But in a twist that differentiates them from Metallica or Dr. Dre fans, the unlucky downloaders weren’t fingered for swapping authorized releases by the late singer/songwriter.

Instead, they were busted for copying material that hasn’t been released, such as concert recordings and studio out-takes.

The problem isn’t copyright infringement of commercially-issued material, but rather Buckley’s desire to keep under wraps the recordings that didn’t meet his standards.

Buckley, who drowned in the Mississippi River near Memphis in 1997, “made it very clear that certain songs and materials were not for publication,” a spokesman for Fun Palace Entertainment – which handles business affairs for Buckley’s estate .

“He was religiously protective of the quality of the recordings released for public consumption. For Jeff’s mother (who manages the estate) and those of us who work with her, his known wishes are sacrosanct.”

So the estate targeted only those who had downloaded unreleased recordings, and left alone users who were merely swapping commercially-available songs.

Metallica, Dr. Dre and some artists on the Sony label have taken the opposite approach. They’ve had Napster banish users who they determined infringed copyright, but ignored swapping of live concert recordings or other non-copyrighted material.

“We’re not interested in waging war with understandably angry (often young) banned Napster users, whose only ‘crimes’ are a fervent love of Jeff’s music and ignorance of Jeff’s wishes and the law,” the statement read. “We’d rather they were enlightened, not inflamed.”

Two Buckley albums have been released posthumously: a two-CD set, Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk and a live album, Mystery White Boy.