Napster Essay Research Paper The problems faced

Napster Essay, Research Paper

The problems faced by Napster and how it affects us.


Shawn Fanning let his closely cropped coiffure grow a bit shaggy, so his friends started calling him “nappy.” That evolved into a new nickname, “Napster,” which became the Internet handle he used in chat rooms. After sharing tips on guitar playing, Fanning told two cyberpals about a revolutionary software program he was working on. Encouraged by his new friends, he wrote the program and the idea attracted a sizable cash donation from a family friend. So he quit college, moved from Harwich, Mass., to Silicon Valley, and started a company together with his two buddies.

That was sevral months ago. Today, 19-year-old Fanning and his company, Napster, have become the Internet’s latest one-hit wonder. Hundreds of thousands of college students and music fans have downloaded the firm’s free software, which allows users to swap MP3 songs, the Net’s most popular digital music format. Napster, whose latest software will be released this week, has seen its user base grow by as much as 25 percent a day. Says Napster CEO Eileen Richardson, “We see ourselves as the MTV of the Internet,”

But Napster has made some powerful enemies in its brief existence. Musicians and record companies accuse it of creating an online den of thieves. Last December, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing 18 record labels, sued Napster for copyright violations, seeking to shut it down and collect more than $100 million in damages. Rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs says Napster abuses his artists. And in the past two months, at least 50 universities have blocked students from accessing Napster, saying it strains campus computer systems.

All the outrage is a result of Napster’s unique design, which fosters music sharing but also hogs bandwidth. The company doesn’t own or sell any music. Its software merely acts as a digital matchmaker, allowing people to trade MP3 songs. Napster peeks into a user’s hard drive and publishes a list of all the songs it finds there onto a central database. To locate a tune, a user enters the name of an artist or a song to see if anyone else on the network has it. If so, they can download it at the push of a button. In this way, Napster has created the Net’s largest music library.

Now all of us have downloaded music of the internet and most of us have also used Napster but as we all know Indiana University is one of the fifty odd universities that have banned Napster on campus servers. This is a situation that affects us directly as universitys like Duke,Stanford and M.I.T have refused The R.I.A.A. requests to ban Napster. Thus according to me we should all be better informed of this situation to know why we are being deprived of such a cutting edge program.

The Napster case is very important not only because people won?t be able to download free music if it?s ruled illegal, but because the case will serve as a major guide for the future. It is a foreshadowing of the future. As technology becomes more and more advanced, we will constantly be faced with similar questions.

The RIAA announced in December they would sue napster. Explain reasons.

1.Napster is considered pirating software. It can allow anyone access to copyrighted files.

2. Although all users will not abuse the system and make pirated cds some will. Therefore opposers of napster wish for a complete shutdown of the site.

3. Some who oppose merely wish for napster to exist in a way that will not allow pirating.

C. Napster?s is banned on the Indiana campus after a request from the RIAA and Heavy Metal band Metalica. I.U. claims that napster is using up too much of its bandwidth.

1. Indiana University bans napster controversially even though many students are against it. I.U. students say that the ban affects their freedom of music and exposure to the Internet revolution.

2. Give out information from napster website and also list the reactions of other major universities for and against the ban.

3. Napster may have been banned but there are still other identical programs, which are benefiting from this ban (e.g. Scour exchange).

D. Discuss how Napster can be used to be a profitable unit for the music industry if given the chance.

1.State studies in business week and wired which state that if napster charges a monthly fee between 1 or 3 dollars then they can earn up to half a billion dollars.

2.Napster is one of the most popular programs for young teenage computer users and is growing in popularity every day.

3. Napster is a great way for upcoming artists to spread their music. Thus this program is feeding the music industry with good information on new artists and is also helping the artist?s talents to be recognized.


1. Napster is a product of new technology, which has no guidelines in our current system of laws. Current laws do not prohibit technology like Napster directly, but many question whether it is legal.

2. Napster can be still used in I.U. There are programs like Napigator that bypass I.U.?s server thus enabling the use of Napster.

3. Will state how important the outcome of the court ruling will as it will change the legal standings of a lot of internet companies and will be a precedent for such a law in the internet era.


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