METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich recently chatted with Launch about the band's much-publicized 2000 battle with Napster over illegal music downloading. "Most of the time, it's like a bad dream, like what the fuck was that?" he said. "Three years later, it's like did that really happen? We went from being somewhat well-respected, well-liked, and then I woke up one day and all of a sudden I was the most hated man in rock 'n' roll. It was like huh? Me? What did I do wrong? I'm one of the good guys. That was all kind of weird. If you look at our history, we've always been pretty protective of our own shit. When anybody got too close or fucked with our shit, we always took action. In retrospect, I'm proud of what we did, I really felt sideswiped on that one. In my own little ignorant world, I didn't see it coming. I was completely ignorant and unaware of the magnitude of this issue for people. I was just sitting there in my own little selfish world going, "I'm going to protect METALLICA. Don't fuck with METALLICA.' Then (explosion sound), 'you're pro-record company, you're greedy!' I'm not pro-record company. We invented being anti-record company. We told our record company to go fuck themselves before anyone else. Stop. It was a very surreal thing, because it was so hard to connect what I read about myself and METALLICA, it was so abstract to what was on my radar about my own reality. People going, 'You're a really greedy little man.' It was like, what are you talking about? We've been giving shit away for years. We want to be the ones giving it away, not someone else. I'm proud of the stance we took. It was a very tough time. It was a much tougher time, because in the middle of that you have to put your best game face on. It was difficult. A lot of that shit hurt and it was very bewildering because it was difficult to connect it to your own reality. For better or worse, it got a good debate started. In retrospect, I'm not claiming any sort of victory — who gives a shit about that — I think more people a couple years later are starting to realize, not that we were right, but this is an issue that is changing the face of everything that is going on. Not only the music world, but the film world is next. What better way to deal with it than at least educate people about it. If nothing else, I look back at the six months in 2000 as the first step in the education."
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