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1 Ent. L. 1 (2002)

handle is hein.journals/entersport1 and id is 1 raw text is: Metallica and Morality: The Rhetorical
Battleground of the Napster Wars
LEE MARSHALL
This article discusses the rhetoric of the highly publicised Napster legal
cases, arguing that it is firmly based in the aesthetic and moral implications
of copyright infringement. To contextualise current trends historically, the
paper summarises insights from recent work analysing the importance of
Romanticism to an understanding of contemporary copyright practice.
Utilising this theoretical background, the article highlights the importance of
the Romantic separation of art and commerce for the recording industry 's
anti-piracy campaigns. This enables the industry to centre current rhetoric
concerning Napster on artists rather than on commercial interests. This turns
copyright infringement into not only an aesthetic crime, but also into a moral
one. The article argues that the only way the recording industry can prevent
substantial online piracy is by creating and winning a moral argument.
However, it concludes that the industry is currently unsuccessful in this aim
and offers some reasons for this, themselves predicated upon the Romantic
separation of art and market.
On 13 April 2000 in the US District Court, central district of California, the
rock group Metallica filed a lawsuit against the then internet startup
company Napster. The suit accused Napster of 'contributory and vicarious
copyright infringement', as well as violating the Racketeering Influence and
Corrupt Organisations Act, for enabling its users to exchange copyrighted
MP3 files.' On the day of the suit, the band's apparent spokesman, drummer
Lars Ulrich, released a press statement which contained the following:
It is therefore sickening to know that our art is being traded like a
commodity rather than the art that it is.
This quote is, I think, supremely interesting. Not only does it contain
centuries-old ideology regarding the relationship between art and the
market, but it also provides the key to understanding the rhetorical
battleground upon which the Napster Wars are being fought. It is this
battleground that concerns the current paper. In particular, it discusses how,
Lee Marshall is a lecturer in sociology at University College Worcester where he specialises in
intellectual property and popular music.
Entertainment Law, Vol.1, No.l, Spring 2002, pp.1 19
PUBLISHED BY FRANK CASS, LONDON

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