The 21st century began with online file-sharing becoming a major problem. Napster was the leader in peer-to-peer file sharing, but artists and labels began to pay closer attention when sales dipped and their music was being shared without their control. Among those not happy with this transaction was Metallica.

The group became the first act to take action in April 2000, filing a lawsuit against Napster for copyright infringement and racketeering. In March 2001, Metallica received a preliminary injunction against Napster, with the company ordered to filter out all Metallica copyrighted songs. In July 2001, Napster settled with Metallica and over time, the legal costs brought Napster to its end.