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Napster A Proposal Paper Essay, Research Paper

Napster is a music sharing program freely downloaded from the Internet. It allows you to search

for song titles and download them to your computer into files called mp3 s. The Recording

Industry Association of America has sued the creators of Napster with the premise that they are

encouraging music piracy. On March 6th, 2001 a federal judge in San Francisco posted a

preliminary injunction that ordered the music industry to provide Napster with a list of artists,

song titles and the specific file names under which songs are being illegally distributed. Napster

officials were then ordered to block access to the files listed. But this doesn t solve anything. Until

the music industry realizes that people are going to continue to trade music on the Internet they,

will be fighting an uphill battle.

Since the ruling about Napster came down there have been multiple copycat programs,

such as gnutella, Freenet and Centrata, created and readily available on the Internet. Even before

the injunction was posted people were coming up with ideas to get around the injunction. Napster

users have started misspelling the artist s name or the song title so it won t be detected by

Napster s filtering software. Even more extreme, a 21 year old Canadian entrepreneur named

Matt Goyer is planning on setting up a program similar to Napster on an island off the coast of

Britain. This way he is outside of any governmental laws. He said he would probably need $10

from 1,500 upset Napster fans to get it started but he doesn t think that will be a problem.

However, there has been one group suspiciously absent from all of these ideas. The music

industry, they have yet to embrace the Internet as a means of supplying fans with the music that

they want to listen to.

What the music industry needs to do is partner up with Napster, or a similar company,

and allow people to download the music they want for a small fee. That company could then take

the monthly revenue and disperse it to the musicians based on the percentage of downloads from

that artist. Since Napster is such a widely and easily used program, it would make sense for the

music industry to pair up with them.

Proposal Paper 3

With the music industry on Napster s side the selection of music available for downloading

would then be unending. People could have access to virtually every song ever created. Another

plus for the music industry is that new musicians would be able to reach a much broader audience

than they ever could have before. A monthly newsletter e-mailed to all Napster subscribers could

promote any event or musician that the music industry wanted. Let s say that Napster charged ten

dollars per month for unlimited downloads. If just one third of Napster s reported 60 million users

signed up, it would generate $200 million dollars a month which would be paid to the artists.

Now I m sure there would be some people saying that nobody is going to pay for what

they used to get, or can still get, for free. I don t think that is necessarily true. When I was young

my dad bought one of those big satellite dishes that could receive all kinds of programming, like

HBO and Cinemax, for free. After a few years the companies realized that they could be charging

for this programming and we paid. While it is probably true that you could still get the music you

wanted for free, it may not be easy to find. I believe that people would pay the $10 dollars a

month knowing that they will be able to find the music that they want easily, rather than spend the

extra time searching on the Internet for a hard to find song. I don t have to pay for cable TV

every month, but I do because there is much more available to watch.

The only alternative that has been suggested to date is to leave Napster alone. The music

industry hasn t come up with any kind of suggestion on how to deal with the new technology. I

would think it would be in their best interest to adopt some kind of plan like this or the free music

trading on the Internet will probably never end.


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