Services & Software

MTV producing movie on Napster founder

Shawn Fanning, founder of the former high-flying music-trading site, has struck a deal with MTV and is taking his story to the small screen.

Napster founder Shawn Fanning is taking his story to the small screen.

MTV said it's struck a deal with the peer-to-peer wunderkind for the rights to Fanning's life story.

The tale of Napster's rise and fall is full of the ready-made drama that directors are eager to capture. A spokeswoman for MTV said the movie would focus on Fanning's personal saga as he transformed from an obscure college student into a symbol of the freewheeling Internet boom.

Fanning developed Napster while a student at Northeastern University, dropped out of school to start a business based on the program, and then incurred the wrath of record companies, which sued him for aiding copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, Fanning, wearing his signature baseball cap, became an icon of the dot-com era, the young father of an Internet music revolution that was supposed to stick it to the old guard. Instead, the major labels prevailed in court, suing Napster into virtual extinction. An undisclosed bidder paid $11 million for the company's assets last week. Currently, the Napster site calls itself "a work in progress" and sells T-shirts.

MTV said it hasn't determined who would play the Napster founder in the movie, but Fanning himself reportedly may take the role. The movie, scheduled for release during the 2003-2004 season, will also document Fanning's pre- and post-Napster life.

Filmmaker Alex Winter, who played Bill in the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" movies, is scheduled to write, and possibly direct, the project.