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Chuck D benefits Napster with on-line rap contest

Bust out that karaoke machine and show 'em what you got

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Since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued on-line MP3 swap-service Napster over alleged piracy, and pseudo-rebel sellouts Metallica and Dr. Dre fell in lockstep and filed their own suits (against Napster and even university students who use the service), only a handful of artists have shown the backbone to stand up against the tide. With that in mind, legendary rapper and MP3 supporter Chuck D of the group Public Enemy announced a lyric-writing contest on his Rapstation Web site to publicise Napster's point of view. "We want to draw attention to the positive aspects that Napster has to offer artists," he said in a statement. "They need to realize that they can benefit infinitely." "Come up with lyrics explaining why you support Napster, drop your lyrics to Public Enemy's 'Power to the People and the Beats' track, and have a chance to win $5000. Best of all, your version of the song will be shared with the WORLD," the contest rules say. Contestants are invited to download the instrumental track and record their lyrics over it, then upload their finished masterpiece to the Rapstation site to be judged. Chuck D left his record label a couple of years ago following disagreements over distribution policy, and has since advocated releasing music on line, independent of the studios and distributors. "I’m in support of the sharing of music files. I believe that truly another parallel music industry will be created alongside the one that presently exists, and that’s the bottom line stake that traditionalists fear," Chuck D said in a recent New York Times interview. This is one artist who has put his money where his mouth is, and, contrary to industry predictions, continued to prosper. It makes one wonder what Dr. Dre and Metallica are so frightened of. "It's funny seeing rebellious cats eventually asking the government for help in this case. Some artists are led by their lawyers," Chuck D observed. ® Related Coverage Court finds MP3.com guilty of copyright violation Napster rapped by rapper More artists to sue Napster says Metallica lawyer Pro-Napster hackers hit Metallica Napster tweaks MP3 finder to un-jam University LANs Music biz sues Napster Music publishers allege MP3.com copyright infringement

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