You read the newest interview of your favorite band talking with Rolling Stone. In that interview, they are asked whom they are listening to these days. The answer is not what you expected. The rest of the interview is all about this new band that they are raving about. Who is this new band, and why do they seem so great?
You quickly log onto your computer and start downloading a song from this mysterious band. The download completes, and the song is awesome! Now you know why this group is respected musically by the ones you respect in the business. All thanks to the incredible MP3!
MP3 is a small compressed format that allows music to be downloaded quickly with very little sacrifice in the sound quality. Moving Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer III is what MP3 stands for. All this came about in the 1980's when a German Institute wanted to code music a different way. They did so and received a patent for the MP3. About 20 years later, there were many applications making MP3's an everyday thing. People around the world were downloading copyrighted music for free (Jones). In 1999, there were 60,000 MP3 websites and 6,000,000 people downloading a day (Knab). No one was concerned, but then Napster arrived (Jones).
Napster will probably always be remembered as the MP3 software that allowed just about any song to be downloaded at any time by anyone who had an internet connection. The music industry was successful in changing Napster from a free source to a charging subscription. Others like Napster still exist because they have found ways of getting around all of the problems, but they are currently being pursued by the music industry in terms of shutting down. Record labels are upset because of the control they are losing. All of this swapping of MP3's should not be considered theft (Jones).
The concept of sharing is what the battle is over. Most companies now provide a software that allows users to share files. They share by downloading directly off of another user's hard drive (Auster).
The opposition states that MP3 does not offer copyright protection (Ferranti).Nick Petreley says, "I don't want anyone to make money off of my ideas and work unless I give them permission to do so. And if anyone does get my permission, I want a cut. The copyright issue[...]is simple: money." With copyright laws intact, all of this sharing is illegal.
The courts think different. The reason Napster was in trouble with copyright laws is because it held a database where the files were stored for users to download from. Other companies, like KaZaA, don't have a database. They just provide the software needed to share files, computer to computer, for users to swap. This is not illegal (Auster).
Christopher Knab gives this advice to emerging artists, "Hell, give your music away[...]do you want fans or not?!" This is another advantage to MP3. New artists can benefit from this free system of getting their music heard. All an inspiring musician needs is...