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Napster bans most alleged Metallica pirates

Over 26,000 'infringers' left on service, though

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Controversial digital music software company Napster said yesterday that it has booted 317,377 users from its MP3 'seek, locate, download' service. That should go some way to pleasing rock band Metallica who accused the 317,000-odd users - and over 26,000 more - of illegally distributing its music. "We intend to fully comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and our policies," said the software company. "We will take down all users Metallica has alleged, under penalty of perjury, to be infringing." Earlier this week, Napster lost a preliminary hearing seeking to have the Recording Industry Association of America's copyright infringement case against it thrown out of court. Napster's argument centred on Section One of the Act, which protects ISPs from the piratical practices of any of their users. A California District Court judge ruled that Napster was not protected by the act, and it's telling that the company's statement specifically notes its compliance with the DMCA. That suggests Napster may now try to seek a settlement with both the RIAA and Metallica, hence the ban on certain users, as requested by the band's lawyers. Metallica drummer and spokesman Lars Ulrich is said to have stated in a recent online chat session his intent to close Napster down, so the software developer is unlikely to gain much from the ban. After all, many of the banned users may simply start over, accessing the service from new accounts and alternative ISPs. ® Register factoid no.666 Our thanks to Register reader Dave Martin who spotted the following: in the liner notes for one of Metallica's Garage Inc. album, lead singer James Hetfield explains that when he first met Lars Ulrich he would "stay over at his house for days making tapes of his records and sleeping on the carpet". To misquote those great Brit rockers, Spinal Tap: How much blacker can this pot be from this kettle? None more black...

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