For a project in college eighteen-year old Shawn Fanning wrote a program for a way to download music off the internet. He later put the program on the internet and Napster was born. Napster is a program that allows you to download music on the internet. Since this program is free, many people have downloaded Napster.
Since Napster got so many users in so short of a time, a lot of artist and record companies started to take notice. All of the songs that were being shared on Napster were copyrighted songs, so the record companies thought they were being cheated out of money. Metallica, a rock band, sued Napster and this started a big controversy about what is legal and what is illegal to download. Other artists and some record companies followed suit and sued Napster while other artists backed Napster. As of now, the case is in the Supreme Court.
A lot of people started to boycott the bands that were suing Napster. People came up with ideas that said to charge people a monthly fee to be able to download music. This way the record companies would still get they money. In a survey that was taken 58.5 % of the Napster users said they would pay fifteen dollars per month for the service. The survey also showed that 66% of the users went and bought a cassette or compact disk after hearing an artist s music on Napster. Shawn Fanning even encouraged the Napster users to go out and buy cassettes and compact disk.
Napster might get shut down in the near future, but it has still brought up the question about how music on the internet is going to be controlled. The fifteen-dollar charge per month if a good idea, but trying to stop music from being downloaded is a losing battle. There have already been three or four more free software offers created on the internet that let you download music. The record companies just need to meet with Napster and figure out a median.