His name is Shawn Fanning, and he is the 19-year-old who invented Napster while he was a student at Northeastern University. In an interview with ZDNET, he said his idea stemmed not only from other MP3 sites, but also to create a music community. He also said he had an idea that it was going to grow but not to the extent that it has so far. Napster allows a user to log on to a server that connects to other computers, which in turn, allows the sharing of music files through the Internet. As of late July 2000, Napster had an estimated 20 million users and numbers have grown in the past couple of months. Fanning has been in the hot seat lately because his prized invention has been taken to court. The most popular cases include heavy metal rock band Metallica and rap superstar Dr. Dre. After months of battling, Chief U.S. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel shut down Napster only to have it be put back up during an appeal. In more recent news, Napster has now struck a deal with BMG music, the second-largest music publisher. As soon as all the details are worked out, Napster users will have to pay a flat fee of $4.95 a month fto be able to download music.
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