Monday, July 20, 2009

Lars Ulrich proud of what he did in the Napster wars

It is perhaps a cruel trick that Congress has yet to strike a medal in recognition of what Lars Ulrich did to Napster. He's proud of his work.

At first, I was assuming he was taking credit for helping push the kids off the crumbly old Napster service into the arms of distributed, harder-to-track, peer-to-peer filesharing; or even laying claim to some of the applause for the Pirate Bay. But, no, it does turn out that he thinks he, Metallica and the Music Industry won some sort of battle:

“I am proud of what we did, and what we stood up for,” he says, although admitting that the band faced criticism for its actions. “You have to give props to the other side because they did run a brilliant campaign, and they did portray me and Metallica as being greedy rock pigs and luddites who were completely behind what was happening technologically.”

That's, erm, because you were a little bit ludditey, weren't you? And perhaps 'greedy' is unfair - 'unwilling to adjust to a new economic reality' would be closer to the point. Which, actually, was what the luddites were all about - they weren't anti-technology so much as against what it meant for their earnings.

I'm sure at some point Ned Ludd gave an interview, shouting above the sound of a thousand machines churning away in the rooms behind him, saying how he made the world a better place by destroying three or four specific looms. "You've got to hand it to the loom-machine manufacturers, they did a pretty good job of portraying me as some sort of Luddite... which, to be fair, I suppose I am. But I'm proud that - through my actions - they had to build another, better, faster loom to replace the one that I broke."