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The Rise And Fall Of Napster

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The Rise and fall of Napster

It started as an accident. Shawn Fanning was just experimenting and thinking of an easier to go through a search engine for music. What was a simple idea turned out to be a phenomenon in the Internet world. The creation of Napster led to many problems and brought about new issues that involved the entertainment industry and piracy laws. Napster is a software where a compilation of all of its user's files are held in a central unit and each user is able to use its search engine to look for a song from another person's computer.

The issue surrounding this problem arose when the Recording Industry Association of America claimed that Napster was basically giving out free music and was not paying the fees to issue "free" music. Napster claimed that all the music was shared among its users and were shared from computer to computer rather than a free website issuing free files for all to download. With the innovation of new technologies today, new problems will always come up due to better ways of getting things done. The same incident happened with the "new and improved" VCR. After fighting some battles, it was made legal for consumers to record from their own home and uses it for personal matters. Again, this situation is similar, but with more strings attached.

Napster was thought to be similar to the VCR problem, but with the piracy laws and the government still trying to find ways to regulate the Internet, it became a more difficult battle for Napster to fight. Recording artists were losing money in the sales of compact discs and they were blaming it on the rise of file sharing. Although the radio does entertain the public with its free music, they do have to pay the fees to play the music. They make their money but advertisements and sponsors. Napster used the excuse that people record off the radio for free, but they cannot burn the music they hear. What Napster did not understand was that the music is offered free because the radio stations do pay for it, and they have the rights to issue the music at the level of their pleasure. Napster was simply taking it from the artists and giving free music.

This had an effect on both the consumers and producers of music. What turned out to be a result of the matter was that the prices of music were climbing and consumers were not buying as much. They resorted to their computers to download for free and left the supply and demand chain hanging. Prices were increasing things such as the artists' concerts so they can make up for their CD sales. Artists such as Metallica have suffered from this problem. They sued Napster for copyright infringement and were on their way to shut Napster from its services. Napster was facing legal charges from both the artists and the music industry and that made it hard for them to fight the battle. They thought it was easy, but the judge ruled against Napster.

It seems as though Napster was being socially irresponsible and were giving away "freebies." What made it difficult for many to understand were the moral issues involved. Can we take away from the rich and give away to the common people? It could not have been thought as morally wrong, but the facts do support the idea. It would be right to take something of yours and give to the millions of people for free from a click of a mouse. Not only would you then feel helpless, but also your work to make it possible is not recognize where you are not compensated for.

Nowadays, many other software and websites have emerged with the same concept as Napster. WinMX, Kazaa, Morpheus, and many others are basically doing the same thing as Napster, but they have not been shut down by the government. But what makes it ironic is that since Napster is no longer a free service, others are still managing themselves as a free music website. Napster was one of the first to take the big blow while others are taking more precautions where they will not suffer the same consequences. Many should realize that since the innovation file sharing, no matter what, people will continue to download music for free no matter what. It does not make much difference if a group of people each bought a different CD and went home and made copies for the rest of the group to have. That issue cannot be regulated and the music industry cannot do anything to stop that.

The downside of file sharing brings in more problems such as viruses and hackers to many people's computer systems. With the files being in a person's hard drive, the risk of downloading from another person's computer and acquiring a virus unknowingly is growing greater and greater. More people are able to get into a person's system and complete annihilate a person's hard drive. Even Internet security has become a major issue and identity theft is on the rise. Regulating such sites (including Napster) is important



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