Rap artist Dr. Dre today gave the company a list of 239,612 usernames of people he says have illegally made his songs available online. He wants those usernames banned from the Napster service--or at least blocked from trading his songs online.
Like hard rock band Metallica before him, Dr. Dre is suing Napster for contributing to what the artists say has been widespread online pirating of their works. Metallica was the first to put public pressure on the company by targeting more than 317,000 actual individuals using the service to trade that band's songs.
That effort has led to tension between Napster and some of its software users, as well as between Metallica and some of its fans.
Napster barred hundreds of thousands of people from its service last week, but many have found ways to avoid the company's roadblocks.
Close to 30,000 are simply appealing the ban, saying Metallica misidentified them and asked to be reinstated through the service.
Individuals blocked from Napster as a result of the Dr. Dre list will have the same options. If they feel they have been misidentified, they can tell Napster, which will then give that information to the rapper's attorneys. If the artist does not individually sue the software users, they will be reinstated.
Dr. Dre is making an attempt to block some of the fan backlash that has been leveled at Metallica on music Web sites and on the Napster service.
Along with the list of usernames, Dr. Dre provided information that digitally identifies all his songs that have been traded over Napster's service. He asked that the company block trades of these files instead of throwing people off the service.
"We didn't want anyone to lose
But Napster said it didn't have the power to do this, since it simply serves as a go-between among its software users.
"Napster doesn't host or store files," said spokesman Dan Wool. "The only we action we have as a service provider is to block users."
The artists' lawsuits represent just one stream from the legal fire hose being leveled at Napster. The Recording Industry Association of America is suing the small company for allegedly contributing to copyright violations, asking for damages that could run into billions of dollars.