METALLICA's new album, "Death Magnetic", started circulating illegally online last week after a French record store mistakenly began selling copies.
"By 2008 standards, that's a victory," drummer Lars Ulrich told USA Today. "If you'd told me six months ago that our record wouldn't leak until 10 days out, I would have signed up for that. We made a great record, and people seem to be getting off on it way more than anyone expected."
Regarding the band's costly Napster battle in 2000 after an incomplete version of "I Disappear" hit the Internet before its authorized release, Ulrich said, "My fight on a daily basis is getting my kids to finish their vegetables. Technology is moving faster than the legal side. The focus should be on education, on choices and consequences. It's suppressing talent in guys who don't have record deals and don't have money for guitar strings or rent. Our issue was control, not money. We're OK, thank you."
Though their views haven't changed, "we're closer to accepting that once we make the record, and it leaves our hands, we have to let it go," said guitarist James Hetfield.
"Someone's always selfish enough to crush your master plan. Some rabid fans will steal it. Others resent that and don't want to shake the Christmas present. The majority of people who rip it aren't even fans. They do it because they can. It's a personality defect."
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Photos by Greg Mason: