Rage Against the Machine fans -- some of whom just days prior had read guitarist Tom Morello's pro-Napster stance in a variety of interviews promoting Renegades
-- were surprised Wednesday to find they were blocked from the file-sharing service after downloading tracks from the band's latest album.
The Rage fans were redirected to a Web page that alleged copyright infringement necessitated the action, as requested by the copyright holder, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Rage were equally surprised, since they had not requested this action, nor were they consulted by their label or management that this would be done. Morello promptly responded by posting an apology on Thursday to Rage's fans on the band's Web site, www.ratm.com
, calling the incident a "horrible mistake."
"The move to take action against Rage fans was taken completely unilaterally by our new management," Morello wrote. "In their zeal to keep the record from getting out before the release date, they did not consult the band before instructing Sony Music Corp. to institute the Napster ban. As soon as I was made aware of this horrible mistake on their part, I immediately phoned our management and record company to see what we could do to get our Napster-using fans reinstated as possible . . . In the future we will be more vigilant about this matter."
Morello suggested two ways to undo the ban for fans to utilize (click here
). Fans posted several alternate solutions on Rage's site, including www.three30.com.napster.unban
. Some fans complained, however, that these efforts were wasted, because Napster had informed them that they were not accepting any new users.
Napster, in compliance with the DMCA, is required to block users when identified by copyrights holders, as they did in May with over 300,000 Metallica
fans when the band submitted a list of alleged copyright infringers. Since October, when singer Zack de la Rocha left the band, Rage has shared the same management team as Metallica -- Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch's Q Prime.
Rage's label Epic Records, part of the Sony Music Group (one of several companies currently suing Napster), had no comment on the incident.
Written by JENNIFER VINEYARD for RollingStone.com News