Cyber Theft: Rise and Fall of Napster

Essay by cheapwellsUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2008

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Cyber theft is a new area of criminal justice which was enabled by the creation and global use of internet. Technology has changed the world immensely and it frequently catches Criminal Justice system of guard. In this instance we will speak about cyber theft as in theft of copyrighted materials with the use of internet and programs such as Napster and we'll discuss what should be done to thwart it.

NapsterMusic and other copyrighted materials were shared prior to Napster but with difficulties and the offenders were much easier to apprehend. Napster however introduced file sharing to global public and within a year of its existence millions of people had it on their computers. This had started one of the most difficult legal debates in the new millennia.

It all started with an 18 year old college dropout Shawn Fanning. After realizing how hard it is to share files on the internet he decided to build a program which will enable its users to simply, with couple of clicks and keyboard strokes, share the files they have in possession on their computers.

The result was Napster which he named after his nickname.

Napster was launched in 1999 and almost immediately it got sued by multiple recording companies and artists themselves.

Arguments of organizations like RIAA (recording industry association of America) were that users of Napster are sharing a copyrighted material which is illegal. Napster's argument was that they just connected the people and in no way did induce them in any illegal activities. They also claimed they Napster itself at no moment was in possession of any copyrighted material.

The result of multiple suits was that in February 2001 judge forbade Napster distribution of 250000 songs. In July 2001 however judge ordered that Napster had to stop distribution...