The Napster Debate

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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The debate rages on about whether Napster is pirating the music industry and violating copyright laws or if Napster is just a means of exchanging music as is the case with copying CD's or recording music off the radio. Several giant companies in the entertainment industry have brought suit against Napster saying that Napster is infringing on copyright laws that their music is protected under. A judge has already issued a temporary injunction against Napster that would have shut the company down before the trial. Napster was granted a stay and could not be shut down until after the copyright infringement case trial concluded. Final arguments concerning the issue will be heard by the appellate court on October 2.

Napster Napster was created by Shawn Fanning when he was 18 years old. He wanted to create a way for users to share music files over the Internet without all the hassle of going through a central computer to do so. To put it simply, Fanning figured all he had to do was combine a Windows file sharing program, instant messaging system, and different capabilities of various search engines in order to simplify the way people get music over the Internet.

Napster contends that the company is not actually giving away the music, but just providing a means of getting that music. They just provide a way for users to connect to one another, through a central computer, and are not technically not providing any music???.

In response to the copyright infringement allegations, Napster contends that they have no control over what content Napster users make available.

Some bands have rallied behind Napster. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters', as well as The Offspring are in support of Napster. They see it as just a means of trading music, like kids trade baseball cards. They also make the argument that it would be the same as somebody turning on the radio and...