…Type Essay, Research Paper
Napster and the Stereo type
The construction of Napster, and its incredible popularity have changed the way many people around the world both obtain and listen to music. The Napster technology is defined as a person-to-person file sharing community. In other words, it is a forum where any number of people can go and exchange media. This technology has proved so effective with the transfer of music files that people have now begun exchanging pictures, movies, books, and other media at Internet sites similar to Napster.com. So, why is this seemingly great technology under attack? In the case of Napster it is being debated that the site is promoting Internet piracy. The music being shared on the site is copyrighted. So musicians and record labels feel that they are loosing profits, because people are now able to go on the Internet and obtain their music for free. The controversy over whether or not this is piracy is still ongoing. The controversy over free music on the Internet has also brought with it a full attack on teenagers. It is an attack on their morals, intelligence, and social standing among other things. What this paper will try to unravel is why it s teenagers being attacked, and is these attacks justified in one of the largest controversies in the past decade.
In this day and age teenagers come under attack quite often. Being a teenager myself some people would look at this paper as being biased. But, when are teenagers points of view looked upon as valid anyway. I will say that I have tried to clear my head of the tension between teenagers and adults, and write a fair paper.
It is however undeniable that teenagers are looked down upon in varying degrees in our society. The role of the teenager has changed dramatically in the history of our civilization. At one point, about three hundred years ago there was not even a stage in the development of people called the teenage years (Mintz and Kellogg 6). People went from infancy to a child laborer, and then adulthood. Of course this all changed and people began to actually have a extended childhood, but still the definition of teenagers was still very different from what it is today. After WWII the definition of a teenager was changing into a developmental stage of human growth that was very limited (Mintz and Kellogg 6). It was at that time the family in general was under the Ozzie and Harriett spell. Teenagers were supposed to be very obedient to family and state, and were made to feel they had to fit in. In other words, freedom to express themselves as individuals was not greatly encouraged. It is at this point that it should be noted that the people responsible for most of today s discrimination against teenagers are from this era. That is not to be taken that people from this era are the only ones responsible for the discrimination of teenagers but they play a large part. This era of people play such a large part, because it is these people who are now employed in prominent professions in many fields, but most importantly to this paper, the media.
The definition of teenagers again changed dramatically to the present day. Teenagers now are unlimited in the ways they can express themselves. The teenage years are looked upon now as a time to find oneself. In some circles it is looked at as merely a phase before adulthood. Of course this has brought light to the question of whether or not teenagers now a day have to much freedom. This in turn makes teenagers look unruly. Which in turn makes teenagers look unintelligent, which then makes teenagers a easy target for many of today s social problems. Thus the foundation of the teenage stereotype sets in. For some reason or another the stereotype of teenagers being disrespectful and unruly is like a plague. From my own personal experiences, I can safely say that the appearance of a teenager has little to do with being discriminated against. I ve been to restaurants looking quite nice and just been pushed aside and made to wait longer then most people. The same things happen at clothing stores when trying to get help, and at food stores where everyone thinks teenagers are trying to steal stuff. This stereotype is one that has given teenagers a bad name.
The stereotype of the teenager came to the forefront of the Napster trial. The media in this case has targeted Napster users as teenagers, and why not? Teenagers can play the role of a Napster user easy. Teenagers being lazy sitting in front of a computer stealing people s music, ignorant to the fact that what is going on might be breaking the law. The media has planted this image into the brains of people following the case. I find it funny that very few, if any people have praised the inventor of the Napster technology, nineteen year-old Shawn Fanning. That s right, the inventor of the technology that has already started changing the face of the Internet drastically is a teenager. Yet, you wont see any editorials taking his side or a news anchor coming to his defense. It appears very obvious that people are looking at teenagers in this case very one sided. They are comparing teenagers to the role they used to play in society, without taking into account how much our society has changed. Keeping in mind the way teenagers have been dragged through the mud in this case, it might lead one to assume that the press covering the trial is biased. Not once during my research did I find a single work that accused people out of their teenage years for being thieves for using Napster. There are millions of users of the Napster system, and the press has lead people to believe that it is only teenagers who are taking advantage of the system. Which is by no means true. Adults use the system just as readily as teenagers. Yet, this is overlooked so as to give both Napster and teenagers a bad name.
The Napster trial has brought the stereotype of teenagers to center stage. The stereotype of teenagers being lazy, ignorant, and unintelligent is being showcased for the whole world to see. It seems unjust that teenagers are not asked for their view on the subject, so that it can be publicly viewed by a large amount of people. It is in this case that the leverage of being older has made the Napster controversy very one sided when it comes to the press. Thus, the stereotype of the teenager has gained if anything more of a dark twist. The bias with which this case has been covered is appalling. I would say that the press has forgotten what it was like to be a teenager, but I don t believe that it is true. I believe that the press, for some reason or another holds their teenage years in higher regard than that of todays. The Napster controversy has played a large role in defining today s teenager; it is a shame that it is not the teenagers themselves creating the definition.