Banning File Sharing Sites
In an article found in Just do IP (Issue 42, August 25, 2000) Talal Shamoon states, "People are copying music because they feel somewhat disenfranchised with the options they have at their disposal in the digital space. It's up to the content industry to create value in the digital arena and they've made phenomenal steps in that direction." District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America (http://www.riaa.com/) (RIAA) regarding the Napster copyright case, based on the size of the violation that was taking place. Judge Patel directed Napster to stop its song-swap activities. An online survey reported that sixteen percent of the people surveyed supported the claim that Napster was in violation of regulations and should be shut down. Fifty seven percent believed it was unrealistic to try to control the free exchange of music. Sixty percent of Napster users said that they would not be stop downloading music even if it were determined to be illegal. Eighty tree percent claimed that using Napster helped them in music buying and liked the ability afforded by Napster to test songs before purchasing CDs or cassettes. The real question is does the Napster ruling make file sharing illegal? Judge Patel's ruling is based on his view that a clear violation of copyright infringement law occurred through the provision of a system that enabled piracy. The ruling may make all Internet file swapping an illegal act. One observer claims that Napster has started a revolutionary inspiration for the recording industry and suggests that the RIAA should purchase Napster as a way of reclaiming the online music sharing industry. Who would have thought that a nineteen year old could make a computer program so simple that would change the music industry forever? Sean Fanning who is behind the whole operation called his music online service Napster after his own childhood nickname. The Napster software (http://WWW.napster.com), launched early in 1999, allows Internet users to share and download MP3 files directly from any computer connected to the Napster network for free. To use the software a user downloads a program from the Napster site and then connects to the network through this software, which allows sharing (uploading and downloading) of MP3 files between all users connected to the network. Napster only limits users to uploading and downloading of MP3 files only. Many recording artists and record labels feel they have not received the money that is rightfully theirs. The three main ethical problems Napster presented are, do they cheat recording artists, do they break copyright infringement laws and how can we solve the dilemma between music file sharing. There has been a varied reaction from recording industry and the majority is anti Napster. Two main recording artists Metallica and Dr. Dre have taken actions against Napster. They accused over three hundred thousand people on Napster for music piracy, which means they are stealing songs. There is a huge difference between sharing and stealing. All Napster did was to allow people share songs from one another. At some time somebody had to have bought that recording artists C.D., or it would not have ended up on the Napster network. People who have C.D. burners take it into their own hands to burn them. Burning songs from Napster onto your own C.D. is a copyright infringement, but Napster did not provide C.D. burners in their software the computers people own do. On Napster's web page, there is a warning about the copyright infringement laws. Recording artists feel they are being cheated, but record sales went up 2% since last year. "Many people expressed gratitude to Napster for introducing them to new music and also claimed that they bought more C.D.'s because of Napster"(Sager 2). Napster has helped struggling recording artists, or artists who were waiting to be heard. Using Napster to spread music is a great...
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