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Napster vs. Music Industry

Napster is an ongoing controversy on the Web.

Napster is a software program that allows anyone to find their favorite music by connecting them to the computers of millions of other users. It is the simplest way to find the MP3s they want, whenever they want, and share them with the world’s largest community of music lovers. An estimated 20 million people have used Napster since it came out last year. With all the people who support Napster, there are just as many that want to see it shut down.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is suing Napster for copyright infringement. RIAA found that 87 percent of the songs transferred via Napster are copyrighted. (This case is currently in trial) Musicians such as Dr. Dre and Metallica also sued Napster and now anyone who tries downloading their music will be banned. Dr. Dre was quoted saying, ?Downloading my music without paying anything is equivalent to stealing food from my kids.? Napster has been banned on campus servers at 40 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities. Copyrighted material being transferred through Napster has also angered numerous labels.

Major labels, such as Warner Music Group, BMG Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Sony Music have sued Napster. They already won one partial victory in the suit, when federal Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rejected Napster’s first attempt to have the case dismissed. Now the industry wants more: It is asking the judge for a preliminary injunction against the company, aiming to stop a huge volume of recorded material from being swapped through Napster while the suit goes to trial.

Napster allows its users to trade MP3-format music files over the Web, which violates music industry copyrights and robs artists of royalties for the reproductions, according to the RIAA. Napster says it is protected under the “fair use” doctrine, similar to the use of videotape recorders. Another argument is that Napster is used to preview music, so the musicians who aren?t heard on the radio and all the music channels have a chance to be heard. Are these points good enough to sway the opinions of the people suing Napster?

The term ?bootlegging? usually refers to the 1920s and the Prohibition Era. There is a new generation of ?bootleggers? and instead of alcohol they use MP3s. ?Bootleggers? are people who download copyrighted music from Napster, burn it onto a CDR and sell the CDs to make a profit. If this continues, how big of an affect will it have on the music industry in the future?

I?m not supporting either side, I?m simply providing you with some information and you can make your own decision.

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