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Offspring agrees to can Napster album giveaway

Pretty fly for a bunch of white guys under legal pressure from Sony

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Pro-Napster band The Offspring have knocked on the head their plan to offer their next album in MP3 format ahead of the CD release via the trouble music sharing service.

We're not entirely surprised. Offspring is signed to Columbia Records, which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Sony is, of course, one of the recording companies on whose behalf the Recording Industry Association of America is suing Napster.

In protest against that action, Offspring threatened to release its new album, Conspiracy of One, the follow-up to the rather fine Americana, on the Internet.

And, to be fair, Offspring also hoped the giveaway would boost sales of the CD, due to go on sale in the US on 14 November, so the band's move wasn't entirely made in a spirit of fighting for the little guy and Damning the Man.

Either way, Sony was none too pleased, and threatened legal action against the band to prevent the promotional exercise. One source, cited by Reuters, suggests that a legal battle was averted on Friday, when Offspring agreed not to release its album on the Web before the CD ships.

"We are extremely happy that Sony Music has worked out a solution with The Offspring and its management that supports the integrity of the band's creative idea and enables them to proceed with their promotion,'' a Columbia Records spokesman said yesterday.

That suggests the band will go ahead the promo after the CD release. A statement from the band's manager only stressed their agreement not to offer the album until the CD has shipped. Before then, Sony will release one of the album's singles, Original Prankster, on the Web this Friday, but that's little more than an attempt to compile a list of fans' email addresses, it seems.

And don't forget that The Offspring found themselves on the wrong side of Napster having offered pro-Napster T-shirts and baseball caps on their Web site. Napster's complaint? Copyright infringement... ®

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