Essay by jamesozzie1University, Bachelor'sC+, February 2006

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The Napster case study differs greatly from the Ryanair case study in many aspects. During the time of this case study Napster was a free to use file sharing program. Because of its controversial nature and the fact that it was free to use we must focus on areas such as the products lifecycle and objectives of Napster as well as its effects on the music industry.

What is Napster?

Napster is a program that makes it extremely easy to find and download music in MP3 format. It is a widely know fact that no laws were breached in the writing of the program that allows for the transfer of files across the Internet via peer to peer connection although the bulk of the files transferred through Napster are songs that are protected under United States copyright law. The people who use Napster and download MP3's have not paid for the legal use of this copyrighted material, and these people are in violation of these laws.

It can be said that Napster is, in many ways a disruptive technology. The value chain of the music industry has been modified because:

- Napster reduces the power of established retailers

- It has caused a 'digital' service that changes technology

- It may cause price changes for music records

Company Background

In late 1998, early 1999, an 18-year-old college dropout named Shawn Fanning designed a program that allowed computer users to share and swap files, specifically music, through a centralized file server. His idea sprung from the complaints of many that searching for music on the internet was time consuming and didn't yield many results.

The program Shawn coded enabled people to download a free program from the internet and enabled users to share music files with other users who are...