Not too long ago, a college student created a computer program that would change the world. This computer program is called Napster, and it has been terrorizing the music industry since it's conception in August of 1999. Napster is an internet program used to download mainly copyrighted songs. Napster calls it trading, but the record companies and artists call it stealing.
Before the creation of Napster, people had to drive out to the record stores to buy their favorite albums. Many of these cds had only one or two good songs, and the rest was just filler music. If a person did not want to buy the cd, they could record it onto tape, but the sound quality never came out as good as the origional. One day, all that suddenly changed. During 1997, college students with little money discovered a file format that allowed them to compress the size of an audio recording, without sacrificing quality. This format is called MP3, which stands for ISO-MPEG Audio Layer-3. The MP3 format was first created in 1987 by an engineering firm called FraunhoferIIS. Back then, MP3's took forever to make. Now, they can quickly be made within minutes. The creation of MP3 provided a practical way to trade music from one friend to another.
The re-discovery of the MP3 format was the first step in the birth of Napster. Prior to Napster, the only way you could get MP3 files were through friends or getting them off the internet. Downloading songs off of the Internet was not much of an option though. They were available, but MP3's were very hard to find. Most of the MP3's found were not anything that people were wanting to download. Basically, the only songs that could be found were uncopyrighted ones. These uncopyrighted songs were from unheard of bands mostly, and people did not want to have these songs. Most students tried to find a way to transfer songs from one computer to another, but their attemts failed.
Shawn Fanning, an 18 year old freshman at Northeastern University in Boston, also had become frusturated with trying to find the MP3's that he wanted. One day, a great idea popped into his head. He envisioned a computer program that connected users computers together through a massive server so that they could exchange songs with each other. That day, as he was coming homing to his dorm room, he decided that he was not going back to school the next day, or any other day. He wanted to devote all the time that he had to the construction of Napster. His parents were furious that their son was dropping out of college, and said that he'd never amount to anything. Shawn didn't care though. He couldn't get his brilliant idea out of his head. He left all of his possessions in his dorm room, except for his laptop, which he took everywhere that he went. To create this program, he had to have some knowledge on the basis of computer programming. Fanning had to teach himself the Windows programming code and the Unix server code to make Napster operatable. Experts agree that it is...