Napster and The Italian Job

By Deane Barker on November 9, 2003

I watched “The Italian Job” on DVD tonight. The movie was marginal (“stupid good fun,” I call it), and is essentially an excuse to drive hot-rodded Mini Coopers through the nooks and crannies of L.A., but there is one funny bit…

Seth Green plays a computer geek who claims he was Shawn Fanning’s roommate in college, and that Fanning stole the idea for Napster from him. Fanning has always claimed that his nickname in college was “Napster” because of his nappy hair. Green’s character, however, says that Fanning called it Napster because he stole if from this guy while he was taking a nap.

And then, in a flashback, Fanning himself makes a cameo, stealthily removing a floppy from this guy’s computer while he sleeps. Throughout the rest of film, the other characters are required to call him “Napster.”

My wife and kid couldn’t understand why I though this was so funny. “What’s Napster?” “Uh, it’s kind of like Kazaa…”