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Napster Case Study

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Sean Fanning, the creator of Napster, had no idea of the effects when he jumpstarted Napster in 1998. Hundreds of thousands of songs were being exchanged by the blink of an eye, minute after minute, millions by the hour. This had the record companies and artists heads spinning with no solution for the matter in sight. From the greed stricken record industry executives to the teenagers downloading the latest Limp Bizkit track, it seemed as though everyone had their own stance towards the file sharing experience. Despite its popularity, not everyone was thrilled with Napster and other file sharing communities. The continuous usage of Napster causes catastrophic long-term effects for the music industries.

The record labels have been the loudest voice of opposition and yet the most unwilling to compromise. They say that the program enables users to violate copyright laws, which into profits. Under the law these companies are justified. The Copyright Act of 1976 says that owners have five rights:

1. Only the copyright owner may reproduce or make copies of the work.

2. Only the copyright owner may create adoptions of the work.

3. Only the copyright owner may distribute copies of the work to the public.

4. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to perform the work in public.

5. Only the copyright owner may display the work in public.

Napster recklessly defies all of these. Without exception every right of a copyright holder is violated. It is publicly

acknowledged that in many ways it is in fact stealing from the copyrighted material. Mike Langberg of Mercury Records states that "Musicians would stop recording new music, because they couldn't afford studio time. There wouldn't be any big new stars, because the record industry couldn't justify the intensive marketing that exposes promising talent to a national audience." So therefore the people who are abusing the gift of music by downloading it free of charge would eventually make the artist creating the music unable to make new music because they would not be making any money. Such financial incapacitations would devastate all record labels foreign and domestic.

Napster affects the artist both new and old because it doesn't allow them to make the money they have worked hard to make. Those who really suffer from Napster and other file-sharing programs are newer bands. When a record label picks up a new band, it is uncertain whether they will have the appeal necessary to hold the attention span of the American public. For this reason young artists are not paid that much for every CD that they sell. The first album that an artist releases is not meant to make money, but to solidify their status as an entertainer. With the introduction of Internet file-sharing a varible has been created in the assessment process. A band could have huge popularity, yet their label would not know it because file exchanges are not reported. These new artists are the ones that need the sales the most, and often times do not produce them because their one good song can be downloaded from the Internet. On the other hand, old bands such as Metallica who



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