Turns out they’d been blocked from downloading tracks from RATM’s recently released album, Renegades.

When the band’s Tom Morello found out about it, he was none too happy.

The guitarist quickly posted an apology on the band’s Web site and pinned the dirty deed on the act’s management company, Q-Prime, which also happens to manage Napster nemesis Metallica.

“Rage Against The Machine would like to sincerely apologize to all of our fans who were kicked off of Napster for downloading Renegades,” Morello said. “The move to take action against Rage fans was taken completely unilaterally by our new management. In their zeal to keep the record from getting out before the release date, they did not consult the band before instructing Sony Music Corp. [RATM’s record company] to institute the Napster ban.”

Morello then posted Web addresses where Napster refugees could find files to “get around the Napster ban.”

A spokesperson for Q-Prime told Pollstar there would be no comment on Morello’s accusation.

Some fans were unaware of the reason behind the ban and put the blame on RATM in Napster’s public forum.

One poster wrote, “Upon logging on to Napster today, I discovered that my account had been blocked because I had downloaded a Rage Against The Machine song. It surprised me that a so-called “anti-establishment” band would give two shits about one person downloading one of the damned songs. At the most, their beloved record sales would go down by .00000001 percent.”

“Rage are a bunch of damned hypocrites. They go around preaching against capitalism and then they go and have everyone who has any Rage songs blocked from Napster. What bastards! Tomorrow, I’m gonna go out and use my Rage CDs as Frisbees. I urge anyone who reads this to do the same. To hell with Zach de la Rocha.”

RATM has had a rough year on the public relations front. They signed with Q-Prime after the cutting ties with their previous reps, G.A.S. Entertainment.

The much-anticipated Rhyme & Reason 2000 tour they were to co-headline with Beastie Boys bit the dust and recording dates for the band’s live album were rescheduled several times.

RATM made a controversial appearance outside the Democratic National Convention in August, and then there was bassist Timothy Commerford’s stunt at the MTV Video Music Awards that got him arrrested and embarrassed his bandmates.

To top it off, De la Rocha announced in October that he was leaving RATM for a solo career.