Technology is an important aspect of human life that no one is capable of halting or even slowing down. As human life develops and becomes fuller with the pleasures of life, it is inevitable technology will continue to grow exponentially. Unfortunately, many people would like to believe that while technology is advancing, certain industries and businesses are suffering. The invention of the MP3, and the peer-to-peer file sharing technology is just a new enemy’ in the eyes of big business and a scapegoat for copyright infringement, just as the cassette tape, the radio, and VHS have been in the past.
In the 2001 Information & Communications Technology Law Journal, Vol 10, No. 3 author Maria Anestopoulou attempts to connect the relationships between the newfound popularity of the MP3 (file sharing) and the legal implications of copyright infringement that accompany them. Through explanations of the technology and the analysis of the court cases against companies like Napster, Anestopoulou’s article, Challenging Intellectual Property Law in the Internet: An overview of the legal implications of the MP3 technology, tries to give the reader an understanding of the benefits the internet presents to the world, while causing the facilitation of copyright crimes.
As stated in the abstract, Anestopoulou’s article “Attempts to provide an understanding of the contrast between the fundamental notion surrounding the Internet that global society should benefit from access to free flow of information whilst unauthorized copying of material normally protected by copyright can be facilitated.” (1) The essence of the idea presented in the abstract can first be seen in the article’s explicit title of Challenging Intellectual Property Law in the Internet: An overview of the legal implications of the MP3 technology, this title in itself is crisp and clear, giving the reader a clear view of what they can find in the article and a very basic idea of what the author’s general abstract and hypothesis could possibly be.
Beginning with the introduction, the ideas of the abstract are adhered to as Anestopoulou quickly covers the topic of the premier idea of the internet which is that “Global society should benefit from access from the vast potentialities that it offers,” (1) she then goes on to cover the implications of copyright infringement that come with the benefits the internet offers explaining that “This power provides a contrast in that it can also facilitate the unauthorised copying of material normally protected by Intellectual Property Law.” (1) The author gives a clear overview of the article in the introduction, while tying the principles of the abstract in as well, summarizing the problem that the MP3 technology has caused, while briefly mentioning the lawsuits brought forth against Napster and mp3.com, the clarity of the overview Anestopoulou presents can be seen through this quote:
The controversy surrounding unauthorised copying of material is centred
on the usage of MP3 compression software technology, the most popular format
for distributing audio music .les over the Internet.
The legal issues in relation to the usage of the MP3 technology were .rst
recognised in late 1999, ultimately resulting in the music industry bringing two
separate lawsuits,1 alleging that two start-up Internet companies, MP3.com2 and
Napster,3 were facilitating copyright infringement by allowing the extensive
distribution of copyrighted music without authorisation over the Internet.
This paper will consider issues of copyright infringement and unauthorised
reproduction and distribution of copyrighted music as highlighted in the cases against MP3.com and Napster.4 Additionally, to the extent that the outcome of
the aforementioned cases are likely to influence the future of copyright protection
in the online environment, the paper will also address the legal implications
of the MP3 technology in relation to the applicability, adequacy and effectiveness
of the traditional norms of Intellectual Property Law.
Moreover, the interpretation of Law in those cases in accordance with the
ultimate aim of copyright protection to reach a fair balance between the rights
of the consumers-users to free flow and free access to information and the
protection of the rights of copyright holders will be explored. (1) From the clear and precise direction presented through the title, abstract, and introduction Anestopoulou moves on to the heart of the article with the purpose of giving the reader the sense of understanding that was a goal of the abstract.
Along with the smooth transitions and understandable language, Anestpoulou utilizes comes her ability to tie in credible evidence, of court cases concerning both www.mp3.com and the popular file-sharing program Napster. The specifics and primary sources that the writer uses are vital to proving her argument and tying back into her abstract. The quote:
Judge Jed S Rakoff of the District Court of New York ruled47 on 4 May 2000,
answering the above question, by granting partial summary judgment in favour
of the plaintiffs.48 In a lucid statement in the introductory sentence of his
opinion, Judge Rakoff stressed:
The complex marvels of cyberspatial communication may create
difficult legal issues but not in this case. Defendant’s infringement of
plaintiff’s copyright is clear.49
Is effective in progressing the understanding of how technology and other legalities are now so closely intertwined. The writer the goes on to further explore and analyze the article, as well as another article that pertains to the issue of Mp3’s and the legal consequences of copyright infringement.
Though the article presented by Anestoupoulou is one that is well written and well documented, it is not one without faults. The abstract is clearly the base of the paper, what she writes throughout the paper clearly does what her abstract claims; however, the simplicity and lack of original, intriguing ideas takes away from its overall allure. Anestopoulou relies heavily on documented court cases and stale statistics to demonstrate the relationships between MP3s and copyright infringement. The article would have been much more effective if it could catch the reader’s attention and hold it firmly, while still expressing the points and ideas originally expressed.
The author would do better to form more of her own argument, instead of making a synthesis of arguments already perpetuated by data and court cases. Anestopoulou also seemingly assumes that many people know and are familiar with the internet, Napster, Mp3.com, and mp3’s in general. Her argument would have been strengthened by the presence of a stronger background of information on these very important components of the article. The empirical data is used wisely, and derived from credible sources, but overall, I believe the paper could be much better.