Grandpa, tell me about File Sharing… By Richard Duane Sletten
Grandpa, Tell me about Napster.
For sure Sonny. Back when I was in High school in the 1990’s…you could Download anything for free.
For free Grandpa?
Yep, music, movies You name it.
That’s a long… And complicated story.
The question about ownership on the internet is a question that has been at the forefront of the tabloids since the 1990’s. Sonny, though out this mess, there have been record labels on one end, artists on the other, and average, music pirating people like us in the middle.
See this drama all played out in a very interesting history, one marked by arrests and court cases.
As well, these court cases came to redefine the internet, and ideas of ownership in our society.
See Sonny, in 1999 Napster was created, and “Napster was the first of the massively popular peer-to-peer file sharing systems, although it was not fully peer-to-peer since it used central servers to maintain lists of connected systems and the files they provided—directories, effectively—while actual transactions were conducted directly between machines. 4, 10, & 8”
It was something else…and here Sonny, I even have a picture of what Napster looked like….
Gees Grandpa…that looks so corny…
Yeah, well we all didn’t live with your modern conveniences…
Sadly Sonny, by the time I graduated from high school in 2003, things had began to go bad for Napster…
See sonny, “With the files obtained through Napster, people frequently made their own compilation albums on recordable CDs , without paying any royalties to the copyright holder.1 & 8”
Those are big words grandpa!
Well Here is some more big words Sonny, you see, back in college, “High-speed networks in college dormitories became overloaded, with as much as 80% of external network traffic consisting of MP3 file transfers. Many colleges blocked its use for this reason, even before concerns about liability for facilitating copyright violations on campus. 5, 4, & 6 ”
So…what you all were doing was illegal?
Well Sonny…that was hazy back then…but it did go on to become illegal.
See, one of the things that I remember being a big issue was when the record labels, and artist started to gripe about loosening money.
What band was against sharing music grandpa?
Metallica was, they were Enraged…South Park Ended up lampooning it That year…isn’t it in season 102 right now? 107 grandpa
That time, “Napster's facilitation of transfer of copyrighted material raised the ire of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which almost immediately — in December 1999 — filed a lawsuit against the popular service.” By 2001…Napster shut down… 4,5,8.”
That sucks grandpa.
Yeah it did Sonny. The corporations won, where they failed in the 1980’s with the VCR (5).
So what happened then? How did this lead to today.
The implications were far reaching Sonny.
When the Ninth Circuit Court told Napster to shut down…it sent into play a litany of legislation that seemed to support the record labels (1).
This was because the court ruled that, “Napster changed that thinking. Media companies successfully argued in federal court that laws governing analog taping devices -- such as a VCR --shouldn't apply in a digital age, when copies of music or movies suddenly became perfect replicas (7).”
This was the death ell to internet file sharing, and opened the door to owning things in cyberspace Sonny.
However, like people often do…they found legal ways around it…file sharing was literally a dog chasseing cat…with the cat one step away from the dog.
However, buy my senior year in college…the IPOD gained huge popularity. This helped to stymie the corporations, gave Apple licensing of music, and it allowed many to listen to their own music.
Apple must have made a fortune grandpa. They did, and it didn’t stop file sharing.
However, the internet just kept on becoming more and more roped in, it was like the closing in of the prairie in the Old West, or the Enclosement of the commons in England
That is sad, why does business always win?
Sonny, a wise man once said that, “people shall always remain in the real world, because this is where their online actions have consequences. It is where the products that people purchase online get delivered to their doors, where the membership fees they pay for an online service get charged to their credit cards, where the money that they deposit in Pay Pal is debited from their bank accounts, and where their account balances are only replenished by the toil of their working lives.(2)” That is why business always wins…things cost money, they always have, and eventually always will.
Grandpa, this is true I guess, it was easy to be taking Music on the net…until it gets back to you in real life.
Sunny, it did…people got the bejesus sued out of them…not only the file sharing services, but the average Joe as well.
That’s sad grandpa.
Again, it was Sonny. But like I said, the implications were wide reaching…the court case defined that file sharing was illegal because it infringed upon copyrights…and the fact it was done on the internet did not stop the law from shutting down the P2P’s.
The implications now is that the Internet is becoming divided up, and owned, and that file sharing in the sense it was known in 199-2001 is dead.
Works Cited Page
1. Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, Crowley, John. NAPSTER'S SECOND LIFE: THE REGULATORY CHALLENGES OF VIRTUAL WORLDS . Northwestern University Law Review; Summer2006, Vol. 100 Issue 4, p1775-1826, 52p
2. David, Matthew Kirkhope, Jamieson. New Digital Technologies: Privacy/Property, Globalization, and Law. Perspectives on Global Development & Technology; 2004, Vol. 3 Issue 4, p437-449, 13p
Jesse Walker . Cyberspace's Legal Visionary: Lawrence Lessig on the fate of copyrights and computer networks in the digital future. June 2002. http://www.reason.com/news/show/28445.html
3. John Perry Barlow . The Economy of Ideas. Issue 2.03 | Mar 1994. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.03/economy.ideas.html
4. Napster. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster
5. Jeff Tyson . How the Old Napster Worked. 5/4/2007. http://computer.howstuffworks.com/napster.htm