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Napster Problem or Solution

In mid-1999, 19 year old Northeastern University student Shawn Fanning designed a computer program that allowed one to log on to a central server, and be able to download mp3 music files from another computer at lightning speed, with great ease. He called this program Napster, afterhis old high school nickname. Since it’s inception, Napster has sparked court cases involvingevery major record company in North America, and created a worldwide debate about copyrightinfringement and it’s effects on the music industry. Napster is a peer to peer file-sharing program designed specifically for the exchange of MPEG 1Layer 3,also known as MP3, digital audio files. These files are super-compressed audio thatwould normally be more than ten times larger than they are as MP3s. This is because MP3sspecial coding cuts down on file size while maintaining nearly all noticeable sound quality.Because of this people use MP3s to record songs and store them on their computers. They can beplayed using many different pieces of audio software available such as Nullsoft’s Winamp andMicrosoft Windows Media Player. Napster is designed to facilitate the easy searching andexchanging of MP3 files by allowing users to search for specific songs or artists and displaying alist of those songs available through other Napster users. This is great for users who want toenjoy free music but the record companies aren’t quite as happy about this. They are concernedthat Napster steals money from them and the artists that they represent. This is because ifNapster users get songs for free from other users, they won’t be paying the record companies forCDs. Luckily for the record companies, there are laws in place to protect interests such as theirs.These laws are called copyright laws. They prevent people from using, distributing, or sellingthings that are not theirs. By having music that one did not buy on a CD, or distributing musicthrough p...

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