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Napster Ah, the Internet, what a wondrous invention. It is a speedy alternative to the U.S. Postal Service, a tool for enriching the minds of many, a worldwide shopping mall, and also a haven for copyright pillagers. Or is it? The last eighteen or so months of news from the music industry have been filled with the controversy over a computer program called Napster. In case you've been living under a rock since 1998, a nineteen-year-old named Shawn Fanning launched the company of the same name. The program, which is downloaded off the Napster website (, allows users to "share" MP3's, which are digital music files. It breaks down like this: let's say that computer A has a song on its hard drive in MP3 format. Now, anytime computer A is logged on to Napster, computer B (or any other computer logged on) can download that song off of A's hard drive and on to its own. It's like that for all the computers logged on to Napster at any given time, which undoubtedly numbers in the millions. The program itself was written by Fanning while attending Northeastern University in January 1999, and it "took off so suddenly that he never got around to officially dropping out of school,! " (Sheffield 2). Quite a few organizations have filed lawsuits against the teen's file-sharing company. Among these are the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the National Music Publishers Association, and numerous record companies and artist. They received a small victory when the Napster website was shut down for a day last summer by a court decision, but was allowed to go online again by the means of an ruling to keep it online while the cases are pending. There are two separate points to the plaintiffs' cases. One is that the artists do not receive royalties for their music when it is downloaded from Napster. This is an easy point to prove because Napster is free to users and openly admits to not p...

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Napster . (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:28, August 28, 2014, from