By Matthew Bitz
The program is called Napster and it is the creation of a college dropout named Shawn Fanning and it is causing a huge controversy across the country. Napster is a program that allows users online and logged on to the Napster Music Community page to share MP3 files for free.
In other words, you can find almost any song that you can think of, and download it for free.
What is unique about Napster is that it lets users search the hard drives of other users computers and "rip" the songs off of hard drives halfway around the world.
What is so bad about that you ask? Well, the problem comes when people use Napster and other applications like it to trade, illegal music over the net. As a matter of fact, the Recording Industry Association has filed suit against Napster, claiming that it facilitates piracy.
Recording artists and their producers say that they are getting the rug cut out from underneath them in the area of royalties. And despite the disclaimer posted on the site, the main use of Napster is to download pirated music.
But, suppose the recording industry wins this round? What happens then? We lose a lot of social advantages, and it gives the already massive music industry a tighter grip on online music.
And may I be so bold as to say that many of these people are absolutely rolling in the dough? Now, I don't mean to say that they shouldn't get paid, they have a unique talent that is desired by the masses and, therefore, deserve big money, but don't the independent bands and those who can't get signed by a label deserve their chance, too?
I think that this is only going to get bigger and bigger as this case snowballs; it could easily go as high as the Supreme Court. As a Napster user myself, I have to say that I am definitely in favor of this new program, but some middle ground needs to be reached, we need a compromise that allows artistic freedom and we need to also pay the performers, too.