Napster

For Napster, Inc. (formerly Roxio), and the paid Napster music service see Napster (pay service).
Napster logo: Cat wearing headphones.

Napster is an online music service which was originally a file sharing service created by Shawn Fanning. Napster was the first widely-used peer-to-peer music sharing service, and it made a major impact on how people, especially college students, used the Internet. Its technology allowed music fans to easily share MP3 format song files with each other, thus leading to the music industry's accusations of massive copyright violations. Although the original service was shut down by court order, it paved the way for decentralized P2P file-sharing programs, which have been much harder to control. The service was named Napster after Fanning's nickname.

Origins

Shawn Fanning first released the original Napster in the fall of 1999. Fanning wanted an easier method of finding music than by searching IRC or Lycos. John Fanning of Hull, Massachusetts, who is Shawn's uncle, helped him incorporate the company. The final documents gave Shawn 30% control of the company, with the rest going to his uncle. It was the first of the massively popular peer-to-peer file sharing systems, although it was not fully peer-to-peer since it used central servers to maintain lists of connected systems and the files they provided, while actual transactions were conducted directly between machines. This is very similar to how instant messaging systems work. Although there were already media which facilitated the sharing of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Napster specialized exclusively in music in the form of MP3 files and presented a friendly user-interface. The result was a system whose popularity generated a large selection of music to download.

At the time Napster was released, there was a general perception that the quality of new albums had decreased. Many people said that albums contained only one or two good songs, along with many low-quality "filler" songs. People praised Napster because it enabled them to obtain hit songs without having to buy an entire album (or indeed, pay at all). Napster also enabled people to obtain older songs, copies of music they had already paid for in another format, unreleased recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings. With the files obtained through Napster, people frequently made their own compilation albums on recordable CDs for free, without paying any royalties to the artist/composer or the estate of the artist/composer.

Legal challenges

Napster's facilitation of illegal activity raised the ire of several major recording companies, who almost immediately — in December 1999 — filed a lawsuit against the popular service,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_amrecords) already called a "a huge grassroots effort" by MP3 Newswire.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_grassroots) The service would only get bigger as the trial, meant to shut down Napster, also gave it a great deal of publicity. Soon millions of users, many of them college students, flocked to it.

Heavy metal band Metallica discovered that a demo of their song "I Disappear" had been circulating across the Napster network. This eventually led to the song being played on several radio stations across America. The band responded in 2000 by filing a lawsuit against the Napster service. The lawsuit was a failure, but 300,000 Napster users were banned from the service for sharing Metallica mp3s. Later that year, Madonna became irate when one of her singles leaked out on to the web and Napster prior to its commercial release, causing widespread media coverage.[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_madonna) Napster use peaked with 26.4 million users worldwide in February 2001.[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_peak)

At the time, the lawsuit puzzled Napster users and supporters. To them, it seemed that file sharing was inevitable on the Internet, and it was not Napster's fault that people used the service to share copyrighted files. These users viewed Napster as a simple search engine. Many argued that any attempt to shut down Napster would simply lead to people using a different medium to exchange files over the Internet. Similarly, many supporters of Napster were concerned about the media's constant use of the word "site" to describe the service, a word which seems to imply that Napster was distributing files itself rather than facilitating their exchange.

Shutdown

After a failed appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, an injunction was issued on March 5, 2001 ordering Napster to prevent the trading of copyrighted music on its network.[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_injunction) In July 2001, Napster shut down its entire network in order to comply with the injunction. On September 24, 2001, the case was partially settled. Napster agreed to pay music creators and copyright owners a $26 million settlement for past, unauthorized uses of music, as well as an advance against future licensing royalties of $10 million. In order to pay those fees, Napster attempted to convert their free service to a subscription system. A prototype solution was tested in the spring of 2002: the Napster 3.0 Alpha, using audio fingerprinting technology licensed from Relatable. Napster 3.0 was, according to many former Napster employees, ready to deploy, but it had significant trouble obtaining licenses to distribute major-label music.

On May 17, 2002, Napster announced that its assets would be acquired by German media firm Bertelsmann AG for $8 million. Pursuant to terms of that agreement, on June 3 Napster filed for Chapter 11 protection under United States bankruptcy laws. On September 3, 2002, an American bankruptcy judge blocked the sale to Bertelsmann and forced Napster to liquidate its assets according to Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy laws.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_blocked) Most of the Napster staff were laid off, and the website changed to display "Napster was here".

Promotional power

With all the accusations that Napster was destroying the record industry there were those who felt just the opposite, that file trading on Napster actually stimulated, rather than hurt, sales. Proof may have come in April 2000 when tracks from Radiohead's album Kid A found their way to Napster three months before the CD's release. Unlike Madonna, Radiohead never hit the top 20 in the US. Furthermore, it was an experimental album that received little promotion and almost no radio airplay. As Richard Menta of MP3 Newswire described,[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_kida) it was a perfect vehicle to test this theory as the effect of Napster was isolated from other elements that could be credited for driving sales.

By the time of the record's release Kid A had been downloaded by millions of people worldwide. The record industry braced for the worst, but then came the big surprise. Kid A not only broke the top 20, it captured the number one spot on the charts in its debut week. The record beat out the CDs of some of the most heavily marketed artists of the time including Madonna and Eminem. In the absence of any other force that could account for this success Menta declared this was proof that Napster was a promotional power.

Final fate

After a 2.4 million dollar offer by the Private Media Group, an "adult entertainment company",[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_porn) Napster's brand and logos were acquired at bankruptcy auction by the company Roxio, Inc. which used them to rebrand the Pressplay music service as Napster 2.0. As of 2005, this new service has met with moderate success.

Although the central servers used by Napster made it a convenient legal target, the record industry failed to capitalize on the power vacuum left in its wake. The years between Napster's demise and the emergence of the iTunes Music Store as the first popular pay-service were squandered as the five major labels bickered amongst themselves, launching the user-unfriendly, restrictive, and mutually incompatible subscription services Pressplay and MusicNet.[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_musicnetpressplay)

In the meantime, the peer-to-peer filesharing (or P2P) trend Napster started soon resumed, with new programs and networks picking up the torch. Unofficial Napster servers proliferated, aided by a program known as "Napigator", and a second generation of P2P protocols (including FastTrack and Gnutella) were quickly developed. Designed as decentralized networks, these have been much more challenging for copyright owners to pursue in the courts (see MGM vs. Grokster, decision currently pending).

The ever-widening availability of broadband has made file sharing even more prevalent, since with increasing download speeds mean the distribution of entire movies and other large files is possible. An emerging and cryptographically strong third generation of P2P protocols will likely be nearly impossible to interdict. In a very real sense, Shawn Fanning can be called the man who opened a Pandora's Box.

Cultural references

In the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, a flashback depicts Shawn Fanning stealing the program from a computer expert played by Seth Green while the latter is napping, depicting a humorous folk etymology of the name.

The suffix "-ster" has become a popular component of the brand names of many internet products, suggesting a peer-to-peer model, such as Grokster, Aimster (later Madster), Blubster. This has also been extended to Friendster, a site which vaguely recalls Napster's community-building features.[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_blogster), [11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_sxsw)

References

  1. ^  A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 114 F. Supp. 2d 896 (N.D. Cal. 2000), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 239 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001)
  2. ^  Menta, Richard: "RIAA Sues Music Startup Napster for $20 Billion (http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/napster.html)", MP3 Newswire, (December 9, 1999)
  3. ^  Borland, John: "Unreleased Madonna Single Slips On To Net (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-241341.html?legacy=cnet)", CNET News.com, (June 1, 2000)
  4. ^  Jupiter Media Metrix (July 20, 2001). Global Napster Usage Plummets, But New File-Sharing Alternatives Gaining Ground (http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?id=249). Press Release.
  5. ^  2001 US Dist. LEXIS 2186 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2001), aff’d, 284 F. 3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2002).
  6. ^  Evangelista, Benny: "Napster runs out of lives – judge rules against sale (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/04/BU138263.DTL)", San Francisco Chronicle, (September 4, 2002)
  7. ^  Menta, Richard: "Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1? (http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2000/radiohead.html)", MP3 Newswire, (October 28, 2000)
  8. ^  "Porn company offers to buy Napster (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-957784.html?tag=fd_top)", CNET News.com, (September 12, 2002)
  9. ^  Dube, Ric. (February 2002). MusicNet, PressPlay Fall Short (http://www.icemagazine.com/digital/dd_179.shtm). Ice Magazine, (179).
  10. ^  Grimmelmann, James: "Blogster (http://www.laboratorium.net/archives/Blogster.html)", The Laboratorium, (July 18, 2003)
  11. ^  Abrams, Jonathan. SXSW Interactive Keynote Speech (http://blog.fastcompany.com/archives/2004/03/16/what_the_heck_is_social_networking.html#more). South by Southwest Festival. Austin, TX. March 16, 2004.

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This has also been extended to Friendster, a site which vaguely recalls Napster's community-building features.[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_blogster), [11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_sxsw). In April 11, 2005 Phelps was a guest judge in the Miss USA beauty pageant. The suffix "-ster" has become a popular component of the brand names of many internet products, suggesting a peer-to-peer model, such as Grokster, Aimster (later Madster), Blubster. Phelps cannot swim for the team, however, because his endorsement deal with Speedo has caused him to forfeit his amateur status. In the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, a flashback depicts Shawn Fanning stealing the program from a computer expert played by Seth Green while the latter is napping, depicting a humorous folk etymology of the name. Phelps is also serving as a volunteer assistant coach and is taking classes, intending to major in sports marketing or sports management. In a very real sense, Shawn Fanning can be called the man who opened a Pandora's Box. Phelps is following his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, who left Phelps' previous swim team to become the head swimming coach of the University of Michigan varsity swim team.

An emerging and cryptographically strong third generation of P2P protocols will likely be nearly impossible to interdict. As of 2005, Phelps is attending University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The ever-widening availability of broadband has made file sharing even more prevalent, since with increasing download speeds mean the distribution of entire movies and other large files is possible. He was also fined $250, required to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving meeting, and to give speeches to students at three high schools by June 1, 2005. Grokster, decision currently pending). On December 29, 2004, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months of probation. Designed as decentralized networks, these have been much more challenging for copyright owners to pursue in the courts (see MGM vs. Phelps pled guilty to driving while impaired, avoiding charges of driving under the influence, underage drinking and failure to stop at a stop sign.

Unofficial Napster servers proliferated, aided by a program known as "Napigator", and a second generation of P2P protocols (including FastTrack and Gnutella) were quickly developed. His specific blood alcohol content was not released because of police policy, although in the state of Maryland, the legal limit is .08. In the meantime, the peer-to-peer filesharing (or P2P) trend Napster started soon resumed, with new programs and networks picking up the torch. Phelps, who was 19 at the time (21 is the legal drinking age in the U.S.), was arrested and cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. The years between Napster's demise and the emergence of the iTunes Music Store as the first popular pay-service were squandered as the five major labels bickered amongst themselves, launching the user-unfriendly, restrictive, and mutually incompatible subscription services Pressplay and MusicNet.[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_musicnetpressplay). On November 4, 2004, Phelps was arrested in Salisbury, Maryland for driving under the influence after being pulled over for running a stop sign in his 2005 Land Rover with two friends. Although the central servers used by Napster made it a convenient legal target, the record industry failed to capitalize on the power vacuum left in its wake. Phelps graduated Towson High School in the Spring of 2004.

As of 2005, this new service has met with moderate success. See also: Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics. which used them to rebrand the Pressplay music service as Napster 2.0. NBC Olympic coverage of the 2004 games always showed him listening to his iPod with Bose headphones before competing. After a 2.4 million dollar offer by the Private Media Group, an "adult entertainment company",[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_porn) Napster's brand and logos were acquired at bankruptcy auction by the company Roxio, Inc. This gave Phelps an automatic entry into the medley relay, but as he was exhausted from the many races he had competed in over the preceding week, he gave up the butterfly leg to Crocker. The American medley team went on to win the event in world record time, and since he had raced in a preliminary heat of the medley relay, Phelps was also awarded a gold medal along with the team members that competed in the final. In the absence of any other force that could account for this success Menta declared this was proof that Napster was a promotional power. Traditionally, the olympian who places highest in a individual event will be automatically given the corresponding leg of the 4x100m medley relay.

The record beat out the CDs of some of the most heavily marketed artists of the time including Madonna and Eminem. On August 20, in the 100m butterfly final, Phelps defeated American teammate Ian Crocker (who holds the world record in the event) by just 0.04 seconds. Kid A not only broke the top 20, it captured the number one spot on the charts in its debut week. On August 14, 2004, he won his first Olympic gold, in the 400m individual medley, setting another new world record (4:08.26). The record industry braced for the worst, but then came the big surprise. The episode only made it yet more clear that Phelps's participation in at least some of the relay events would depend solely on his performance in the individual events. By the time of the record's release Kid A had been downloaded by millions of people worldwide. They claimed that Phelps is not a top swimmer in the event and his presence could compromise the US team's performance in the name of what was called a "media circus" for Phelps to win eight gold medals.

As Richard Menta of MP3 Newswire described,[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_kida) it was a perfect vehicle to test this theory as the effect of Napster was isolated from other elements that could be credited for driving sales. 4x100m freestyle team, publicly criticized the possibility of allowing Phelps to swim in the event. Furthermore, it was an experimental album that received little promotion and almost no radio airplay. and Jason Lezak, both of whom were aiming to be on the U.S. Unlike Madonna, Radiohead never hit the top 20 in the US. Only a few days before the beginning of the swimming competition in Athens 2004, however, Gary Hall Jr. Proof may have come in April 2000 when tracks from Radiohead's album Kid A found their way to Napster three months before the CD's release. Had he won seven golds, he would have been eligible for a US $1 million bonus from his sponsor, Speedo.

With all the accusations that Napster was destroying the record industry there were those who felt just the opposite, that file trading on Napster actually stimulated, rather than hurt, sales. However, he did win eight medals in one Olympics, a feat only achieved by Aleksandr Dityatin, a gymnast, in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. bankruptcy laws.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_blocked) Most of the Napster staff were laid off, and the website changed to display "Napster was here". As his 4x100m freestyle relay team only won a bronze medal, and he personally placed for bronze in the 200m freestyle, he fell just short of that record. On September 3, 2002, an American bankruptcy judge blocked the sale to Bertelsmann and forced Napster to liquidate its assets according to Chapter 7 of the U.S. Phelps had the chance to break that record in 2004 by competing in eight swimming events: the 200m freestyle, the 100m butterfly, the 200m butterfly, the 100m backstroke, the 200m backstroke, the 200m individual medley, the 400m individual medley, the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay. Pursuant to terms of that agreement, on June 3 Napster filed for Chapter 11 protection under United States bankruptcy laws. Phelps' dominance brought comparisons to Puerto Rican-American swimmer, Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics, a world record.

On May 17, 2002, Napster announced that its assets would be acquired by German media firm Bertelsmann AG for $8 million. He won the 2003 Sullivan Award. Napster 3.0 was, according to many former Napster employees, ready to deploy, but it had significant trouble obtaining licenses to distribute major-label music. trials for the 2004 Summer Olympics. A prototype solution was tested in the spring of 2002: the Napster 3.0 Alpha, using audio fingerprinting technology licensed from Relatable. Then on July 7, 2004, Phelps broke his own world record again in the 400m individual medley (4:08.41) during the U.S. In order to pay those fees, Napster attempted to convert their free service to a subscription system. In 2003, Phelps broke his own world record in the 400m individual medley (4:09.09) and in June, he broke the world record in the 200m individual medley (1:56.04).

Napster agreed to pay music creators and copyright owners a $26 million settlement for past, unauthorized uses of music, as well as an advance against future licensing royalties of $10 million. At the 2002 Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Phelps also broke the world record for the 400m individual medley and set American marks in the 100m butterfly and the 200m individual medley. After a failed appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, an injunction was issued on March 5, 2001 ordering Napster to prevent the trading of copyrighted music on its network.[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_injunction) In July 2001, Napster shut down its entire network in order to comply with the injunction. On September 24, 2001, the case was partially settled. Five months after Sydney, Phelps broke the world record in the 200m butterfly and then broke his own record again at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan (1:54.58). Similarly, many supporters of Napster were concerned about the media's constant use of the word "site" to describe the service, a word which seems to imply that Napster was distributing files itself rather than facilitating their exchange. While he did not win a medal at the 2000 Olympics, Phelps proceeded to make a name for himself in swimming shortly thereafter. Many argued that any attempt to shut down Napster would simply lead to people using a different medium to exchange files over the Internet. Michael Phelps appeared at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney as the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years at the age of 15.

These users viewed Napster as a simple search engine. Michael Phelps (born June 30, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American swimmer and world-record holder (as of 2004). To them, it seemed that file sharing was inevitable on the Internet, and it was not Napster's fault that people used the service to share copyrighted files. At the time, the lawsuit puzzled Napster users and supporters. Later that year, Madonna became irate when one of her singles leaked out on to the web and Napster prior to its commercial release, causing widespread media coverage.[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_madonna) Napster use peaked with 26.4 million users worldwide in February 2001.[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_peak).

The lawsuit was a failure, but 300,000 Napster users were banned from the service for sharing Metallica mp3s. The band responded in 2000 by filing a lawsuit against the Napster service. This eventually led to the song being played on several radio stations across America. Heavy metal band Metallica discovered that a demo of their song "I Disappear" had been circulating across the Napster network.

Soon millions of users, many of them college students, flocked to it. Napster's facilitation of illegal activity raised the ire of several major recording companies, who almost immediately — in December 1999 — filed a lawsuit against the popular service,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_amrecords) already called a "a huge grassroots effort" by MP3 Newswire.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster#endnote_grassroots) The service would only get bigger as the trial, meant to shut down Napster, also gave it a great deal of publicity. With the files obtained through Napster, people frequently made their own compilation albums on recordable CDs for free, without paying any royalties to the artist/composer or the estate of the artist/composer. Napster also enabled people to obtain older songs, copies of music they had already paid for in another format, unreleased recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings.

People praised Napster because it enabled them to obtain hit songs without having to buy an entire album (or indeed, pay at all). Many people said that albums contained only one or two good songs, along with many low-quality "filler" songs. At the time Napster was released, there was a general perception that the quality of new albums had decreased. The result was a system whose popularity generated a large selection of music to download.

Although there were already media which facilitated the sharing of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Napster specialized exclusively in music in the form of MP3 files and presented a friendly user-interface. This is very similar to how instant messaging systems work. It was the first of the massively popular peer-to-peer file sharing systems, although it was not fully peer-to-peer since it used central servers to maintain lists of connected systems and the files they provided, while actual transactions were conducted directly between machines. The final documents gave Shawn 30% control of the company, with the rest going to his uncle.

John Fanning of Hull, Massachusetts, who is Shawn's uncle, helped him incorporate the company. Fanning wanted an easier method of finding music than by searching IRC or Lycos. Shawn Fanning first released the original Napster in the fall of 1999. The service was named Napster after Fanning's nickname.

Its technology allowed music fans to easily share MP3 format song files with each other, thus leading to the music industry's accusations of massive copyright violations. Although the original service was shut down by court order, it paved the way for decentralized P2P file-sharing programs, which have been much harder to control. Napster was the first widely-used peer-to-peer music sharing service, and it made a major impact on how people, especially college students, used the Internet. Napster is an online music service which was originally a file sharing service created by Shawn Fanning. March 16, 2004.

Austin, TX. SXSW Interactive Keynote Speech (http://blog.fastcompany.com/archives/2004/03/16/what_the_heck_is_social_networking.html#more). South by Southwest Festival. ^  Abrams, Jonathan. ^  Grimmelmann, James: "Blogster (http://www.laboratorium.net/archives/Blogster.html)", The Laboratorium, (July 18, 2003).

Ice Magazine, (179). MusicNet, PressPlay Fall Short (http://www.icemagazine.com/digital/dd_179.shtm). (February 2002). ^  Dube, Ric.

^  "Porn company offers to buy Napster (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-957784.html?tag=fd_top)", CNET News.com, (September 12, 2002). ^  Menta, Richard: "Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1? (http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2000/radiohead.html)", MP3 Newswire, (October 28, 2000). ^  Evangelista, Benny: "Napster runs out of lives – judge rules against sale (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/04/BU138263.DTL)", San Francisco Chronicle, (September 4, 2002). 2002).

3d 1091 (9th Cir. 5, 2001), aff’d, 284 F. Mar. LEXIS 2186 (N.D. Cal.

^  2001 US Dist. Press Release. Global Napster Usage Plummets, But New File-Sharing Alternatives Gaining Ground (http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?id=249). ^  Jupiter Media Metrix (July 20, 2001).

^  Borland, John: "Unreleased Madonna Single Slips On To Net (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-241341.html?legacy=cnet)", CNET News.com, (June 1, 2000). ^  Menta, Richard: "RIAA Sues Music Startup Napster for $20 Billion (http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/napster.html)", MP3 Newswire, (December 9, 1999). 2001). 2000), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 239 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir.

Cal. 2d 896 (N.D. Supp. v. Napster, Inc., 114 F.

^  A & M Records, Inc.

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