In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio statio, Don Dokken praised METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich whose band's image took a tremendous beating in the eyes of music fans after METALLICA launched legal action against the pioneering music file-sharing service Napster in 2000.
"The Internet, especially Napster, they killed us," Don said. "You bust your ass for nine months making a great record. You put it out on a Monday, and on Wednesday, it's a free download. It hurt us financially.
"[Lars] took the bullet, and I give him high praise," Dokken continued. "He had the balls to go up in front of Congress, and he was a soothsayer. Lars said, 'If you allow this to keep happening, it will be the end of the music industry,' and he was right — Lars was right.
"All these people say, 'Oh, man, it's METALLICA. They're rich. They're famous. What do they care if some people download their stuff for free? They're making millions.' That wasn't his point. If I spent a year painting a painting, an oil painting, a year of my life and all the materials, and I get it done, and I go to sell it at an art gallery, and I show up, and somebody outside the gallery's got 80 copies of it on a poster for five bucks, that's not fair. It's my art, my music. You have no right to take my art and give it away."
METALLICA sued Napster after the band discovered that a leaked demo version of its song "I Disappear" was circulating on the pioneering music file-sharing service before it was released.
In May 2000, Ulrich famously delivered a literal truckload of paper to Napster Inc., listing hundreds of thousands of people who allegedly used the company's software to share unauthorized MP3s of METALLICA's songs.
METALLICA representatives compiled the more than 60,000-page list of 335,435 Napster user IDs over one weekend in response to Napster's promise to terminate the accounts of users who trade material without permission. Real names were not included in the list.
In later years, METALLICA embraced digital music: in December 2012, the band made all of its studio albums, as well as various live material, singles, remixes and collaborations, available on Spotify.