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Napster

 Although there were already networks that facilitated the distribution of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and Usenet, Napster specialized in MP3 files of music and a user-friendly interface. At its peak the Napster service had about 80 million registered users.[6] Napster made it relatively easy for music enthusiasts to download copies of songs that were otherwise difficult to obtain, such as older songs, unreleased recordings, studio recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings. Napster paved the way for streaming media services and transformed music into a public good for a brief period of time.


High-speed networks in college dormitories became overloaded, with as much as 61% of external network traffic consisting of MP3 file transfers.[7] Many colleges blocked its use for this reason,[8] even before concerns about liability for facilitating copyright violations on campus.


Macintosh version Edit


Napster running under Mac OS 9 in March 2001.

The service and software program began as Windows-only. However, in 2000, Black Hole Media wrote a Macintosh client called Macster. Macster was later bought by Napster and designated the official Mac Napster client ("Napster for the Mac"), at which point the Macster name was discontinued.[9] Even before the acquisition of Macster, the Macintosh community had a variety of independently-developed Napster clients. The most notable was the open source client called MacStar, released by Squirrel Software in early 2000 and Rapster, released by Overcaster Family in Brazil.[10] The release of MacStar's source code paved the way for third-party Napster clients across all computing platforms, giving users advertisement-free music distribution options.


Legal challenges Edit

Heavy metal band Metallica discovered a demo of their song "I Disappear" had been circulating across the network before it was released. This led to it being played on several radio stations across the United States and alerted Metallica to the fact that their entire back catalogue of studio material was also available. On March 13, 2000, they filed a lawsuit against Napster. A month later, rapper and producer Dr. Dre, who shared a litigator and legal firm with Metallica, filed a similar lawsuit after Napster refused his written request to remove his works from its service. Separately, Metallica and Dr. Dre later delivered to Napster thousands of usernames of people who they believed were pirating their songs. In March 2001, Napster settled both suits, after being shut down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a separate lawsuit from several major record labels (see below).[11] In 2000, Madonna's single "Music" was leaked out onto the web and Napster prior to its commercial release, causing widespread media coverage.[12] Verified Napster use peaked with 26.4 million users worldwide in February 2001.[13]


In 2000, the American musical recording company A&M Records along with several other recording companies, through the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sued Napster (A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.) on grounds of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).[14] Napster was faced with the following allegations from the music industry:


That its users were directly violating the plaintiffs' copyrights.

That Napster was responsible for contributory infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.

That Napster was responsible for vicarious infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.

Napster lost the case in the District Court but then appealed to the U.S.

Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Although it was clear that Napster could have commercially significant non-infringing uses, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's decision. Immediately after, the District Court commanded Napster to keep track of the activities of its network and to restrict access to infringing material when informed of that material's location. Napster wasn't able to comply and thus had to close down its service in July 2001. In 2002, Napster announced that it was bankrupt and sold its assets to a third party.[15] In a 2018 Rolling Stone article, Kirk Hammett of Metallica upheld the band's opinion that suing Napster was the "right" thing to do.[16]

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Napster

 Although there were already networks that facilitated the distribution of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and Usenet, Napster specialized in MP3 files of music and a user-friendly interface. At its peak the Napster service had about 80 million registered users.[6] Napster made it relatively easy for music enthusiasts to download copies of songs that were otherwise difficult to obtain, such as older songs, unreleased recordings, studio recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings. Napster paved the way for streaming media services and transformed music into a public good for a brief period of time.


High-speed networks in college dormitories became overloaded, with as much as 61% of external network traffic consisting of MP3 file transfers.[7] Many colleges blocked its use for this reason,[8] even before concerns about liability for facilitating copyright violations on campus.


Macintosh version Edit


Napster running under Mac OS 9 in March 2001.

The service and software program began as Windows-only. However, in 2000, Black Hole Media wrote a Macintosh client called Macster. Macster was later bought by Napster and designated the official Mac Napster client ("Napster for the Mac"), at which point the Macster name was discontinued.[9] Even before the acquisition of Macster, the Macintosh community had a variety of independently-developed Napster clients. The most notable was the open source client called MacStar, released by Squirrel Software in early 2000 and Rapster, released by Overcaster Family in Brazil.[10] The release of MacStar's source code paved the way for third-party Napster clients across all computing platforms, giving users advertisement-free music distribution options.


Legal challenges Edit

Heavy metal band Metallica discovered a demo of their song "I Disappear" had been circulating across the network before it was released. This led to it being played on several radio stations across the United States and alerted Metallica to the fact that their entire back catalogue of studio material was also available. On March 13, 2000, they filed a lawsuit against Napster. A month later, rapper and producer Dr. Dre, who shared a litigator and legal firm with Metallica, filed a similar lawsuit after Napster refused his written request to remove his works from its service. Separately, Metallica and Dr. Dre later delivered to Napster thousands of usernames of people who they believed were pirating their songs. In March 2001, Napster settled both suits, after being shut down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a separate lawsuit from several major record labels (see below).[11] In 2000, Madonna's single "Music" was leaked out onto the web and Napster prior to its commercial release, causing widespread media coverage.[12] Verified Napster use peaked with 26.4 million users worldwide in February 2001.[13]


In 2000, the American musical recording company A&M Records along with several other recording companies, through the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sued Napster (A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.) on grounds of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).[14] Napster was faced with the following allegations from the music industry:


That its users were directly violating the plaintiffs' copyrights.

That Napster was responsible for contributory infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.

That Napster was responsible for vicarious infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.

Napster lost the case in the District Court but then appealed to the U.S.

Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Although it was clear that Napster could have commercially significant non-infringing uses, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's decision. Immediately after, the District Court commanded Napster to keep track of the activities of its network and to restrict access to infringing material when informed of that material's location. Napster wasn't able to comply and thus had to close down its service in July 2001. In 2002, Napster announced that it was bankrupt and sold its assets to a third party.[15] In a 2018 Rolling Stone article, Kirk Hammett of Metallica upheld the band's opinion that suing Napster was the "right" thing to do.[16]