Napster is the leader in Internet companies. Napster is a software program that allows registered users to download and upload music over the Internet, free of cost. Over the past few years, Napster has been the target of criticism, disapproval and lawsuits. It has been one of the most talked about controversies amongst the music industry.
Since practically its birth Napster has been harassed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). RIAA claims that Napster has committed copyright infringement of artists' music by allowing its users to share music without charging to use the service.
"On December 8th, 1999 the RIAA filed a lawsuit against Napster for copyright infringement and is asking for $100 million in damages. The suit also represented 18 recording labels" (Meehan 7).
There are two distinct opposing viewpoints on Napster. "Napster is about facilitating piracy, and trying to build a business on the backs of artists and copyright owners, according to a senior executive vice president and general counsel of the RIAA. The RIAA's argues that the artists should have compensation for their music that is being pirated by Napster" (Meehan 7).
However, in July Napster's lawyers finally gave the first public statement against the claims of RIAA, record labels, and the artists. "Napster attorneys said that finding and downloading copyrighted songs for free is protected by law as long as Napster members themselves aren't making money from the recordings." (Barry par 3) So therefore Napster is nothing illegal, and neither are their users as long as no one is making money off the music.
Just as Napster became popular and familiar to almost everyone with a computer, the company lost its court case. This meant that Napster had to block all copyrighted music from being downloaded. There were still ways around this for a while, like typing the artists' name or song title incorrectly. But that didn't last forever. Eventually the whole program was shutdown completely. For how long? This is something that is currently in the works. Napster is working on a new system that will be fair for users and fair for music artists'. However, how this is will be done is still a major question. Can Napster survive by charging for music and paying royalties to artists' and / or record companies?
If Napster is no longer going to be a free service many Internet users will no longer have interest. This does not seem to be a problem for music lovers. Regardless of what happens to Napster there are many other alternatives to getting music over the Internet. Mainly it was because of the success in which Napster had, that set off the other competitors. However, none of Napster's competitors have been taken to court, even though both Napster and Napster alternatives freely share copyrighted materials....