Napster settles suits
July 12, 2001: 4:50 p.m. ET

Music file sharing service reaches agreements with Metallica, Dr. Dre
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Online music downloading service Napster Inc. on Thursday settled legal disputes with the heavy metal rock band Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre as the company continues the transition from a free file sharing network to more traditional digital music sales.

It was Metallica's lawsuit last year charging Napster with copyright infringement that launched similar suits from other artists and prompted the recording industry to clamp down on the service.

Napster allowed users to download digital music files on their home computers free of charge.

Rock band Metallica's copyright suit triggered backlash against Napster
The industry's actions ultimately led German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG's BMG Music Service to acquire an interest in Napster earlier this year, effectively ending totally free file sharing.

Napster reached the settlements on the same day a federal judge ordered the company to remain off-line until it perfects its music sharing system that fairly compensates artists and publishers.

"It's time to end the court fight and shake hands," Napster founder Shawn Fanning said in a statement about the Metallica settlement. "We look forward to gaining Metallica's support and respect as we work to develop Napster into a tool that can be responsive both to artists' needs to communicate their art and the desires of music lovers throughout the world."

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Regarding the settlement with Dr. Dre, interim Napster CEO Hank Barry said "we now understand how important it is to Dr. Dre to control how his music is distributed and to be paid for the effort and talent that go into crafting his records."

Under terms of the settlement, Napster agreed to identify and block access to files that artists do not want to share. Both artists agreed to allow the sharing of some music once Napster installs a system that ensures payment to artists and publishers. graphic


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