Is Napster Stealing?The web site Napster has become a very popular site on the Internet this past year.The web site was founded by 19-year-old Shawn Fanning. Fanning thought up the ideal ofNapster while a freshman at Northwestern University.
In May of 1999, Fanning waslooking for digital music files (MP3) on the Internet and became frustrated about howhard it was. Fanning later got financial support from a friend a created the software thatmakes Napster possible (Hartigan). The Napster web site has been very popular since itstarted. Over twenty million people have downloaded the program.The Napster web site can be accessed at Napster.com. Once you are there you candownload the software onto your computer.
When the download completes yourcomputer is connected to everyone else who has downloaded the program. Napsterconsist of a library, search engine, and a chat room. The library is where you store yourMP3 files that you have downloaded. The search engine is where your can search otherpeoples computers and download files they have. All you have to do is put in a bandsname and song title and hit find it on the task bar and instantly one hundred songs appearready to be downloaded.
The chat room allows you to talk to people and find out whatkind of songs they have.Napster sounds great for free music but some of the people who make that musicare not happy. The Record Industry Association of America (IRAA) filed a lawsuit in theSan Francisco federal court saying that Napster users are violating copyright laws (Stone58).
The IRAA lawsuit says Napster is responsible for the copyright violations. Thelawsuit also says that copyright music is being shared by Napster users and that violatesthe Musical Copyright Act of 1902. The IRAA lawsuit is also saying that Napster isviolating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. The Digital Millenium CopyrightAct of 1998 allows MP3 files to be linked by search engines but if the link containscopyright music than the engine must remove it (Mann). Napster is also being sued by theWasham 2rock band Metallica and the rapper Dr.
Dre because they say they their music is beingillegally pirated on Napster. Lars Ulrich, Metallicas drummer, is the media spokespersonfor the RIAA. Ulrich told Ron Harris of the Associated Press that if Napster users arestealing our music just like if they went down to the record store and stole it off the shelf.He has also identified 335, 000 Napster users that are trading Metallicas copyrightedmusic without their permission. Ulrich is asking Napster to ban these users from the site(Borland). The IRAA also filed suit against two universities saying that they have aresponsible to stop illegal activity on their computer systems. As a result of this lawsuitYale University and Indiana University banned the web site.
Many other colleges anduniversities followed because of fear of being sued (Harris).On Napsters side of the lawsuit they are saying that the entire lawsuit should bedropped because the web site is not directly responsible for the copyright violations.Napster claims that it just provides the software to share the MP3 files and does notprovide any files to be downloaded. Napster is also arguing that it is protected fromcopyright violations under the digital copyright laws.
Napster also provides names oftwenty-five thousand artist that say it is all right for their songs to be on Napster (Mann).Limp Bizkit and Cypress Hill even went on a free ticket tour, sponsored by Napster, toshow their support for Napster. Napster also replied to what Ulrich said in the AssociatedPress by saying that it would comply with Metallica demands to remove their songs fromNapster.
I believe that Napster technology is not a form of computer piracy as long as it isused responsible. In my opinion downloading songs off Napster is not piracy as long asyou use them for your own personal use. I have almost two hundred songs downloadedfrom Napster and I do not feel I am breaking the law. I use the songs on my hard drivejust to listen too while I am in my dorm room. I think that Napster is a good and funtechnology but can turn into a form of free compact disc.Washam 3Almost every computer is equipped with a compact disc burner, which allows people tomake duplicate compact disc or copy MP3 files onto a compact disc. If Napster usersdownload songs and then use their compact disc burner to make a personal compact discof the music then I would consider that violating copyright laws.
Especially if the Napsteruser burn compact disc and then sell them.I think that a reasonable and fair resolution can made between Napster and recordindustries that will benefit both companies. Napster need to come up with a way to deletesongs from their system for artist that do not want their songs. Napster could come upwith some kind of membership. I propose that Napster charge a small membership and payroyalties to the artist. Napster could charge five dollars a month or sixty dollars a year andthat would be a reasonable price because I spend about sixty dollars a year on compactdisc. With sixty dollars a year from twenty million users that would generate twelve billiondollars for Napster.
I am sure some kind of deal can be made between Napster and theartist with twelve billion dollars.I believe it is in the best of the record industry to make a compromise with this typeof technology because this type of file sharing is not going to stop. Other Internet siteshave already started up providing the same services as Napster such as imesh.com andScour.com. I think that the RIAA needs to embrace this new technology and make it workto their advantage.BibliographyWorks CitedBetch, David Ph.
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