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The Napster Controversy

In the controversy against Napster, many supporters fight to keep their freedom alive. This case is about whether the plaintiffs can use their control of music copyrights to achieve control over Napster’s decentralized technology and prevent it from transforming the Internet in ways that might undermine their present chokehold on music promotion and distribution. This small state of affairs has caused a huge clash in the way the people of the United States feel about their freedom of free music.

I believe that mp3’s and Napster have been a gateway for introducing unknown bands and spreading overpopulated songs to the ones who cannot buy CD’s or even get a CD player. Napster is a device that shares, not steals. Supporting Napster is probably one of the best things a person can do because we are fighting for the right of the freedom of free music. There are so many bands out there that no one has even heard of. These bands have very few ways of making them stand out above the crowd.

But how can they do this without lots of money and tons of publicity? Using Napster to spread their music is a great approach to grab the attention of many. Once they have an mp3 out on Napster it is just one click away before several thousand users can enjoy the music of the unknown. It is true that there are several other methods that these bands could use to introduce themselves to the world but why not start using a free service that millions have access to.

You know that feeling when you hear a boy-band pop song being played over and over and over again and it makes your face just cringe? Well if you think about it, there are little girls (even boys) out there just dying to play it over and over in their house but they can’t because either they can’t afford it or they don’t have access to a CD or tape player. This is not just an example for young girls idolizing over their dream guy in a boy band, but anyone who does not have access to music but has access to a computer.

Overplayed songs are the most popular songs on Napster. The songs that reach number one on the charts or are played again and again on the radio seem to be the most downloaded off Napster. This service is great for those who are inopportune with this music. Yes, this system may seem unfair to those artists creating and trying to make a living off their music but is it not selfish to share the music with those unable to purchase their albums. Metallica is one band involved in all this controversy against Napster.

The band Metallica has delivered the names of 335,000 people it accuses of music piracy to the online company it says aided the theft. How is it this band that is selfish and upset because they are not getting paid for the sharing of their music, can report over three hundred thousand people who had no idea it was a “form” of stealing. Stealing is a hard word to use in this case. There is a huge difference between sharing and stealing. Lars Ulrich is the drummer of Metallica and the one who is behind all the controversy.

Ulrich suggested the music traders were cowards, using high technology for low-down theft even as some fans broke their Metallica CDs and others waved anti-recording industry banners outside Napster headquarters. “If they want to steal Metallica’s music, instead of hiding behind their computers in their bedrooms and dorm rooms, then just go down to Tower Records and grab them off the shelves,” Ulrich said. Technologies that preceded Napster, such as radio, television and photocopy machines all permitted new methods of copyright infringement.

But courts allowed them to flourish because legitimate uses were possible. “Only when the technology is not capable of legitimate uses does it make sense to outlaw it,” wrote the professors from schools such as New York University, Georgetown University and Boston College. Spreading music to the deprived, sharing the songs no one knows and creating a new freedom for music is definitely something that should be considered as an option in this case because if radio and television can slide off copyrights then can’t there be a way for Napster?

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