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Napster Debate The Napster software httpwwwnapstercom launched early in 1999 allows internet users to share and download MP3 files directly from any computer connected to the Napster network The software is used by downloading a client program from the Napster site and then connecting to the network through this software which allows sharing uploading and downloading of MP3 files between all users connected to the network While Napster does not condone copyright infringement there is no opportunity in the software to stop this or for royalties to be paid to artists whose songs are being duplicated for free Unlike similar file-sharing applications Gnutella Freenet Napster limits users to uploadingdownloading of MP3 files only These files are compressed wave wav files The advantage of MP3 files is that they are approximately one-tenth the size of the corresponding wav file and can be close-to-CD-quality It is for this reason that many artists record labels and other music industry stakeholders are concerned by the MP3 file format and applications like Napster that simplify the sharing of copyrighted material The reaction from recording artists record labels and other music industry players has been varied but primarily anti-Napster The first action to be taken against Napster was by the band Metallica In April of this year they sued Napster Inc for copyright infringement The case was settled out of court when Napster agreed to ban some 300000 users who had allegedly downloaded Metallica songs Again in June Napster Inc was sued for copyright infringement by The Recording Industry Association of America RIAA a trade group representing the US recording industry alleging Napster is enabling and encouraging the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted music Napster claims that Audio Home Recording Act that permits copying of material for personal use allows its uses to swap MP3s Napster further claims immunity by defining the company as an ISP under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Other artists and
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