Napster keeps rocking

Napster is a person-to-person music exchange site, providing free software that users can download onto their computer. This software enables users to browse other users' hard drives and identify MP3 music files, which can then be downloaded to be stored and played at will. Although the function is similar to using blank tapes (which were the subject of a copyright battle in the 1980's), the accessibility is much wider.

The record companies are not impressed by this, nor by other similar sites. A legal battle is currently underway to have the Napster site closed down. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), with members including EMI, has taken Napster to court to protect their copyright, in a case that is set to shape the future of copyright law on the Internet.

Judges in San Francisco are currently considering the case, which will probably be contested further, whatever their decision.


Originally published: October 2000 -- This page last updated: 9th February 2001