Napster. Chances and problems of file sharings

Pre-University Paper, 2002

17 Pages, Grade: 14 Points

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Napster - Chances and problems of file sharings

1. Advantages and disadvantages of file sharings
1.1. Advantages for the user
1.2. Restrictive factors for the user

2. Technical background
2.1. Different types of file sharings
2.2. Technical innovations

3. In the legal sense
3.1. The musical industry's attitude
3.2. Napster's justification
3.3. Lawful situation
3.4. Problems regarding challenges against file sharings
3.5. Problems for convicted file sharings

4. Economic situation
4.1. Economical consequences for the music industry
4.2. Chances for the music industry through Napster
4.3. Chances for artists through Napster

5. Reactions towards Napster
5.1. Reactions of the music industry
5.2. Reactions of artists

6. Napster's future developments






Over the last decades, very few technical developments have influenced the entire music world in such a groundbreaking manner as file sharings and, on its forefront, Napster. With Napster being the perfect example for the subject's success and its problems, I'll start off this paper by giving an insight on the founding and development of this remarkable company.

Its story of success and worldwide effects seems even more unreal, if you take into account that a 19 year old, seemingly normal USA college student originally founded it. His name is Shawn Fanning, born in 1980 as son of Colleen Fanning and a musician who left her only a few days after their first meeting, and he was the one to set off an earthquake in the whole music industry by inventing the first file sharing on the internet. Always being mad about playing with computers, he soon tried to create a platform where people interested in music were able to exchange their music files, because until then you had to search via or in the IRC (Internet relay chat) network if you wanted to have any MP3s. So downloading Mp3s was very uncomfortable and most of the time you weren't able to find what you were looking for.1 "I had this idea that there was a lot of material out there sitting on people's hard drives," he says "...and I had to figure out a way to go and get it."2

With his ability to develop semi-complex computer programs and his determination to please many friends in his region complaining about exaggerated music prizes he finally started to make his imaginations come true. He dropped out of college, which was never a real preference of him, and tried to work out capable software ensuring a faultless file sharing.

When he finally uploaded his site in May 1999 after a month of daytime nighttime labour his friends were the first to use it. But with every second it became more and more popular and soon he realized that his thoughts involved a huge potential. Along with his uncle John, who had always supported him through the years, he moved from the East Coast to the West Coast of the USA, the main focus of the US computer industry, to launch the first registered file sharing service called Napster. With the increasing popularity among music freaks, Napster rapidly became a target for the music industry, particularly the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and 18 influential record companies (for example Sony, Bertelsmann), suing it for copyright infringement as 87% of the shared files were copyright protected. Instituting many legal proceedings against Napster discussing illegal offences and a possible shut-down, the music industry tried to squash it with the threat of worth millions amounts of compensation. Through the summer of 2000, there were many trials and verdicts to this case, including a short ban on trading with copyright-protected material on July 26 that was revoked only 2 days later. In the meantime, Napster was trying to get out of all the continuous, threatening trials by discussing several offers with the music industry. It promised an amount of compensation worth a billion dollar or a filter that would be able to identify music files by its audio structure. But as these offers were either insufficient or unrealistic, the music industry did not accept them. These days it became more and more obvious that the court would decide in favour of the music industry and forbid the free file sharing. The final injunction was enacted in February 2001 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dictating the immediate stop of all- illegal song trading. But as the executive committee expected such a decision, they knew that something had to be done in order to validate future perspectives.

From then on it was obvious to them that Napster would never be the same again, because without 87% of the usually shared data, many users would begin looking for a substitute. There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel until a big German media enterprise announced interests of making a partnership with the booming Internet firm. It was Bertelsmann, formerly involved in the Napster lawsuit and its chairman Thomas Middelhoff, a likeable, open- minded person aged 47, emphasized the "similar thinking about the value of membership communities"3 and as a result informed the public about the up-coming co- operation with Napster after convincing Shawn Fanning in a private meeting on October, 31. 2000. The most important aim of this alliance was the recreation of Napster as a fee-based music downloading service and so Napster temporarily stopped the business for reconstruction efforts. Bertelsmann supported Napster with two payments of each about 50 million Dollars, which ensured them an option of getting a later co-ownership. The purpose was to guarantee a smooth reorganization and the creation of efficient filter software that should avoid any more illegal trades and accelerate the rebirth of Napster. There were also claims of compensation (about 36 million Dollar) for repeated copyright infringements from the music industry that had to be paid. First the return of Napster was dated in summer 2001 but as there were some technical problems left it was delayed to the beginning of 2002.

Advantages for the user

What is the first question that comes into one`s mind listening to Napster`s story of success? One would surely wonder about the advantages offered to the Internet users by Napster and all the other file sharing services. The first and most important one is clearly visible. People using free downloading services do not have to pay anything at all, that means they can get any released CD for free just by indicating the right names of the artists or album titles. This argument gains an even greater importance regarding the mostly exaggerated prices for certain music items, especially CDs. Without having serious competition through the years, the music industry could determine the prices and control the economy. Especially in poorer countries (like China for example) there are many music fans, among them a high percentage of kids and teenagers, that do not have the money to purchase every CD they like and so Napster constitutes a cheap and popular alternative for them. Another positive aspect of Napster is the continuous availability. Every time you feel like listening to new music, you can go online and satisfy your certain desire, even on Sundays and public holidays. Any day- or night-time you will find many people using file sharings because of the different time zones and worldwide access. So you will never be on your own trying to meet a musical kindred spirit. Another useful side-effect is that every user has the possibility to get to know people with the same music interest by sending an e- mail to the address which is indicated the time you download something from another computer. This way you can tie friendships all over the world which is quite a positive, congenial method of getting rid of prejudices, at least to a small extent. However, there are still some more practical reasons for making use of file sharings. It is really comfortable, for example, to go shopping in the Worldwide Web instead of setting foot in overcrowded CD shops with cashiers who are at the end of their tethers. With the developing music portals the chance of listening to a favourite song without the need of buying the whole CD (which is probably not that good), has finally appeared.

Restrictive factors for the user

But as magnificient as the consuments' benefits seem, there are still some minor details, which may spoil the usually unproblematic use of free downloading services. One of the most disturbing factors is the loss of quality going hand in hand with the transformation of music information into the MP3 format and back. This is an inevitable measure, because without the MP3 packing, the music file would be too memory intensive to transfer. If you burn the music information on a CD-R, there are also quality losses to be noted. Summing up it can be said, that the quality is not much worse compared to an unadulterated CD but the real music expert would surely prefer listening to an original released one. Another point is that, as there is no program to determine the quality of the downloaded data, the audible results tend to fluctuate in a sizable scale. Sometimes a whole downloading procedure is in vain because the quality is just unbearable. That problem mostly applies to peer-to-peer services, which can hardly control the shared files. The transfer of music information from one computer to another one is not always going off smoothly, too, because there are several sources of error: the server could cancel the requested download by switching off the computer, the data transfer could be aborted by an incorrect file or the file sharing platform may be so over-crowded that waiting periods are beyond toleration. The last mentioned disadvantage is the incompatibility of CD- Rs with certain types of CD players, which results in them not being able to be reproduced.

So, as the mentioned arguments should have definitely demonstrated, the users' disadvantages of file sharings can easily be neglected compared to their benefits, which is the explanation for its immense worldwide success.

Technical background

All the musical information transmitted via Internet is packed in a so-called MP3 format, compressing songs into small and portable files. In principal there are two different types of file sharings on the Internet. The first one is called "central system" because there is one main computer where all MP3 files are stored and users are able to download them. The second one is the so-called peer-to-peer system. Everybody who downloads the Napster software on his computer is server and client at the same time. As the user defines a special part on his hard disc he puts the corresponding MP3- files at the other users` disposal.4 In this case, the main server's only task is to administer the adresses and music files of its participants rather than storing them. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of the systems. On the one hand the P2P system guarantees a steadily growing variety of songs and a chance to meet other people with the same music interests. There is also no need for time-consuming searching or never-ending delaying because of overloaded central servers. But on the other hand there is hardly any possibility of inspecting the shared files regarding copyright infringements and bad quality. As Napster was the first program to use the P2P technology it becomes clear why, of all the emerging file sharings, Napster appeared to the music industry as its worst nightmare. In the recent past, a third fundamental alternative was introduced by the likes of Gnutella and Morpheus. Their users are tied together like the knots of a fishing net, without their software requiring a central adress register to seek and download data. Compared to Napster, whose judicial case will be discussed later on, this fact impedes a courts' shut down order of their servers.5

And as there are still some supplementary technical developments going on that have already helped to prepare the ground for future successes, the demand for free file sharing on the Internet will further rise . The improvements in the issue of data processing are so enormous, that within a short period, information will be transmitted in half the time. New inventions like T-DSL of the German Telecom are keeping the loading time to a minimum and even the increase of efficiency of personal computers for home- use seems to explode. It follows from this, that the downloading time for a song is sharply reduced and the probability of transmitting faults is lowered. More and more music fans are drawn to file sharing programs by falling online subscriptions costs, caused by tough competition in the sector of telecommunication. A current flat-rate offer amounts to 20$ including a whole month of Internet surfing. The probably most important reason for the increasing popularity of file sharing is the still growing variety of freely disposable things. In addition to audio files, new, less specialized file sharings (like Morpheus or Kazaar) enable the download of millions of pictures of all kinds slumbering on the hard disks of every individual computer. In addition to that, the most up-to-date video clips are also available, as well as every imaginable computer game. However, the biggest technical improvement recently affecting this matter is called DivX. "DivX is a new type of video compression that can compress a DVD down to the size of a CD with little loss of quality. It was created from a cracked version of Microsoft's MPEG-4 codec (a peace of software encoding and decoding videos), and combined with MP3 audio compression technology it is the future of video compression and quality."11 Endowed with this invention you are able to download many films, sometimes even the newest blockbusters and on top of that Hollywood productions, which were only seen by the actors and the director before. That's why the film industry "is starting to face the same download demons already haunting the music industry."12

The music industry's attitude

The music industry has a definite point of view when it comes to the discussion whether free file sharing is tolerable or not. Let's compare a CD with a concert ticket. Both things have almost no material va lue but the prize is easily explained by their subsequent benefit. With a concert ticket you are able to experience a performance of your favourite artist while a CD enables the purchaser to listen to the newest creative output of a beloved band. There has been almost no single discussion about exaggerated concert ticket prices and nobody would mind if they would be a bit higher next time because artists surely have to finance their show. It's all a bit different regarding CDs, though. Not only the value of the brainwork of artists and the consideration of a CD as a work of art are often neglected but also the resulting costs of recording, producing and marketing. These often underrated factors become quite more evident, if you take into account that only 10-15% of all new releases can cover the expenses they cause.

And while nobody ever wants to get into trouble with a forger of concert tickets because they are viewed as criminals, people who make hundreds of copies of CDs are socially accepted. With this exemplary comparison the music industry tries to demonstrate the logical illegality of corporations like Napster who disregard the value of intellectual property as they give music freaks the possibility to trade copyright protected songs.5

Napster`s justification

However, Napster and all the other file sharings have a complete different point of view. They claim that they don't have to take the responsibility for the shared music files because they cannot always keep an eye on it. They claim they are just supplying a neutral platform where people can exchange certain things. In their opinion there is no reason to blame the site creators because they don't induce anybody to do illegal activities, although they can surely estimate the consequences of their service.

Lawful situation

Basically, it is not forbidden to make a copy of copyright-protected material, if the intended purpose is for one's personal needs. Most laws of the world's countries agree in that point. But when it comes to the discussion whether free file sharing should be permitted or not, there are noticeable differences. Well, and as there is no standardized law in the world concerning this topic, it is very complicated to handle it because everybody owning an Internet account has got access to the Worldwide Web. Let's take an example: If a Chinese launches a file sharing service where all music files are traded, nobody in China would do something against it because it is legal there. But which law becomes effective if an American is downloading songs from this Internet platform? And who is to blame in this case? It is obvious, there are still many questions left to be answered. In most European countries, but especially in America, where the biggest music corporations are located, the first trials against music piracy are decided in favour of the music industry, assumably because nobody wants to ruin the whole music economy, in which many jobs and much money are involved.

Problems regarding challenges against file sharing

The music companies have difficulties in isolating copyright protected songs from the circulation of the file sharing systems. Here are some reasons for it. First of all, file sharings are springing up like mushrooms in the Worldwide Web because the creation of a peer-to- peer file sharing system does not require a computer specialist and there are enough people out there trying to get additional earnings or even riches. And file sharings, though the present ones are solely financed by advertising, can be quite a worthwile bus iness, depending on the number of users.

There are so many new sites every month that taking them all to court is not practicable for the record companies, as tracking them down in the almost infinite expanse of the Internet is next to impossible. With every judicially forced shut down there are even more new programs emerging out of nowhere. At a cautious estimate there are 500 to 700 file sharings providing a stable platform for some more years of illegal music stealing. The next big obstacles are the never-ending trials against these illegal operating file sharings. In this case, Napster itself is the perfect example, because though it had to appear in court in December 1999, it was able to continue illegal exchanges of copyright protected material until February 2001. One reason is that there was no precedence, which was why the judiciary had to discuss precisely the anyhow hazy formulated laws. Another one is that there are legal ways to lodge an appeal, artificially delaying the process by taking the case to the next higher tribunal. Another serious problem more and more record companies face is, that through the hands of corrupt employees, brand-new produced CDs of famous artists find their way onto file sharings before they are officially released. O f course, this fact is causing an even greater demand for file sharings which results in millions of "real" CDs not finding their way to the fans.

Problems for convicted file sharings

If the court finally decides in favour of the prosecuting party, the file sharing has to prevent illegal activities on its site. But this proves to be a quite difficult task, as there are few technical aids to be utilized. The most usual technology is a program able to examine the shared files. If the file is identified as a prohibited one, the sharing process is cancelled. But these filter programs are not undisputed because they are still unripe, defective and easily to avoid. Mostly file-traders only have to add or leave out a single letter (for example `Madona` instead of `Madonna`) and as a result the software does not recognize the musical information which is traded.

So, if the Internet Company cannot cope with illegally shared music within a certain deadline, they have to shut down their servers.

Economical consequences for the music industry

The Napster phenomenon has an unimaginable influence on the worldwide music market. The prospect of getting a huge CD collection for free is naturally very enticing, although it is prohibited to trade with copyright protected material in most countries. On every second original CD comes one self-burned CD and these figures are expected to grow exponentially.

" Der weltweite Umsatz mit Piraterieprodukten stieg in den letzten zehn Jahren von 1,1 auf 4,1 Milliarden DM."6 These developments have a negative influence on the just emerging music markets of the most affected countries like China, where up to 90% of the CDs are illegally downloaded.7 Or let's refer to Germany as an example: 54% of the 247 million CD- Rs and CD-RWs (133 million), which were sold from April 2000 to march 2001, were used for music copies, that is an increase of 124% compared to the year before. More than 228 million downloads were executed with the help of file sharing systems during the same period.8 Although the sales of LPs, MCs and DVDs are slightly growing, the most important sections of CDs and singles are hitting rock bottom. The decrease of sold CDs amounts to over 13% or 11.4 million (!) copies compared to the year before. Reading these incredible high figures one can make out how much money is at stake for the music industry.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten9

A resulting problem could probably be the loss of job protection in the formerly florishing music industry. If the negative developments cannot be ceased, the music industry will be forced to reduce jobs in order to avoid increasing financial losses. This will also leave its mark on the artists, who will earn less money. So, paradoxically, the music fans are disadvantaging and harming their own favourite artists.

Chances for the music industry through Napster

The thesis of Napster (and all the other illegal operating file sharings) pushing the sales to the ground is everything but undisputed as economic reports are not always that meaningful and long-term forecasts are not easy to prepare. There are still some economic experts who maintain claiming that this phenomenon has at least long-term positive effects on the behaviour of people buying CDs. They state that many Internet users get to know more bands through Napster and as a result purchase more CDs.

Additionally, it is still something different to possess an original CD with a cover, a booklet, etc., than just to listen to it, because a certain kind of atmosphere surely gets lost. There is another big advantage for the music industry that has come up through Napster. It has indirectly helped the music companies to come out of their long hibernation of Internet ignorance by showing them the enormous possibilities of this influential and powerful medium. Lots of music corporations hired a group of Internet specialists trying to work out an efficient pay-subscription service within a short time. The advantages are obvious. If the free downloading services are judicially forced to shut down ( this is kind of a tough assignment, though) the sphere of influence could be extended on the whole Internet. This would finally enable them to reach more people and sell more records.

Chances for artists through Napster

On the part of the artists, there are mostly the more unknown bands profiting from the "Napster Movement". With the opening of the Internet, a great chance has come to present oneself in front of a huge audience even without having acquired a record deal. If the influence of the file sharings spread further and further, the upcoming groups wouldn't have to adapt their music ideas to the conceptions of the labels anymore because only the listening audience of the internet would be the decisive component. In this way, they get much of the independence back that was formerly taken out of their hands by a capitalistically developing music industry. In my opinion, there is mainly a chance for "real" artists who are blessed with a special musical talent but who are not supported by the music industry and music television because they do not fit in the typical pop star cliché: young, good- looking, innocent but sexy. Nowadays, children (8-18 years) and sometimes even younger grown-ups only get to know and support these playback singing, always smiling boy bands because they are growing up with them, not realizing that there is also serious music. The file sharing could be just the right thing to educate them by unmasking the plain pop music and focusing the attention on sophisticated music. But please pay attention: I do not want to give the impression of a complete alteration of the music market. This is just an idealistically thought scenario affecting a smaller number of people.

Reactions of the music industry

It is quite obvious that the music companies don't get all enthusiastic about the sparkling success of Napster. But they are working day and night on new ideas to reduce their emerging financial losses. Hence, the music corporations are forming partnerships among each other to create Internet sites offering pay-subscription services. This way they endeavour to regain the spending power of the now music sharing people by working out lucrative offers. The most powerful alliances are MusicNet (RealNetworks, Bertelsmann, AOL Time Warner, EMI) and Pressplay (Sony, Vivendi Universal), both founded by just the biggest music labels.13 They are containing most of the songs of famous artists and have the best chances to attract many potential customers. The music industry is not only competing with all the illegally operating file sharings, they also try to protect their music material from Internet piracy. New copy- protection software is planned to be installed on every music file, enabling Internet surfers to share the files undisturbed. The program avoids the illegal access to copyright protected music files but unfortunately, it is not yet completely developed and it needs more time until it will work effectively.

Reactions of the artists

There are supporters and enemies of file sharings among the artists. The most famous antagonist is the American Metal band Metallica. They were the first to claim the immediate stop of sharing their songs on the Internet because they were afraid of losing their well- deserved money. They drew up a list of all Internet users (about 300,000) who had downloaded Metallica songs demanding to impose a fast ban on them by blocking their access. Otherwise they would not have taken back their suit (as a result of copyright infringement) against Napster.14 Besides Metallica, there were several famous artists like Dr.Dre, the most influential Rap-producer, who tried to stop illegal file sharing. But musicians who stick to the more artistic aspect can gain some positive viewpoints out of Napster. The very famous Canadian singer Alanis Morissette accuses the music industry of ignoring artistic inspiratio n in the tough fight for profit. "Noch nicht einmal 0.33 % der Veröffentlichungen setzen im derzeitigen System genug um, damit auch der Künstler was dabei verdiene."15 Those who don't come up to the sales expectations mostly don't get another chance to continue working, although every unfolding art is dependent on a steady forum. "Viele der populären Künstler der vergangenen 30 Jahre wären im heutigen Klima von den Plattenfirmen längst als unrentabel fallen gelassen worden. Heutzutage wird Künstlern keine Chance gegeben, das normale Auf und Ab zu erleben, das zu einer künstlerischen Entwicklung gehört."16 Although Internet and file sharings revealed great chances especially for less well- known artists, they were never put into action because enterprises have taken over most of the Internet platforms (for example Vivendi Universal bought up and Emusic). At the end of her 30- minute speech at the New York Music Conference, Alanis Morissette once again criticized the displayed hostility of the music indus try against artists. Fortunately, she's not all alone with this opinion as there are musical colleagues like Prince or Courtney Love preaching the same deplorable state of affairs.

Napster's future developments

After Napster had shut down more or less voluntarily in February 2001, its employees immediately began working out a new version of the most famous file sharing. Many things had to be changed in order to please the music industry and courts and so it is no surprise that the high- flown reopening date of summer 2001 had to be delayed. But every passing day raised the financial burden because it had no sources of income during that period. With the increasing amount of illegal file sharings, Napster was also bound to slowly fall into oblivion. In January 2002 they could finally say: Napster is back! The announcement of Napster's reopening still caused so much trouble in the world of press that its popularity and its importance are unmistakable. First, they have distributed a so-called beta version (kind of a demo version) among 20.000 ex-users trying to determine their reaction to it. If its responses turn out to be mostly positive, the full version of Napster is ready to start. But for all fans of free file sharing the new face of Napster could be a disappointment, as it has become a pay- subscription service, i.e. you can't share your music files for free anymore. A monthly fee has to be paid in order to get access to the downloading area. The more you pay, the more songs you can download. Another restriction is the diminished amount of songs. Only those of which Napster has bought the licence from the publisher (mostly music companies) are available. But at least Napster has achieved to sign contracts with the biggest record labels like Warner Music (AOL Time Warner), BMG Entertainment (Bertelsmann), EMI Group and Edel offering the most popular songs. Unfortunately, the downloaded musical information is deleted after a certain time, so you can only listen to a song for 2-4 weeks. If you want to listen to a song for a longer time, you have to stick to your membership and download it once again. With the new encoding format called NAP Napster is making every endeavour to encode music and avoid burning it on a CD. So you see, that Napster has done its work to return in legal ways, but the question if users are willing to pay for it is still an element of uncertainty.17

Looking at all the incidents that have happened in the music sector the past few years, the whole music industry could draw a lesson from it. Nobody wanted to see the upcoming threat caused by the Internet although ideas of creating free file sharings were long perceptible. If the music companies had not turned their backs on this problem, they could have developed a much more sophisticated copy protection. Similar cases have already appeared. An example is what is known as the "Betamax decision" decided on January 17th 1984 when Sony corp. released the first video tape recorder (VTR). The Universal studios claimed, that recording of movies is a copyright infringement. The District court denied respondents all relief, holding that home use of the recorded material is legal.18 Another example is when Diamond Multimedia released the first portable MP3-player (Rio PMP 300) in 1998 and the RIAA tied to stop its release because it claimed, that the portable device in combination with "overwhelming majority of MP3 files not authorized by the artists" like Hilary Rosen, RIAA`s president stated, "is destined to damage the market for downloaded music before it has the chance to begin."19 One year later, the court ruled that the Mp3 player does not violate the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. And though the music industry had been warned by these and other examples it was still sleeping like a log. The Napster revolution was just a logical step further in the technical development. But apart from that, the music industry has made another fundamental, strategically mistake: It has mainly intended on quickly hyping up artificial, replaceable retort bands instead of steadily supporting natural talented and charismatic artists. But as the ever-growing number of chart music fans is not able to build up a relationship to their rapidly changing favourites, they don't feel as embarrassed copying one of their CDs as for example the 50 plus year old Rolling Stones fan listening to Mick Jagger & Co for more than 30 years. Their lack of consciousness of injustice is impeded by the way today's pop stars are portrayed in the media: unbelievably rich, carefree and simply perfect human beings living in another world. This is why the fans don't even consider the fact that copying their CDs could harm them anyways. But you also have to keep in mind that the public esteem for intellectual property has to change as well as the described inflexibility of the labels. Today, the whole world is growing together in progress of the increasing mechanization and any information can be transmitted via Internet. That's why it gains a special importance to protect intellectual work. The fact, that music fans steal music can't be accepted. But as a high percentage of CD buyers are teenagers who often don't have a sense of what is right or wrong, it can't be assumed that they stop illegal file sharing voluntarily. Most grown-ups would not give up downloading copyright protected material just because of a bad conscience. So there has to be done something in order to protect the rights of artists. If the punishment for creators and users of illegally operating file sharings was heightened, the fear of trespassing the law would arise in people's minds and as a result there would be fewer offences. Another possibility of extending the public awareness would be a collective effort by a group of influential, famous artists, for example a widely broadcasted campaign displaying the enormous economical effects for them. Maybe their degree of authority could emphasize the devaluation of their creative ideas and personal thoughts. But as long as there are still some artists proclaiming their own use of Napster and its advantages this suggestion will remain an illusion. Thus, other more reliable ways of preventing an easy handling with MP3 files have to be discussed. Technical innovations, for example, may be able to present a decent opportunity fighting music piracy. One possible, yet very unlikely scenario would consist of new software hindering audio files from being transformed into MP3 files. This would require a new type of MP3 format being able to do just that, accessible solely through pay subscription services. Another conceivable, but also improbable solution represents a special code number for every CD copying device leaving a unique mark on every CD that can be traced back. In coalition with a given register depicting every code number and the personal data of the belonging owner, the creator of any appearing copied CD could easily be identified. The most imaginable method, however, is to invent and introduce CDs that because of a new kind of copy protection cannot be duplicated at all. Record companies have already developed such a software and had even started selling the first CDs containing it but were blocked by court decisions giving right to upset citizens insisting on their legal allowance of copying CDs for home use. It follows that no drastic alterations are to be expected from this actually promising aspect.

Contemplating about the enlightened problems of file sharings in general, it is not difficult to conclude that there is yet no effective way of restricting or even banning their negative influences on the music industry. Far from that, with the portrayed increasing use of new technical progressions like DivX, other types of media, for example movies and computer games, may be concerned in the near future, perhaps even to the extent the music has reached these days.

As far as Napster's potential future goes, it's very unlikely that, even with the support of Bertelsmann, its pay-subscription service will gain a broader acceptance in the Internet community, because as long as its free competitors are still online ( which, as their decentral servers are difficult to shut down, can still take some time), music fans won't change their download habits just because of its illustrious name.



2 "Profiling a Digital-Music Pioneer" l.23-25

3 Frank Gibney Jr. "Middelhoff's vision" , Time Magazine, November 13, 2000, p.56, l.29 f.

4 Sven Hansen and Dr. Volker Zota "Tauschrausch" , c`t Magazin für Computertechnik, 26/2001, p.158/159 : "Tausch(de)zentralen"

5 Ansbert Kneip, "Schmutziger kleiner Bruder", Der Spiegel Nr.18 / 30.04.01, p.120


7 Nathaniel Wice, "New DivX is the MP3 of Movie Swapping",,8599,52824,00.html , l.6

8 Musik und Recht, "Musik als geistiges Eigentum",

9 Pressnews, "Rechtspolitik, Internationale Pirateriebekämpfung", , April 19, 2001

10 Pressnews, "Rechtspolitik, Internationale Pirateriebekämpfung" ,, April 19, 2001

11 Pressnews, "CD-Brennen bedroht die Musik", July 16, 2001,

12 Pressnews, "CD-Brennerei sorgt für Umsatzeinbruch im Tonträgermarkt", August 15, 2001

13 Thomas Schulz, "Die Stern-Gucker", Der Spiegel Nr.44 / 29.10.01, p.100, Digital-Sound (illustration)

14 Andrew Dansby and Jaan Uhelszki, "Napster makes good on promise to Metallica",, May 11, 2000

15 "Kritik an Künstlerfeindlichkeit",,1518,146904,00.html, July 25, 2001, l.11 and following lines

16 "Kritik an Künstlerfeindlichkeit",,1518,146904,00.html, July 25, 2001, l.20 and following lines

17 "Napster nahezu online",,1518,176327,00.html, 8.01.02

18 "Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios",

19 Joe Nickell,"Blame it on Rio",,1284,15535,00.html, October 9, 1998, l.9 and following lines Ich erkläre hiermit, daßich die Facharbeit ohne fremde Hilfe angefertigt und nur die im Literaturverzeichnis angeführten Quellen und Hilfsmittel benützt habe.

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Napster. Chances and problems of file sharings
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Julian Jaus (Author), 2002, Napster. Chances and problems of file sharings, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free