Napster: The Internet Law Controversy

© Copyright 2000
Brett M. Steinberg.
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Last updated: November 30, 2000


Since the advent of the Internet, the number of people connected has increased exponentially. This growth has resulted in forms of technology that are beginning to replace those that now exist. Because this technolgy is relatively new to everyone, regulation exists on a minor scale. This lack of regulation is an indicator that a body of laws is necessary to prevent the Internet from falling victim to unadulterated chaos. This law is known as Internet law.

The balance between First Amendment freedom of expression and copyright creates a problem which cannot be solved easily in the field of Internet law. The Internet is a medium that promotes freedom of expression as an interactive service of communication and social interaction.

As technology increases in all aspects as far as downloading streaming video and audio, creating compact discs and digital video discs, the future for the movie, record, and media industry is questionable. The advent of DVD-viewing software has also expedited this kind of media usage through online services. Clearly, this issue of copyright is a major concern for the film industry.

Since the Internet is a fairly new medium for the public, the laws that concern these copyright issues are unclear. The framers of the constitution could not have predicted this type of medium, so the law must essentially be built from the ground up. There are copyright infringement laws that can be interpreted from the constitution, but even those laws that are concrete are unknown to many Internet users. This ignorance is innocent for some since the medium is fairly new. The purpose of this site is to explore this new realm of the legal profession by analyzing the Napster law suit and determining what its outcome means for the future of the Internet.

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