Chapter 1: Research Framework
1.1 Preface ……………………………………………………………….... Napster was one of the controversial online music file sharing company created by Shawn Fanning, a student of Northeastern University, Boston. The service and technology allowed users to share MP3 files with other logged in users of Napster via the internet. While it gained popularity for music sharing, it attracted the attention of the music industry accusing Napster for breaching plaintiff rights and copyright violations which saw them facing law suits from artists like Dr. Dre , music companies like EMI, BMG. In July 2001, after an intense battle with the recording companies Napster had to shut down its operation in order to comply with the injunction issued by the US Court of Appeals. It paid millions of dollars in law suits and liquidated its assets under Chapter 7 of the US bankruptcy laws. Later, it was taken over by the Private Media Group in the US who sold Napster’s brand name and logo to Roxio Inc in an auction. Roxio Inc. rebranded their Pressplay music as Napster 2.0. In 2008, the US electronics retailer Best Buy purchased Napster from Roxio Inc for $121 million.
1.2 Relevance of the study
1.3 Major Objectives Of The Research ……………………………………………………….... Our research objectives include the analysis of the controversy surrounding Napster's business, the ethical background of the case, and the ways by which Napster was accused of being unethical on carrying out its business activities. Our project aims to discuss the ethics in dealing with intellectual property on the net, and how file sharing/music sharing in the Internet has brought forward a new ethical dilemma for this matter. The project report will also look into how Napster tried to defend itself against the accusations, and how this case have affected the legal and ethical environment of file/music sharing in the Post-Napster Era. We look forward to inform the reader about this new issue that have been the center of debate on P2P file sharing since the year 2000, and how some arguments which speak on its favor have not been helpful for its survival. We would like to bring forward the arguments put by Napster in its defense, while point out its legal as well as ethical problems that eventually resulted in its closure. 1.4 Methodology of the Research
Chapter 2: Background of Napster
In May 1999 an undergraduate student from Northeastern University of Boston named Shawn Fanning with the help of his friend Sean Parker and uncle John Fanning, founded Napster, Inc. It paved the way for person-to-person file-sharing tool which allowed users to share files and music. It took Shawn a little over 5 days to write a small MP3-sharing software application known as Napster. It was originally designed for the exchange of Fanning and his friend’s own recordings, but soon spread throughout the campus and beyond. Napster quickly became popular for mainstream MP3s, and an MP3-sharing community was built soon after the programs popularity started to spread like a wild fire! Shawn Fanning knew that people wanted to have tools in the internet which would enable them to search and share files. He knew that most people had lots of files on their computers’ hard drives that were unused. The main ideology of this business was to enable other users around the globe to share these files with each other that might encourage entertainment otherwise find some use for them. However, the files in question were specifically music files. Fanning took the beta version of his program and transferred it to download.com. Napster was an instant hit. In just a few days, 3,000 to 4,000 people downloaded Napster. It quickly became the most popular download on that website. The overwhelming response to his program made it clear to him that his program was not just a passing event, but actually a huge new concept that could change the way the world knew music. John...
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