Napster Napster is an on-line Internet site, which holds account for the swapping of music files from one user to another. A person downloads music onto his or her computer and whoever enters the Napster website can copy the music onto a disk for their own listening enjoyment. This sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? Well, according to music artists such as Metallica and Dr. Dre and also the RIAA, Recording Industry Association of America, it is contributing to massive levels of copyright infringement with its service (Borland). However, most people believe that it is a legal business that is linked with the First Amendment and fair use principles where consumers have the right to record for noncommercial purposes (Snider).
Many people believe that Napster should not be eliminated in that it allows for free entertainment, offers a wide variety of both new and old music, and is simply an improvement on the technology of our country. Numerous college students spend their funds on things like tuition, books, car payments, utility bills and apartment rent. Most of the time they have no money left over to spend leisurely, so how are they supposed to afford buying CD’s, especially in such a high-priced world? Napster provides an excellent alternative to getting the music one wants without having to purchase an over-priced CD which probably only contains two or three songs that are recognizable and enjoyable. Also, most songs cannot even be found on compact discs or cassette tapes such as songs that have been remixed to provide a dancing beat for nightclubs. With Napster all of these things are accessible. Secondly, Napster provides not only new music, but old music as well, such as music from the 70’s and 80’s and even earlier.
Those songs, which may before have been found on A-tracks, can now be found and copied onto a CD, and sound just as pleasant as the original. “There are many different varieties of music to choose from,” states Elizabeth Baumy, and LSU student who has reaped the benefits of Napster. She also claims that it has music that suits everyone’s tastes. This vast array of selections provides for the increasing popularity of the site and its 32 million users (Konrad). College students love that they can record songs such as rap and techno music and incorporate them all into one CD. This could not be done before.
Not only does Napster provide many choices of free music, but it is also contributing to the development of new technology in our world. The Consumer Electronics Association, or CEA, states, “Napster would establish a damaging precedent that could threaten other technologies that give individuals new control over the information they find, save, and transmit over the Internet.” (qtd. in Snider). Technology has been increasing dramatically since the beginning of time. For example, the movie industry feared the VCR, but the idea of recording movies that were in fact copyrighted became legal. Other examples would be the record industry vs. cassette tape and newspapers vs. television (Page).
Nevertheless, the courts and society accepted these new forms of technology and they are now a part of our everyday lives. So, should Napster be banned, or remain functioning? This answer is held in the eye of the law. Even if Napster is taken away, many other sites have been developed to distribute music to users (Borland). Then what? Will the courts spend enormous amounts of time chasing these other companies and shutting them down? They do not have the strength or the time. Napster is not hurting anybody. In fact, it has actually helped CD sales increase (Page). People are finding out about songs they didn’t even know existed and are rushing to stores to buy the music.
Thus, Napster is not hurting anyone, not even the record companies. It should be allowed to stay in business and just might even prevail this time, but one can only patiently wait and see. Bibliography Works Cited Borland, John. “Online music-traders consider Napster alternatives.” CNET News. (3 Oct. 2000).
Konrad, Rachel. “Napster among fastest-growing Net technologies.” CNET News. (5 Oct. 2000) Page, Clarence. “Record industry should enlist, not oppose Napster.” Los Angeles Daily News 8 Oct. 2000 Snider, Mike.
“Napster supporters rebuke ruling.” USA Today Sep. 2000 Music Essays.