Napster.com is a music search engine founded by Shawn Fanning about a year ago. It is a software program that allows individuals to search for their favorite music selection by connecting to millions of other users around the world. Napster is basically the simplest way to find MP3’s that you want anytime and the same time be able to share the selections with the world’s largest community of music lovers. MP3 is an audio format that allows users to compress and send music files easily over the net. This particular search engine is known to be the most popular file-sharing program among people of all ages.
Currently, Napster is facing a lawsuit for copyright infringement by the music industry. The music companies want the courts to shut the server permanently. The law stated that whether online or offline, it is illegal to copy and distribute someone else’s work in a way that deprives them of on income. That means anyone getting or distributing music over the Internet is considered breaking the law. There are also people who are pro-Napster who want the search engine to be shut down too. A statistic was compiled using Soundscan, an objective reporting process that measures actual retail and online prices. According to that statistics, it was revealed that sales were off 4 percent in areas near colleges and universities. Napster is very well known among college students.
More than 100 universities had banned its students from downloading MP3 songs. During an interview with a record company, the question “Why shouldn’t music be free?” was asked. The response was, “If recording artists didn’t have to pay $50 to $200 an hour for studio costs, $1,000 or more for mastering, $5,000 to $50,000 in radio promotion, and thousands more in related costs, they could arguably give stuff away. Nevertheless, someone who spent 10 years struggling financially, invested thousands in equipment, thousands more in lessons and demos, and pursued countless hours of creative work just might want to be compensated for that effort” (Stopnapster pg.1).
As one of Napster’s fan, I feel that Napster.com should not be closed down. The search engine is used to download songs and saved for my personal use. I personally wouldn’t want to purchase a CD if there were just one or two songs that are good. Besides, Napster gives me the chance to meet other music lovers like myself, who share the same interest. Fans, like Napster because it combines the existing elements of the online music experience into a single application that allows people to talk about what music they like and trade files. Napster software user agreement says, “Copying or distributing unauthorized files may violate United States and foreign copyright laws. Compliance with the copyright law remains
your responsibility” (Sullivan pg.2). Since it’s clearly stated in the agreement, I think that Napster should not be responsible.
Despite the lawsuits, Napster.com should not be banned for copyright infringement. I think that Napster’s motives and intentions are truly beneficial to upcoming new artists and noncommercial users around the globe.
Grover, Roland. “LOOK WHO'S AFTER NAPSTER” Business Week. October 1 2000:92
Ebso Host. October 5 2000.
Kahn, Jeremy. “Proving Napster Legal Is a Tough Job for Boies” Fortune October 2 2000:50
Ebso Host. October 5, 2000.
Stop Napster. “Frequently Asked Questions”. StopNapster.com. August 3, 2000
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