to the same point that people tend to overlook, which is
it war our choice to let people tape our shows.
Right. And Im interested to know when that choice was made.
That choice was made before the Black album tour,
when we invented something called the taper section. You could
buy a ticket to a specific spot in the arena where you were welcome
to set up any kind of audio equipment of your theres
that word again, choice. (laughs).
And you were the first, other than the Grateful Dead, probably
the first band to embrace that.
Probably, yeah. Weve always felt that for the small percentage
who are interested in hearing every sour note or every fucked-up
drum fill from any of our performances, that they were welcome
to do that, and it was not something that we would prevent people
from doing or use time and energy to stop happening.
There were a couple of other areas that will relate that I want
to get into. Could you explain the reasons behind you suing your
record company when you did, and how the general premise behind
that might relate to the whole premise behind this fight against
Napster. I believe you were one of the first bands to do that
with your record label, right?
Yeah, I mean in 1994 when we sued our record company, we were
basically wanting ownership of the songs that we wrote. We felt
that by us not owning what we created, the possibilities for our
songs to be used for something other than what we wanted later
on was there. One of the clearer things that sparked it off, was
when some of the Beatles songs were made available for Nike commercials
in the early 90's, outside of their willingness because somebody
else owned them. So we felt that we didn't want to see Leper Messiah
end up as background music in a toothpaste commercial (laughter),
unless it was something that we wanted and the choice came from
us. So now we retain the rights to any master recordings we have
ever made, master recordings basically being any songs that we
have written and that have appeared on our studio albums.
So, it could me said that the whole course of controlling your
own music started for real then and thats when that whole
phase of control...(Lars jumps in)
Sure, yeah, right! There are some people that...and this is where
I dont have a problem with people disagreeing...some people
call wanting to control what you create either selfish or old
fashioned or outdated or whatever. Thats fair enough. I
dont have a problem with people having different positions
on that. But I have a problem with people not respecting my right
to want to control it. In the course of the last few months, you
hear so many different things all of the time, so many off the
wall arguments, so many different analogies. But I think its
very clear that if you follow what we have been doing for 15-20
years, and know our position on it, that we do what we do for
one reason and one reason only; for ourselves, for our ultimate
enjoyment and ourselves getting off on being in a band, writing
songs. The fact that other people relate to it, and get off on
it too, is obviously a wonderful thing, but weve always
had a very selfish attitude when it comes to that because weve
never felt we had to answer to anybody. The minute that you sit
down and start thinking or contemplating what people want from
you and how they want it, then it becomes something that you do
to make people happy. And so then I think it becomes polluted
and it becomes tainted and loses some of its purity. So, in order
for us to be the purest and most unpolluted band that we can be,
we have to look at it as a very selfish thing because that is
why people, and how people, get off on it. They know that whatever
they think of it, from a creative point of view its not
motivated by anything other than keeping ourselves happy and doing
whats right for us. That is a premise that not every band
subscribes too, and thats fine. A lot of bands have this
sort of give the people what they want, were doing
it for the fans mentality and all that type of stuff. I
think people have sort of gotten their wires crossed a couple
of times with this whole thing, because we are so accessible.
Because we treat our fans with dignity and respect and so on,
people put this kind of brand Metallica the fans band, Metallica
the peoples band which I have no problem with. But
were not doing it for the fans we do it for ourselves
and ultimately the fans get something out of it.
Do you feel that the record labels fucked you/others by being
slow off the mark and not actually making you aware of the full
possibilities, potential and possible ramifications of digital
One issue that comes up a lot is that because of our stance on
Napster that we are pro-record company. That is not true. Im
not particularly pro-record company, Im not particularly
anti-record company. Im pro Metallica, and at the end of
the day Im doing this because Im pro-Metallica. Thats
the only thing that I really care about. Yes, the record companies
have made many, many mistakes in this whole thing, the record
companies have been arrogant, the record companies have been aloof,
the record companies have not been keeping their feet and ears
to the ground. I think they treated the whole digital Internet
music thing as something that was not a threat, as something of
a joke. So that certainly bit the record companies in the ass.
I would say that the biggest mistake that the record companies
have probably made, was that people like Sean Fanning, and people
who have written all of these programs, should be working for
the bands and for the record companies to come up with a solution.
So, clearly the record companies fucked up and made many, many
mistakes on this. But a lot of the arguments that go out from
people that are pro-Napster are that the record companies are
these big, greedy, horrible institutions that just fuck the bands,
fuck the consumers, fuck everybody and are run by these fat fucking
cigar smoking guys on 52nd floors in buildings in New York. And
that is something that I also cant agree with. Record companies
exist as a business, record companies spend millions and millions
of dollars on basically trying to sell records thats
the business theyre in. For every successful record that
a record company puts out, theres fucking nineteen unsuccessful
records that nobody ever hears about, and there are a lot of good
people and a lot of passionate people that work at record companies,
who are really pushing and trying to help artists and to get artists
out there. The problem with this whole analogy of making the record
companies disappear because theyre evil, and
then turning what the record companies do over to Napster-like
services, is that Napster-like servers dont promote, they
dont market and they dont build any kind of awareness
of bands. There are some basic facts here. It is a fact that there
is no band that has ever really broken, or become successful,
through the Internet alone. Theres this thing some people
say that everybodys music should be equally available on
the Internet, which I dont in theory have any kind of problem
with, as long as the artist chooses and the artists are part of
that choice. The reason that Korn becomes successful and the reason
that Limp Bizkit becomes successful, the reason that all of these
other bands become successful, is because record companies sit
there and pour hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars into
making videos and into marketing them so you hear about them.
They spend lots of money giving them tour support and slots on
fucking tours so you hear about them. So, if Korn and Limp Bizkit,
for example OK, were just Korn and Limp Bizkit on the Internet
through the new artist category on Napster, you would never know
anything about Korn and Limp Bizkit that would make them stand
out from the bands next to them.
Right, without any special marketing.
Right. So, the bottom line is that no band will ever really break
from the Internet alone without the aid of some kind of record
company. Theres only 24 hours in a day, we talked about
this before, and people do not have enough time to sit down and
listen to every single posted file on the Internet to see were
the next Limp Bizkit or the next Korn is.
Well, let me tell you, the labels are not exactly launching off
the right fucking foot in the great digital divide. Because if
you go to EMIs downloadable albums, you can buy certain
artists albums for roughly $ 13.99. I mean, I dont know
any sane individual who is going to download an album for $ 13.99
that they can go and buy in a shop for the same price. I mean
surely for the same...(Lars interrupts)
A couple of things. It is not my responsibility to defend record
companies. It is not my responsibility to come up with what will
work on the Internet. Ive been to busy in the last four
months fighting whats unjust and fighting on behalf of what
my rights are and should be. So, Im not saying I have the
solution yet. The record companies have certainly been arrogant.
We are still dumbfounded and bewildered about the lack of record
companies who arent going out to defend themselves, and
trying to get the information about what record companies do out
to the people. Because the record companies are the ones taking
the hardest hit here. But once you start getting into all of these
things like 'if CD's weren't so expensive then I wouldn't download,'
I mean all of these arguments are just crap and they are ones
that can't be used against...I don't dictate what a CD costs in
a record store, that is not my job. That is something called the
market place which dictates that. If people weren't buying CD's
at $16.99, the fucking prices would be lowered - end of story.
People buy CDs $16.99 because that is what the market dictates...
... #2VERY IMPORTANT - When CD's came out in 1984 and 1985, they
were priced either at $14.99 or $15.99 so you are talking about
product that has probably a $1.00 rise in basic cost in the last
15 years. So, are CD's overpriced? Probably, and that's an argument
that I would love to have with somebody and I'm not saying that
I don't necessarily agree with the fact. Is there a particular
reason a CD couldn't be $12.99? Not really, but that still doesn't
fucking give people the right to steal it, just because they are
too expensive. Back again to the usual argument. If I walk into
a grocery store and think that Oscar Meyer's fucking wieners are
overpriced, then it still doesn't give me the right to steal them.
But if there is enough people buying Oscar Meyer wieners at the
price that they choose to sell them for, then obviously they aren't
going to lower the fucking price.
One of your famous food analogies strikes again! I have to do
this. I will remind you that you say you have no control over
prices, but you did also at one point dictate a releases pricing
code. You told your record label to put on the cover of Garage
Days a Do not pay more than.. So it can be done.
I understand thats not quite the center point of the argument,
but I have...(Lars interrupts)
...the point on the thing that youre talking about, was
because in the age of vinyl when we put out the $5.98 Garage
EP, we didnt want record stores to sell it as a full
length record. Thats why. Its because it was a 12
format and to people it could look like a full...(SC interrupts)
the CD had a price on it as well. But youre saying you wanted
it sold as an EP.
Yes, as an EP, not as an LP very important.
I might have known you had the point well and truly covered.
As with most of these, believe me.
(laughs) I mean let me just get to a point of very simple...(Lars
Wait, wait, wait. Once again, also understand that in Metallica's
career, whether it's collectors items, whether it's whatever we
offer for sale that has Metallica's name on it - we always price
it. Literally, when we sit down and decide what are we going to
charge tickets for on a tour, we sit down and look at what Aerosmith
is doing, what Van Halen is doing, what the Smashing Pumpkins...we
always put our prices right smack down the middle. We don't want
to get into a kind of Fugazi type thing, because we don't believe
that we need to do that. We always put our prices for t-shirts,
concert tickets right fucking down the middle, because that is
that what the market place dictates. We don't overcharge and we
don't undercharge. We're n NOT GREEDY and we don't give it away.
We're right down the fucking middle, and if you look at anything
we've ever done for 15 years, that has always been our position.
We almost let all of the others around us dictate it.
Back to the main matter, I must ask, have you ever got a computer
and logged on to Napster?
Never logged onto Napster in my life.
How can you fully understand it? Which is a question people would
Im not saying I fully understand it. Ive never said
that. I dont believe that I need to sit down and use Napster
as a tool in order to fight for what is my right.
Everybody always attacks me on it, and Im totally open and
frank, the computer is not something that gets a lot of use in
my house. The Internet is not something that I utilize very much
as a tool. Thats fair enough. Now certainly I have been
accused of being ignorant on certain computer things, thats
all fair enough, but once again its sort of sad and pathetic
that it becomes the best counter argument that people come up
with how can he be against a company like Napster if hes
never been on there? Its like, because, my fucking
songs are being traded around, you know, hundreds of thousands
of them a day against my free fucking will, against my wishes.
I think people lose sight of that with all these arguments, all
these analogies, all these things that people try to come up with
and be clever.
Lets go to the point at which the press conference was held
(outside Napster HQ) and the names were handed over. I mean did
you get blind sided? Could you honestly have perceived that you
would be caught up in the two minute sound bite media
war that it became? Did you expect it to be pot boiled down into
three sentences with no context? I was alarmed I have to tell
Im not sure blindsided is the right word, but I was definitely
surprised at a lot of the editorial bias in this. Ive done
thousands of interviews, and I feel that the music media, the
Rolling Stones of the world, has been very, very biased against
us. The hard thing about this issue is that its not an issue
that you can really explain in whats called a sound byte,
in one or two sentences. So it has been very frustrating doing
30-45 minute interviews with periodicals and so on, and then seeing
one sentence being used, or taken out of context or something
like that. So I really feel that people have not been very fair
in sticking to the facts. This whole thing about Lars sues
his fans type of thing. That is just completely out of context.
You have to remember, once again, that Napster were the ones that
sat there and held up their arms and said that were
not doing anything illegal here, but if you come to us with proof
of people who are downloading your songs, we will be happy to
remove them from our service fully well knowing that they
could come up with that information themselves. It wasnt
about suing the fans, it was basically OK, you want to play
that kind of dare game with us, then heres the information.
Certainly in the beginning of this process I said some things
that were out of line...(SC interrupts).
I did an interview with BBC where I said some things about yes
we will go after the fans directly or something like that...this
has been a learning process for me also. In the beginning I said
some bad things about, you know, the Fred Dursts of the
world. I said some very arrogant and aggressive things about our
fans and so on, and I calmed down a little bit and tried to be
more just, yknow, standing up for my own rights and be more
neutral, sticking to the facts and so on.
Correct me if this is wrong, did you not reinstate some 35.000
people because they were found to have only traded live stuff?
I mean that's something that I knew, but I don't think that many
Well, once again because of Napster having basically played this
whole fight out in public, everytime we've done something good,
that's where the bias come in. It has a tendency to get overlooked.
That side of it has been very frustrating. You were asking before
about personal viewpoint on a lot of this stuff...
It must get a little tough to deal with on a personal level. The
cartoon thats been doing all the rounds on the Internet.
Camp Chaos? On a personal level that cannon be pleasant.
That type of stuff doesnt annoy me as much. To me thats
no different than some idiot just talking shit, like in Nikki
Sixxs little world. If people want to poke fun at us, thats
fine, I dont have issues with that so much. What I have
issues with more is deep, deep levels of ignorance. I have issues
with, like, when Rolling Stone, for instance, reports on the scene
and then they print three response letters, all three of the response
letters are what the fuck are Metallica doing these
greedy, multi-millionaire, rock stars, arrogant assholes?
Theres no reason that the response letters have to have
the same tone. Thats editorial. Do you know what I mean?
So thats the stuff that infuriates me more where people
choose to only point certain things out in the big picture.
How frustrating is it also that until the morning of the senate
there wasnt any vocal support from other musician artists
other than Dr. Dre, yet on the morning that you went into the
senate theres suddenly a full page ad in USA Today Artist
against piracy with about 60 names?
I mean,. I think thats almost more sad or comical, somewhere
in between that. That to me just continues to point out that a
lot of other artists are truly greedy, dont want to put
their reputations on the line, are afraid of the consequences,
and dont have the fucking balls to stand up for what they
believe is right.
Did it disappoint you?
No, not really. I doesnt bother me that much if were
the only ones out here with balls big enough to take this on and
say what has to be said on behalf of everybody who agrees with
us; that makes me proud. That doesnt bother me so much and
the whole kind of paylars.com and all of that stuff that were
talking about, silly cartoons and stuff, thats really no
different than somebody telling us to fuck off because of Lollapalooza,
because of haircuts or because of Bob Rock or whatever. Thats
just outside criticism.
Do you think people perceive this as you fighting a battle or
I think people perceive it as the band. Whenever the band fights
any battles they send me in. So, I mean obviously people know,
at least people who know Metallica know, that I wouldnt
be out here if the band and everybody around us werent 100%.
Let me ask you on a very blunt level, was there a certain thrill
in the chase of this at first, which has now dissipated into somewhat
of an absolute fucking drag?
Was it ever an exciting thing to know that you might be leading
a copyright charge or...
No. This truly started out as something legal. OK were
going after this site where our song I Disappear has
become available in work in progress form. So, I certainly
never anticipated to get into this and all this crap about Lars
Ulrich poster boy for artist rights and all that. I dont
need any more publicity, and I dont need anything else on
my plate, but what happens is that it becomes sort of like a snowball
thing. It becomes something that fuels itself. You sit there and
you do something, and then somebody else respond to it, and then
you try to restate your position and then somebody else says something
thats so complete horseshit that then it becomes this thing
that escalates. Do you know what I mean? Where you once in a while
have to take a deep breath, and Ive been so caught up in
so many emotional things in the last couple of months where you
sit there and it gets to a point where you call up Cliff and go
Im so fucking both pissed and annoyed and its
like I dont even know if I can do this anymore and
then you sit there and have your pep talk and it always comes
back. I look at it almost more like what a radar screen looks
like. You have sort of a present position, and then you have hundreds
of miles of the sweep that goes across and monitors weather in
front of you, and you end up going all the way out 200-300 miles
in front of you and feeling the stuff thats out there. And
then you become so emotionally distraught at whats out there
that you have to take a step back to your present position and
remind yourself what youre doing. You start over again,
and you sit down and go the reason Im doing this because
I have a right to control where my music goes, including the Internet.
That right has been taken away from me end of story. So,
you have to sort of keep coming back to the original starting
position, and that is what makes it possible to sort of keep it
going. Because, there has been a lot of times over the last couple
of months where I have been so frustrated that I just wanted to
walk away from it.
Do you think that the Senate was vindication of all of this, and
also how did that come about? Did you just get a call by
the way this is Orrin Hatch and we wanted you to speak?
I think that by us getting involved, and us being obviously high
profile, that there was a profile. You know, this basically is
the first great issue of the 21st century. This is one of those
things that is not just sort of like a current issue in terms
of something thats going on just in the immediate. The fallout
from everything that were going through right now will shape
and dictate the role of the Internet, parameters for the Internet,
you know, all these types of things for mange generations to come.
Right. Is there emotional vindication through?
(a little frustrated) You ask so many questions! Yes, Orrin Hatchs
office called us up and said they would like to have a hearing
on this because of the high profile that it was getting in April,
May and June. Emotional vindication? I just look at it as one
other branch on the tree.
Really? It wasnt like were making a difference
here. This has gone to the senate level.
Well, its kind of difficult to sit back and talk about it.
People have a tendency to talk about it in the past tense. I mean,
nothing was really solved. There was a hearing there for three
hours, but have there been any rules rewritten, has anything been
solved? I mean, the last thing that the senators did was they
asked each one of us there how we saw the issue and was it solvable
without getting the legislative branches of this country involved.
Everybody answered yes except me. And basically the
last thing that Senator Hatch said was you guys try and
solve this problem and try to come to a conclusion.
But I mean in tems of enlarging that awareness factor generally?
If anything was accomplished that day, I would say that this is
an issue that scares a lot of people, and scares a lot of politicians.
A lot of politicians are afraid of the Internet, and afraid of
getting involved in the Internet because from one point of view
the Internet very much represents the great American freedom.
Its this thing that is subject to so many ideals and comparisons
with the great American idea of society, about freedom, about
government and not getting involved. You know, there was something
called the 1998 Digital Copyright Act, and I do believe that there
will have to be some laws at least augmented, or rewritten, in
the next couple of years because of one simple fact. Technology
continues to be so far ahead of any laws, and thats where
the US legislative branches are having difficulty keeping up.
Its really important again to remind ourselves that for
every Limp Bizkit, for every Offspring, for every Smashing Pumpkins
or whatever that want to make their music available for free on
Napster or Napster-like services, thats still not the issue.
The issue is that its their choice, and I should have the
ability to make that choice.
Choice being, perhaps, the key word of it all.
I totally support Fred Durst, and I totally support Napster as
a right to exist. What I'm fighting for is my choice. I was never
asked if I wanted my music traded on the Internet. I was never
asked if I wanted my music traded on Napster. Well, were
Napster, we have all these wonderful sites with emerging artists
and all this type of stuff. Fine, yes you do, because the artists
gave you their permission to have their music. So, the bottom
line is really that we know that they have the technology, to
remove Metallica recordings that we don't want traded, we know
that technology exists, they've copped to it. The bottom line
So they can block people form getting to...
No, it's not about blocking people, it's about blocking the specific
Right, it means that even if Im file swapping with a computer
in Idaho there will be a piece of software that prevents me from
swapping Metallica stuff.
Right. Or Metallica stuff that has a block on it. I don't have
a problem with somebody swapping 'Leper Messiah' from the L.A.
Forum in 1992 live, but I do with someone swapping 'Enter Sandman'
from the 'Black' album. So that exists, we know that. The minute
they say to us, Ok, yes you can have your 96 master recordings
blocked then the next guy, Dr. Dre, wants to be off. And
then Bryan Adams wants to be off, and then Britney Spears, and
then all of a sudden that site has one-third to half as much traffic
as it did three months ago. Then the perceived net worth of that
company goes down. And, all of a sudden, Napster turns from a
potential 1 billion dollar company into a 100 million dollar company,
so then the traffic is going to go down. Its basically that
Right. Let me ask you this...(Lars carries on)
For the record, let it be officially known that I have no issues
with a company like Napsters right to exist, but if the
only way that I can prevent my music from being swapped
on a Napster-like service is to shut them down, then Im
sorry. They came to us many, many times over the last few months
and said, what can we do to settle this? Its
really simple, you can block our 96 songs from being swapped,
you can issue a public apology, and you can pay our legal fees,
end of story. Everybodys happy. Theyll go on doing
what theyre doing, well go on doing what were
doing and well call this...Well they cant do that,
because the minute they let us go...
...their lifeblood starts sapping away.
Have you had any meaningful conversations with anyone from Napster?
The suits as well as the monkey?
I exchanged some pleasantries down at the office that day. A little
bit of, this is not personal we just feel were doing
what is right versus what you feel is right. That sort of
thing. Theres a few people like Michael Robertson, the head
of MP3.com, who has reached out and weve had some dialog
with him and so on. The other thing you have to remember, which
I think is interesting, was the thing that became very apparent
in Washington. Youve got at least 4-6 high profile Napster-like
companies. Youve got Napster, youve got Gnutella,
Freenet, Emusic, youve got MP3; just remember one thing.
That they all have very different ideas of what it is they want
to do, what their role in it is, what their business plans are
and so on. Some of them are very willing to play ball, and some
of them realize that the only way the can play ball is by being
legal. But lets not forget, Hank Barry and Napster are not
doing it as some kind of charity, theyre doing it because
ultimately they believe that one day if Napster becomes the standard
almost AOL-like company on that frontier that they
will have a company worth billions and billions of dollars.
Is there also a certain bitter-sweetness to knowing that in fighting
a company like that, youve probably helped raise their profile
by 200%? I mean its fair to say that until you guys got
involved people didnt know who they were.
But I really do believe that three months from now, they will
be out of business and not exist. Napster will not exist in three
months. I really do believe that, because they are digging their
own grave by not wanting to play ball. Because they have sort
of dug themselves into this whole thing about what theyre
doing not being illegal, the minute they retract from that they
are going to look like fools. The other thing people keep sitting
there and saying is what about Gnutella and what about Freenet?
Its like, believe me, everything we hear from our technical
advisors on a daily basis is hat these fucking Internet anarchists
sit there and go well they will never be able to stop Freenet
or theyll be able to stop Gnutella because theres
no central server. Yeah, you want to fucking watch? You
want to fucking watch us stop it? You want to fucking see in three
months how we can fucking blow your measly little company apart?
Uh, Freenet is a tough one. That Ian Clark is a smart man, hes
Hes marked as one of the most dangerous man on the planet.
Right. Hes a tough nut to crack.
Well, the great thing about Ian Clark is the things that he says
are so fucking outrageous and so out there that everytime he opens
his mouth he does his cause, and his service, more harm than good.
He says things that are just so ludicrous and theres just...
Theres got to be a side of you that finds a guy like that
fascinating and very interesting and would almost want to try
and I are you ever tempted to want to try and work with someone
Well, I think ultimately what we would like to do, is some of
these people are very Internet smart, and obviously
we need to align ourselves with somebody who can help us once
we get past the problems. But before we can start thinking about
solutions and stuff like that we have to rid ourselves of the
But I mean lets re-address the balance here a little bit:
its not like you guys are complete Internet doofuses. I
mean you were streaming stuff two years ago.
Thats the whole thing. Here we made S&M
available for streaming for one week. We were the first big band
to make our new albums available for unconditional streaming.
People sit there and say were only really using Napster
to check out stuff and whether to go and buy it in the record
store (giving the wank sign). Fine, were already looking
at ways to make our records available. OK, you want to check out
Master of Puppets to see if you want to go and buy
it in the record store? OK, here it is available for one time,
two or three time streaming. The problem becomes if you sit down
and make everything endlessly available for streaming, for people
that only listen to music through the computer it basically becomes
the same as owning it. So you have to find the right parameter.
Let me just clarify another thing, which is this whole thing about
the use of the word sharing. We really feel that using
the word sharing is not right. Look at it like this:
Im a Napster user and I have a Metallica record. I trade
that whole record away, I swap it with somebody else
and I gain Soundgardens Badmotorfinger. So Im
not really swapping my Metallica record., Im
basically duplicating for somebody else and then Ive gained
Badmotorfinger by duplicating. But I still have my
Metallica record when were done swapping. If I swap stamps,
if me and you sit down and swap stamps, I give you a stamp and
you give me a stamp. I start with one stamp and when me and you
have swapped stamps Im left with one stamp. When me and
you swap Metallica for Badmotofinger,
I turn my record into two records. So basically what were
trying to point out to people is that instead of buying Badmotofinger
for $16.00, youre basically using your Metallica CD as currency.
Your Metallica CD replaces the $16.00 in the way to gain the Soundgarden
CD. So basically, what were trying to make people understand
is that Metallica records are being used to gain something else.
This is not swapping, its duplicating. Its
replacing currency. Do you know what I mean? And thats really
something that people seem to overlook all of the time.
Again, we go back to the fact when youre 17, 18, or 19 and
I tape Strong Arm Of The Law and give it to my mate
for his Witchfynder General record or whatever. I
think its done with the same ignorance you know?
You just want to hear the music. Sure Ill tape your record
if you tape me yours. When youre 17 or 18 you dont
think in legal terms.
Once again, doing it on a shitty little TDK analog cassette tape
with your friend down the street is very different from having
access to first digital copies with 20 million users all over
the world. Its just not an analogy that works.
And youre talking about a case of pure numbers and quality,
right when you say that?
Yeah. Because clearly, once again to remind everybody that Metallica
is not anti-Internet, were not anti any of this stuff, we
look forward to sharing our music on our terms and conditions
with our fans on the Internet and computer.
Which you have already done.
Which we have already done. I want to get back to when we were
talking about being a 15 year old. I think to myself youre
15 years old, what the fuck does the term intellectual property
mean? This is all fun and games ha ha, Im sitting in front
of my computer, I can download something, Im really cool
ha ha. But just because the technology exists, doesnt
mean that its right. If I invented a device that could open
any car door in North America with the press of a button and start
that car with the press of a button, that would not give me the
...(interrupting) You would be a very rich man (ha ha)
That would not give me the right to take that car at random and
drive away in it.
Which is easy for people to understand because its a physical
The thing thats difficult for people to understand, is that
if you work on an assembly line and create something that is physical,
people understand that that physical product has an owner and
its a tangible item. That person has the right to purchase
it or he builds something for himself and its his. If somebody
takes it from him, its stolen. The thing that becomes difficult
about intellectual property, is that a lot of people think its
information. They talk about how information should be free.
Fine. Information should be free, but this is not information,
this is property of a different kind. This is something that I
create, this is something that I own. Music, movies, literature,
recipes, however far you want to take it, intellectual property,
it is this countries biggest export item thats a
fact. This country makes more off the selling of music, motion
pictures, video games all these types of things than anything
else that this country exports.
I want to go into an analogy that 15 year old kids might understand.
What does a 15 year old kid own that could be comparable to intellectual
property? Their homework. You write a term paper on U.S. History.
You write that, its yours, it comes from you mind. (interruption)
So, Im 15 years old and I write a term paper on U.S. History.
Its something that I create, its something that I
write, its something, for all intents and purposes its
mine. Now, lets say that somebody got access to that term
paper and put it up on the Internet for of the other kids in my
class to download and copy.
Right. You would be pissed (although friends later told me theyd
be proud...I doubt it).
You would be pissed because its your term paper, you wrote
it, you put a lot of time and effort into it. You wrote it
its yours! Should you not have the right to decide who copies
the term paper? If you want to give it to one of your friends,
that should be your choice, but if somebody stole it from you
and put it on the Internet and copied it to everybody in their
class so people could just download it for free, wouldnt
you be fucking pissed? That, I think is an analogy that 15 year
old kids can understand. But as soon as you start talking about
money, people get this like weird thing about greed and all this
type of stuff. Look, it costs Metallica a million dollars to make
a record. Forgetting about what it does for Lars, James, Kirk
and Jason in terms of time, but theres also physical cost
in that. It costs us money, we employ dozens of people. We hire
a studio, which is a small business, the profits from us making
a record there. We hire tape operators, we hire assistants, we
hire runners, we hire recording engineers, thats a whole
livelihood depends on us making records. Costs us a million dollars.
So, the minute you make all that music available for free and
theres no music that comes back forget about Lars,
James, Kirk and Jason, were fine, were set up for
life thank you very much for supporting the cause for twenty years
were fine but youre going to put that studio
out of business, youre going to put that recording engineer
out of business, basically theres an industry here that
is not just about those fat cats that run the record companies
on the 52nd floor. That is what people also have a tendency to
overlook, and they have a tendency to forget about how many people
this really affects. It affects everybody who works at Tower Records.
Have you and management or whoever explained to record stores
why they should be involved in this?
Yeah. Were trying. The road is littered with, you know,
a lot of small record store owners, especially around college
campuses and stuff like that, who are complaining about how their
sales are down. Were also trying to get some people from
the record companies to stand up and fight for themselves. Its
not my fucking job to fight for the record companies. Im
not particularly pro-record company either. But when the Chuck
Ds of the world sit there and talk about how the record
companies are the evil greedy enemy run by lawyers and accountants...I
mean, give me a fucking break Chuck. They helped you sell over
20 million Public Enemy records.
Right. Ill ask you this final question, did you ever find
out who was responding for putting I Disappear out?
Did your ever source it? I mean its a small point, but it
would be an interesting one because that person inadvertently
created an enormous...
When youre dealing with a song from a movie soundtrack,
theres a movie company, tons of faceless people at movie
companies, who were working with different record companies, tons
of faceless people there youre dealing with mastering
plants, youre dealing with theres 50 people that could
have done it.
Did you narrow it down?
No. Why waste our energy on that? The point is how are you going
to track it? Its getting to a point where you can basically
use this whole thing with encryption, and stuff like that, so
every CD thats put out has a different code on it, which
will happen very soon. So person 17 has number 17 and youll
be able to read that.
Oh really? So they are actually going to do that with CDs
now? They are going to have a situation where the 350,000th person
has their own encrypted code on that disc?
Yes. They are also starting to talk about basically doing stuff
like getting into all these codes on CDs where a CD cannot
be downloaded into a computer more than once, that type of stuff
where youll be to trace it if I go on Gnutella or something
Right. Well, let me get back into this thing. They are going to
give an encrypted number as the purchaser, does that mean they
then have the information on you? Is that the suggestion? Thats
going a little bit too far, nobody wants that.
Im not saying that its a position that I support.
Im just saying that for every guy sitting there trying to
fuck a record industry and trying to come up with these Freenets
and Ian Clarkes of the world, there are people sitting down trying
to invent, trying to come up with all these ways of not being
Have you ever, in these last few months, started formulating you
Ultimately, we want to get into making our records available to
stream on Metallica.com. We want to be able to sell our records
on Metallica.com, but not while the other guys are giving it away
for free. We want to be able to share live concerts, share all
kinds of crazy stuff that we come up with through our Internet
site and so on.
So, these is a master plan in place?
Well, were starting to get there. Were starting to
think about it.
Steffan Chirazi (The editor of So What! Magazine).