The courts believe that Napster, the online music community, is in violation of copyright laws by making music available for free, even though the actual site is not the host. After a federal judge ordered the shutdown of Napster, an appeals court, just two days later gave Napster a "last minute reprieve." U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel Gave Napster the opportunity "to continue operation if they remove all songs on a list compiled by the plaintiff recording companies" (4) (the main five-Sony, BMG, AOL TIME Warner, EMI and Universal).

Napster is not giving out free music. They are in fact helping the ever-growing world of technology by making music more accessible online. This same type of controversy took place in the 1940's when the "new" technology of radio was taking Broadway songs and making them accessible (3). It does not have as much reachability as radio or T.V. but it does give exposure to up and coming artists as well as making it easy for users to sample songs before purchasing whole albums. Click here to read more about the radio and Napster.

Marc Eliot, a pop culture writer said, "Every time a new technology has come along, it has been rejected by the industry" (3). It seems that some opposing artists, such as Dr. Dre do not fully understand what Napster is providing. Dr. Dre demanded that Napster block access to his copyrighted work. This would be a difficult task for Napster. After all, they do not provide the MP3's; they merely supply software to access them. "Napster users are responsible for complying with copyright laws." On the Napster Web site, it clearly states, "Napster respects copyright laws and expect our users to do the same" (5). For more about Napster's Copyright policy, visit the copyright portion of their site. For the following reasons, it is clear that consumers are embracing this new online music phenomenon:

  1. Convenience
  2. Research
  3. Exposure and publicity
With music available online, people are able to hear what they want at the moment they want. Users can make play lists of songs they want to sample while continuing to search for new music. Billy Joe Armstrong, from the band Green Day said, I just want my music to be out, and that's always been the main priority" (8).
With this online software, users are able to sample music to figure out which CD's they want to purchase, thus, boosting sales. Recording artist, Ian MacKaye said in an article, "Most people I know who use Napster listen to stuff they've never heard before. And then they get psyched and go out and buy the damn records. It's more like a sampler" (8).
Exposure and publicity
Jonathan Daniel, CEO of Kramden Enterprises Inc. said, " Word of mouth has always been the best way to promote an artist. Never before has there been such an expansive, convenient way to spread the gospel" (6).
Steve Levy, President of Moonshine music said, "The ability to reach millions of music fans without the traditional barriers of entry associated with radio and television presents us with a fantastic promotional tool for our artists" (6). By being able to share and trade, users are gaining exposure to different types of music and artists. Hence, giving artists free publicity.
One supporter of Napster, rapper, Chuck D, said, "We should think of it as a new kind of radio - a promotional tool that can help artist who don't have the opportunity to get their music played on mainstream radio or on MTV" (2).
Discipline Global Mobile used Napster to promote the Rosenberg's album back in 2000. They provided a promotional service and made music available, in the Napster community, for sharing in support of the band. One of DMG's co-owners, David Singleton said in an article posted on the Napster site, "As a company, we fully embrace the concept of sharing. Radio is a form of sharing where one D.J. can share music with many people but it works best with a large audience. The Internet is a wonderful tool that allows fans to share music with each other. Most people discover new music because a friend puts the music in their hands. Why would we not encourage people to do this" (6)?

Napster gif To contact congress and get involved, click hereNapster gif/Contact congress.

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