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Napster parody pulled under pressure from Warner Bros.

The record company whacks a Web cartoon that pokes fun at the file-swapping service and Time Warner's popular cable show "The Sopranos."

2 min read
Warner Bros. Records has whacked a Web cartoon that pokes fun at Napster and Time Warner's popular cable show "The Sopranos," according to the animators who created the program.

Bob Cesca, founder and president of online animation company Camp Chaos, said today that the company has removed the parody cartoon from its Web site after Warner Bros. objected to the show's release. The show featured fictional mobster Tony Soprano, who is hired to kill the free music-swapping site. The cartoon was scheduled to run as a nine-part series of minute-long Flash animation clips.

Cesca said Warner Bros. had hired Camp Chaos to create the cartoon for a convention. While Camp Chaos has been paid for the production, Cesca said, the two companies are in a dispute over the Web rights to the show.

Cesca said that his company lowered its fee for the production in exchange for online rights to the cartoon.

"The fact remains they did give us Web rights, and they're kind of reneging on that," Cesca said. "They're saying they actually never did."

Warner Bros. could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cesca said he removed the two episodes of the cartoon that had been posted to the site to avoid a lawsuit.

Philadelphia-based Camp Chaos was founded in 1998. It bills itself as one of the first Web animation production studios. The company lists eight employees on its Web site.

The company has made something of a cottage industry out of the music industry's battles with Court: Shut down Napster Napster. When the heavy-metal band Metallica sued the file-swapping service over alleged piracy of its songs, the animators struck a blow for free Web music with a cartoon dubbed "Napster Bad," lampooning band members Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield.

The company has since unveiled a series of sequels, with titles such as "MetalliCops," "Sue All the World" and "Napster Dead?"