Copyright: Issues Raised by the Internet and Music Downloading.
As technology advances, people search for quicker and easier ways to do everything. The Compact Disc (CD) digitalized music in the early 1980s, and with the discovery of the MP3 file in 1992, people were able to share music files on the Internet at high-speeds. MP3 stands for motion picture expert group 1 (MPEG), audio layer 3. An MP3 file compresses the music without decreasing the audio quality substantially. Compressing the file allows it to be transferred quickly over the World Wide Web. .
A 19-year-old college drop out named Shawn Fanning created computer software that would, along with the MP3, change the digital music industry. Napster allowed people registered to a file sharing community to share files from their computers over the Internet with other people also registered in the community. Napster essentially eliminated a middle person between a request and a source. This free software allowed people to connect directly to each other and share MP3 files from their computers" hard drive. .
Soon, Fanning saw himself facing a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Napster had no authorized use of the MP3 files from artists or record companies to allow the public to transfer the music files. The litigations were not aimed at specific, individual people violating copyright laws by downloading music. They targeted companies, such as Napster, that sought a profit. Software such as Napster has aided in costing the music industry approximately $300 million per year. In 2000, downloading music from the Internet was one of the fastest growing activities, but soon, Napster would be shut down for copyright infringement violations. .
The purpose of this paper is to explore legal and practical issues concerning the rise of Internet copyright infringement. The first section of this paper will focus on what experts have said about the Napster controversy.