Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich yesterday told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Congress should pass laws to protect copyrighted music against Napster and other Internet music sites.

Folk singer Roger McGuinn, and executives from Napster, MP3.com, Sony and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also appeared before the committee. Senator Orrin Hatch convened the hearing to discuss whether Congress should intervene in the controversy.

Ulrich said: "I feel that legislation should be part of this soon. I think we're all dreaming if we think we can work this out between us."

Sales boost Napster and MP3.com claim to provide a vital service to music lovers, and ultimately claim their efforts boost compact-disc and gig-ticket sales. However, Sony and other labels involved in the RIAA say that Napster is violating intellectual copyright laws.

The RIAA has asked US Judge Marilyn Hall Patel for an injunction that would close Napster until a trial is held. A hearing regarding the injunction is scheduled for July 26, and a trial could begin at the end of the year.

The Senate needs to consider how the issue can be resolved in court. It must also consider whether a revision to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is required, according to the Industry Standard.

Incentive Hatch said: "It was our hope that the DMCA would give creators incentive to make their products available on the Internet. Sadly, this has not yet occurred to any great extent in the music industry, and the DMCA is now nearly 2 years old."

Ulrich said: "Napster hijacked our music without asking. The touted 'new paradigm' that the Internet gurus tell us we ‘Luddites’ must adopt, sounds to me like old-fashioned trafficking in stolen goods."