On May 4, we asked you to suggest questions for an interview with Metallica. It seemed for a while, though, like the interview that emmett had wrangled would never happen -- despite agreeing to speak with us, calls to his agents found that drummer (and frequent spokesman) Lars Ulrich was either "too busy" or "unavailable" for a long time, and we felt pretty much like the winner in a game of "hold the grenade." Yesterday, though, Lars came through for us: after I explained the nature of a Slashdot interview, and how the questions were gathered and chosen, as well as the fact that he was free to be as candid and discursive as he'd like, I spoke with him for more than an hour. Lars seemed impressed by the forum that Slashdot offered and called it "a nice setup" for an interview. You don't have to agree with his conclusions, or with the actions that the band has taken, but you ignore his words at your peril. So without further ado, here are your questions, and Lars, unfiltered.
1) Whose decision was it?
Was it your decision, your manager, your lawyers or record company that made the call to go after the Napster users?
Lars Ulrich: Obviously, it was our concern, 'our' meaning the four members of the band. The record company had nothing to do with it whatsoever. There has been no [support] from the record companies; they never instigated anything, so we took it upon ourselves, there was never really much in term of support. There's been the occasional pat on the back, the occasional call, but I would say that I'm quite, I'd say, more than surprised, I'm quite stunned at the lack of communication and input from the record company. Obviously, you know, with record companies we never really usually depend much on what they have to offer in terms of creative things, but I am stunned at the low volume of support from the record company, both publically and privately. That leaves the record company out if it.
The managers? I mean, obviously, Peter and Cliff, our two managers -- they're our closest advisors -- we have been, they've been advising us for 18 years now. Our managers are basically the fifth and the sixth members of the band. They're a total partnership. We view both of them as equal. And they're equally involved in this. And they of course helped strategize, and they filter things and so on, so obviously they're very involved. Our lawyers are obviously involved, but in a different way. I mean, they take -- the six of us strategize, the four of us [in the band] and the two managers, and then we tell the lawyers, obviously like with any situation, confer with the lawyers and give them direction, you know, what to do. The thing that surprises me a little bit about all this stuff is that people that know Metallica well -- and obviously, when you're dealing with something at this level, not everybody knows Metallica well -- but people that know Metallica well know how the inner structure of this thing works. And Metallica is a very very inward. very independent and actually I would say quite selfish unit, in the fact that we sit down and make our decision sort of proudly by ourselves, and work very, very closely with Peter and Cliff, our two managers. The record company's not involved in this, like I said, and the lawyers are more, sort of, they get directed and guided, and obviously we listen to their advice once in a while.
I think the question was who's idea was this. You have to understand one thing, that I am very personally -- when it comes to my relationship with the Internet and with my comptuer, the fact is that we don't spend a lot of time together. So you have to understand that I would never know what Napster was, unless somebody told me about it, you know what I mean? That's what you pay your managers for, you understand? (laughter)
I mean, I can just barely ... I know how to get onto AOL, and I will say that I have used AOL a couple of times to check some hockey scores. When we were in South America last May during the Stanley Cup playoffs. But other than that, it doesn't really amount to much. So you have to understand that I guess the question was 'Whose Idea Was it?' Well, obviously the information gets, comes to us ... now it's a different thing, but where did I first learn of Napster, I learned it from my managers two and a half, three months ago, but now it's a different story. I open ten papers, and just get bombarded with it. Like I said before, I actually find it kind of fascinating. It still hasn't changed my -- I mean I don't spend particularly more time on my computer or anything like that, but I think that this is a very very interesting topic, and forgetting about my role in it for a second, I think that it's just a fascinating topic, and I think it's one that's just so deep and on so many levels that I think -- you were asking before as if it's sort of a pain in the ass, and I'm actually quite enjoying it because I'm learning so much about it also.
2) Time well spent
With other programs such as Gnutella, Freenet, etc. that are anonymous and are not controlled by a centralized company which you could sue, like Naptser, don't you think that you should be spending your time and money developing your own Internet solutions from which you can profit, rather than trying to push back the flow of technology which will only become more and more difficult to combat?
Lars: Well, I mean, obviously that's a valid question. But the bottom line is, whenever somebody -- whenever somebody, whenever we feel that somebody -- I don't want to sound too combative here, but you know, when somebody fucks with what we do, we go after them. You don't sit down and sort of try and sort of justify yourself, well, 'Maybe our time and energy would be better spent thinking about something a year or two from now.' We feel the story is pretty well documented about how this all sort of came about. We really felt that it was time for somebody, an artist, with a potential of a public platform, to get involved with this. What the RIAA has been doing has obviously been strong, but it has been sort of in a closed legal forum, and we really felt the issue here really is not just about Napster itself, it's also about the perception of what this whole thing means, it's about the perception of the Internet, it's about the perception of what my rights are on the Internet, it's about the perception of how people have become so comfortable with the computer as a tool that they feel they have a right to these things.
So Napster is, I would say that a month into this now, that Napster is really just one of the things that -- obviously there is a clear, specific legal battle going on with Napster, but I find that the other battle which I think is equally important, is the battle in the public forum, about a public debate, about a public dialogue, about presenting different points of view, about respecting different points of view, about everybody having a chance to go out there and say what they feel and so on. That is also important.
Now, are we aware of the Gnutellas and all these other things? Of course we are, but you can only take it one step at a time. And I believe, and the people that we talk to about this, we believe, that the minute some of these companies become active, when they basically come to a point that they become fully funcitonal, we believe that there will be technology and a way to go after them in the way they can invent this technology and make it untraceable. We believe that as quickly as they can make it untraceable we believe that you can find a way to fuck with it, and we have already heard about different ways of doing that. So I think it's clear that there is nothing that people can talk about for the future that becomes bulletproof. So it's sort of like -- the thing about this sort of mob mentality, what we call the 'Internet Extremists,' it's all kind of cute -- 'Yeah, we want to fuck with the system,' 'Yeah, we have a right to get everything for free.' But I believe that if you have the energy and the resources to chase 'em -- and that's one thing we have is a lot of energy and a lot of resources -- We believe that there will never be a point where they will be uncatchable, and we believe that obviously there will come a point, that we will, this is the question that was asked, where we will sit down and figure out what's right for us. Right now, you know, we know what is not right for us, which is Napster. And we know why it's not right for us, which is that we do not condone and want to be part of some kind of illegal trading of our masters through sources we have not authorized, it's that simple.
So of course there will be at some point -- we are not stupid, of course we realize the future of getting music from Metlalica to the people who are interested in Metallica's music is through the Internet. But the question is, on whose conditions, and obviously we want it to be on our conditions. We don't want these 3rd party services like Napster taken for granted, taken for granted that we want to be part of their system. That ultimately is what the biggest beef about this whole thing [is], is that Napster could have so easily avoided this whole thing. It's like, OK, 'It's January, my name is Napster, or I'm Sean, or whoever the CEO was at the time, we have this service, we would like to know if you are interested in being part of it.' If we'd said Yes, then there's no issue, if we'd said No, then this whole thing would have never -- it's really what this is about, it's what this whole thing ultimately comes down to, you know. We own and control these masters, we feel that we're the ones that have the right to decide where they get used. It's a little bit, what we have called the Book-of-the-Month scenario, which is this whole thing about, it sort of ends up being the reverse; we're the ones who look like assholes for chasing after what we feel, for getting off the service. It's a little bit like the book-of-the-month analogy, where you get a book sent to your mailbox once a month. And if you don't return it within 7 days, you have to pay for it. Do you know what I mean? Are we assholes for wanting to get off this service that I was never asked if I wanted to be part of in the first place?
3) Art vs Commodity
In several articles about your actions against Napster, you were quoted as saying something like (paraphrased): "Napster takes our music and treats it as a commodity, instead of as art."My question is, how is it that trading your music for free over the internet makes it a simple commodity, but selling it for far too much money through record companies and stores makes it somehow "art"?
Lars: Yeah. I mean, OK, 1st of all, let's start by making sure that I am not the one who decides that a Metallica CD should sell for 16 dollars. That's a whole other arguement, one that at some other time I'd be glad to partake in, OK? I'm a consumer just as much [as anyone else] ... just because somebody feels that that CD is too expensive doesn't give them a right to steal it, in the same way that if I go down to the car dealership and want to buy a new Suburban, and I feel that paying $47,000 for a new Suburban is too expensive, that doesn't give me the right to steal it, right? It's sort of like, you know what, fair enough, I can certainly respect and I would certainly somewhat agree with the fact that paying 16 bucks for a CD is probably, you know, pushing too much. But, it's the marketplace that dictates that, not me. And people who live in the United States live in a Western capitalist society, where most of these things become about marketplace and about fair competitionin the marketplace, and that's what ultimately dictates these prices. That does not soldify that my only other option is to steal is it. My other option is to not buy it.
It does happen in certain other instances. If there is a full-on consumer boycott of a product, whether it's toothpaste or Suburbans or CDs, sooner or later the people whose livelihood depends -- not the artists, but the companies who are selling these toothpaste or CDs or whatever, will take note. But the way to combat a $16 CD as being unfair is not to go out and steal it, that just bcomes sort of the anarchy, the mob rules. But the reason that I will say, of all these things that I've been quoted as saying in the last month on this, I would say that the quote that this person refers to is probably not one of my finer moments. What I was trying to say by that was ... there's one thing that people kind of keep forgetting, which is that Napster, they have this sort of innocent smirk in front of their face and they hold up their hand and they go 'We're not really pirates, we're not really doing anything illegal, we're just offering a service,' but what people have to remember, and obviously some of this has developed in the last month, is that Napster is a corporation, OK? They just got $15 million in funding from some of the major venture capitalists out here. They have all along, ultimately getting to the point where they could have a major IPO, which is the one option, or get basically bought out by an AOL type of company. So at some point there will be a major, major profit going on for the people who've invested in Napster. And that money is basically the same as profiting from stolen property.
Understand one thing: this is not about a lot of money right now, because the money that's being lost right now is really pocket change, ok? It's about the priciple of the thing and it's about what could happen if this kind of thing is allowed to exist and run as rampant and out of control for the next 5 years as it has been for the last 6 months. Then it can become a money issue. Right now it's not a money issue. I can guarantee you it's costing us tenfold to fight it in lawyer's fees, in lawyers' compensation, than it is for measly little pennies in royalties being lost, that's not what it's about. And also, we're fortunate enough that we sell so many records though the normal channels. Where it can affect people, where it is about money, is for the band that sells 600 copies of their CD, ok? If they all of a sudden go from selling 600 copies of their CD down to 50 copies, because the other 550 copies get downloaded for free, that's where it starts affecting real people with real money. And so I don't know if I've sort of been jumping around a lot, it's just that there's all these points of view that tie into it. So back to the question again, the 'commodity' really becomes about it being traded around illegally, and rather than the art that it is. OK, that wasn't the finest quote ever, but that was also the first quote, six weeks ago. And we've all come a long way since then, including us.
4) home taping vs. napster
Have you read the 1989 OTA Report (http://www.wws.princeton.edu:80/%7Eota/disk1/1989/8910_n.html) on home taping, which concluded that so-called "bootlegging" was no threat to music industry profits, and that it in fact served as free advertising? It turned out that the users making tapes illegally were also both more likely to buy more music themselves and more likely to encourage other fans to do so. While obviously the technology has improved significantly since 1989, aren't we really dealing with the same issues?
Lars: Well, 1st of all, you have to remember that you're talking to somebody who advocates bootlegging, who has alwyas been pro-bootlegging. We have always let fans tape our shows, we've always had a thing for bootlegging live materials, for special appearances, for that type of stuff. Knock yourselves out, bootleg the fuck out of it, we don't give. We believe that there is a major, major difference between the old -- obviously one of the scenarios we hear a lot ... 'How is it different from home taping?' I guess is really the question. You know, home taping 10 or 15 years ago really was about, you had vinyl records, and you had the neighbor down the street with you know, his Iron Maiden records, that you wanted to make a tape of so you can play in your car. There is a difference, I think, let me think of a word here, I'm sorry, all of a sudden your mind goes blank (laughter), comparing that kind of home taping to basically going on the Internet and getting 1st generation, perfect digital copies of master recordings from all the world, is just not a fair comparison. We're talking about a network that includes millions and millions of people, and tens and tens of millions of songs that these millions of people have, they can trade. So the old 'home taping is killing music,' well, OK, so you borrow your neighbor's Iron Maiden record, blah blah blah, you know, some guy down at school. There is a long way from that to what's going on right now with perfect first-generation digital copies of music that's available to millions of poeple all over the world. We -- it's not so much once again, it's not so much -- look, our record sales have gone up in the last three weeks, OK? We obviously follow and monitor this. It's not so much about whether it hurts or whether it benefits.
What it ultimately comes down to, and this is really the simplest way of saying it, is 'Who controls it?' And I want the right to control what is mine. And if I decide to give -- I respect the next guy, who wants to put his music on Napster, but I want him to respect the fact that maybe I don't. It's that simple. It's really the point. This is what the whole point of this country is, you have the right to make your own choices in this country, and we were not given that right. People take for granted that our music should be out there and be traded. What if we don't advocate that? They shouldn't argue with that. Napster has the right to exist. I support Napster's right to exist, OK? But I want them to support my right to not be part of it.
And that's where it got, sort of like, wacky, because we believe that when they sat down -- this is another misconception in the last couple weeks, this whole thing about 'Metallica serves Napster with 300,000 names.' You have to remember, they asked for this, OK? That's a point that not a lot of people include. They asked. They said, "If you can give us the Names (ha ha), of people that are doing this (ha ha ha) and we'll take them off (ha ha ha)," like you can't. It was sort of like a dare. And then we hired somebody to basically -- and they could have gotten, you also have to reremember once again, , they [Napster] could have gotten that information themselves. So it became once again our burden, back to the book-of-the-month or the cd-of-the-month scenario. You know, I have to go out to my mailbox, I have to pick this fucking book up, I have to send it back where it come from so I don't get charged for it.
The burden is on me again, I have to sit there with these guys, the names of people trading our music. And you have to remember, the only thing that Napster really has, because legally they realize that it's very very thin, the only thing they have is sort of a public thing where they can pit Metallica fans against Metallica. That's the only thing, that's sort of their, that's their only strong thing, is trying to make us look like assholes in the eyes of the fans, and they're doing, I think they're doing a pretty good job of that. And it's sort of pathetic, because the fight is really obviously between Metallica and Napster. It's unfortunate that the fans become pawns in this, but understand a couple of things. The 300,000 names that were removed from Napster, ok, we believe, from who we've consulted, that Napster has the technology to block Metallica songs off its service, so it's not just about ... we go to them with a piece of information: 'This guy has traded among other things, Metallica songs.' So they take him off the service instead of just taking the Metallica songs off the service. Do you understand? Then this guy hates us, we become the assholes, and that's what they're trying to build their counter case on. And that's kind of a little bit sad I think, it's kind of pathetic that that's really the only shot they have, and obviously because they realize they don't have any shots legally. I don't think it's a fair comparison with 1989.
5) Is your speech free?
by Frank Sullivan
Are you free to answer any way you please in this interview? Or has your label requested that your responses to our questions be reviewed by their lawyers before being posted back to Slashdot? And if so, did you agree to this?
Lars: I think it should be pretty obvious to most people that I am really on my own here. What I know about it, most it comes from reading and educating myself on it. I feel I know a lot about this. Every day, I get all the press sent to my office, I spend the first 2 hours of the day reading, catching up to date with what's going on. Nobody tells me what to say, I don't have to check with anybody. That's sort of the thing we talked about 20 minutes ago, that is somebody who doesn't know Metallica very well, because somebody who knows Metallica konws that the 19 years we have been on our own, we have fought every battle on our own, we don't take anything from anybody. We take advice from our two managers, but ultimately we override them a lot. We are very, very -- about as independent as I believe it's possible to be in this business. But I should also say that we are, we're also, this is going to sound -- make sure you don't edit this! -- we're also, I know this is going to sound like we're full of ourselves, but I know we're also quite smart. And we treat the business side of what we do with respect, and we deal with it as a business so it doesn't interfere with the creative elements of what we do. We try and keep the creative things and the business things as two very separate entities, because my big fear is always that the creative side of what we do can never be influenced, or dictated, or polluted, by what happens in the business side of it. So we are very good at separating the two issues, and we treat the business with the respect that it deserves, because if you do not respect the business side of it, you can get fucked. This, the music world, is littered with the careers of people who did not pay enough attention to the business side of what they were doing and ended up getting majorly fucked.
6) Ignorance of the net?
In the live chat, you admitted to not being very knowledgable about the Internet or about the technology behind Napster and MP3s. What kind of research on these subjects did you do prior to filing the lawsuit?
Lars: As I said, we were not very knowlegeable about it when we started. Research, research. I mean, we tried to get information from a bunch of different sources. We will always, when we feel we are ignorant about something, we always try to get enough information, we try not to make any decisions until we feel we have the full picture. So obviously, talking to people who knew about Napster, who knew how to operate it, who were dealing with it. People who know about it. We don't sit down and study a Napster operations manual or something, but sitting down and talking with people who understand it. There, you have to remember that Napster came pretty much out of nowhere. I mean, I think I first heard the word Napster probably in December or January, I remember somebody telling me about this "new thing that we're going to hear a lot about in a couple of months," and that guy was right. A lot of the people who advise me are very Internet savvy.
You have to understand one thing; I don't use the Internet a lot in my daily life, personally, because I choose to pick up the phone rather than send somebody an email. That's OK, that's my right, it's a little more comfortable. It doesn't mean I hate the Internet, it doesn't mean I despise the Internet. You know, I respect it, I understand that it plays a major role in a lot of people's lives. But I do also -- and this is one of the things that fascinates me about this whole thing -- I do also see things about the Internet being something that people I think taking for granted, that they're becoming so comfortable with it that the feel they have a right to any piece of information that comes to them through the Internet. The Internet is changing our perception about a lot of things, it's changing our perception about almost everthing around them in society.
And to me, it's just about treading kind of carefully and trying to sort of point a few things out that if you have downloaded music through your computer for the last little bit of time, understand one thing, that's been a privilege, not a right. That's been a privilege you've had; you don't have a right to download my music until I tell you, until the person who owns that music tells you that you can do it. Until then, it's been a privilege that's basically been the result of incompetence and lack of focus by the record labels, and that I don't think the record labels for the last couple of years have paid attention to this. I think that there's been a major, major wakeup call in the last couple of months. The hardest thing for all the major labels is it's very difficult for them to get together and work something out betwenn them. The hardest thing also about this is it becomes very hard to write laws and to generalize accross the board. Because to me this is about individual choices. So you can't sit there and say 'I think Napster doesn't have a right to exist,' because there are people who want to use a service like Napster, but at the same time you also can't sit there and say 'Everyone has to be part of a service like Napster,' because there are people who choose not to. It gets kind of complicated from a legal aspect, and that's where I think the record companies have really let this get to the point where it's at right now, by not being more on top of it, and I think somebody pointed out I think a very very valid thing the other day, that all the people, that are sitting right now, the Sean Fannings of the world, and the guy in Ireland, and all these Internet guys that are sitting there coming up with all these programs and all this stuff, you know what? The record companies should have hired those guys 5 years ago. That is the biggest single fuck-up that they did, was basically letting those guys get to the other side.
7) Skip the Record Company
How much money do you get from the sale of each CD, and how much goes to the record company? Would you be interested in a system that allows you to circumvent the record company, sell your music for half the price you do now, and get quadruple the cut that Metallica gets on each sale? The internet has the potential to offer such a system.
Lars: Of course, of course. That's something that we have been anticipating for years. For years! I mean, five years ago we had that conversation. Of course, at some point we will get to a place that's close to that. I look at it this way. I believe that there are four -- oh shit! (Lars takes care of something in the background) -- I believe that there are sort of like four links in the food chain here. You've got the artist, you've got the record company, you've got the retailer, and then you've got the consumer. And everybody within the industry has been talking for years about, that ... different people have different opinions; some people think that the record company is going to go away, and others think the retailer is going to go away, and some people think that both are going to go away. What you have to remember is, it's only bands who are fortunate enough to be at the level that we're at that have the option of maybe circumventing the record companies and the retailer.
Because what really, essentially, is a record company? A record company is really essentially a bank, a bank that funds a bunch of money to make records, and videos and promotion, publicity appearances and so on, and they take that shot that one day the artist is going to be so successful that they're going to first of all get all their money back, second of all make a profit. So I'm not necessarily particularly pro-record company, but I do feel that the record companies, they've taken a big beating, because I think people are just very quick to jump on the record company, sort of the Chuck D's of the world -- "Record companies are greedy, it's about lawyers, it's about accountants."
That to me is a little too black and white, because you have to remember that statistically, for every one band that you hear about, for every one band that a record company helps make successful, they lose their fucking shirt on the nine other ones you never hear about, so it's -- that's a whole other conversation that I could talk about for hours and hours, the whole thing about the record companies. But record companies will never be completely extinct, for one reason and one reason only, that there will always be a need to develop younger artists, and record companies will always be able to play a big part of that, because this whole thing about "I'm a young band, I'm an upstart band, I'm going to put my music on Napster, and then I'm going to become successful?" Fantasy. The only way you you will become successful is by having a publicity and promotion campaign behind you that elevates what you're doing above what your competition is doing.
It's very very simple. One of the -- when we monitored Napster for 48 hours three weekends ago, we came up with the 1.4 million downloads of Metallica music, there was one, one downloading -- one! of an unsigned artist the whole time. You can sit there and talk about how this is great for up and coming artists or for unsigned bands, but a big counterargument that nobody gets is, me and you could form a band together, and we could like, make a demo and then we could put it up on Napster. Who is going to give a fuck? Nobody's going to care, because they don't know anything about what sets my and your band out from the gardener and the guy who cleans my pool's band. The record companies will never be extinct, because there will always be a need down at that level. Now where the record companies can become circumventable is when you're fortunate enough -- key word, fortunate enough, to be at our level, where you don't depend on the record company to front you a bunch of money, because you're fortunate enough to have a big pile of it yourself, and you don't necessarily need a record company to publicize, to promote you, because you're sort of kind already at that level. Yes, of course, the scenario that the gentleman asked in the question is very, very possible, and we've been looking at that for a long time. And when we are done with our record contract, I would say that something in that direction is somehwere between a real possibility and a certainty.
8) Question to Lars and the band
You mentioned that we need laws banning file-sharing software such as Napster. How far should these laws go? If in 10 years time, computer users labour under draconian restrictions on communications software under what is titled the Lars Ulrich Digital Copy Enforcement Act, to the effect that sharing music files (of any sort) without the digital signature of a major record label or copyright authority becomes grounds for loss of Internet access and/or legal sanctions, how will you feel about the fans and small-time bands whose attempts at networking are crippled by these restrictions?
Lars: Yeah, I would say that I have certainly through the course of this in the last month, absorbed what I've learned, and listened to other people and respected other people's opinons, and I have come to actually change my position from, I believe that if it's not Napster, then a type of service like Napster has the right to exist, on the condition that the only thing being traded through that service is music by people, artists and owners who have given that service permission. So that obviously changes the thrust of what he was saying.
I believe ultimately -- and this is sort of what I was talking about before -- that the hardest thing about this is to try and come up with a system where it becomes an individual's right to choose how he will want to partake in this sort of stuff through the Internet. That's the hardest thing because it becomes very difficult, it's very difficult to generalize, like I said before. It's not fair to sit there and say, 'Napster can't exist,' because there are people who would like to use it. And it's not fair to sit there and say 'It has to exist and you have to be part of it,' for the people who don't want to use it. That's where it gets really tricky. There are people who are far smarter than me on this, people that will ultimately ... I believe that five years from now, there will be systems in place where the artists and the owners of the intellectual property -- and remember, we're not just talking about music.
And that's one of the fascinating thing here, is that we're not just talking about music. Why is this a music issue right now? The reason it's a music issue right now is because, of major intellectual property, music is the one that is shortest in information right now, therefore it's the most easily transferrable where technology's sitting right now. We believe based on the people we hired that we're probably not more than a year away from where you can basically download Mission Impossible 2 the same day that it opens in the theatre, and basically watch it on a great computer with a great sound system and maybe even find a way to hook it up to a big monitor in your house or whatever. And when that happens, when the next Tom Clancy or whatever -- when the minute they become available, the minute you can download a 1200 page book five minuntes after it's released in a bookstore, you will find that other owners of intellectual properties, not just musicians, will come out there and [fight].
There's a lot of us on the inside who are sort of dealing with this right now, who are like 'You know what? it would be great if you could download fucking movies right now," because you know what? Hollywood would come out fucking swinging. The may be now, but it's still early. If you look at a baseball analogy, I'd say with music we're probably, I'd say we're in the maybe 5th or 6th inning as far as where we are, how far it can go, you know what I mean? I think with movies we're possibly still in the 1st or 2nd inning. I think there will be a major awakening in Hollywood in the next 6 months, and it's not just about music. This is about intellectual property, this is about the perception of intellectual property. Who owns intellectual property, how has the computer changed the majority of people's perception of intellectual property in the last 6 months? And how will intellectual property be reachable to the people out there who are on the receiving end of intellectual property ten years from now? You know, those are the major things that really need to be worked on.
But one of the main things that needs to be worked on for the next year, I think, one of the great things I think, is the public debate about it. People sit there and feel that they have the right to this, and then when they start getting mroe information about this, a lot of people have a tendency to start realizing some of the points we're trying to make, they start seeing things from a little bit of a different point of view, and ultimately that's a great accomplishment. I believe that a lot of people that are saying a lot of nasty things about some of the stuff right now are doing it out of sort of like a passionate ignorance. And I find that most of the people I talk to at a number of different levels, whether intellectual or a little more layman's, or media, or fans, or Newsweek ... whatever, that people start getting it, at least to the point that they say "We respect your right to not want to be part of this, if you respect" -- which we clearly do -- "our right to be part of this."
9) Just something to think about...
I'm a huge Metallica fan. Lars is the reason I'm a drummer today. But something in an interview with James from "Behind the music" (I think) when he was talking about how he started to like the Misfits, when Cliff gave him a tape and they played it in the van all summer long, made me curious. Have any of you (Metallica) ever copied a tape, record, 8-track, CD, etc. from a friend? This is an infringement of copyright isn't it? I don't mean to make you seem evil, but is it simply the scale of Napster/mp3's that is of concern?
Lars: Yeah, I mean I think we answered that before. Of course we have, ok? And of course it's a valid point. The bottom line is the size of it. The size of it and the quality of it. When we go in, and check Napster out, we come up with 1.4 million copyright infringements in 48 hours, this is a different thing than trading cassette tapes with your buddy at school. I mean, 48 hours! So it's the quality, the quality and the scale.
Thanks go out to Sue Tropio and Gayle Fein of QPrime for their help in arranging this interview.