Two opposing sides have woven the legal battle about music and copyright. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the government as well have taken legal actions against Napster leading to a shut down of operations. Prior to the lawsuit filed by RIAA against Napster, several incidents were committed believed to be violations of the copyright law. Unreleased songs by popular artists, such as Metallica, Dr. Dre, and Madonna, circulated over the World Wide Web through Napster.
The Napster issue is a conflict of interest. The concern of RIAA is financially motivated because online sharing of music files is crippling the music industry. On the other hand, Napster is fighting for free access to music. However, there are also limits to the use of Napster. Online subscribers of Napster, as indicated in the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, should only use downloaded music files for private use and not for merchandise or other income-generating purposes.
Napster should also ensure that music files they offer in their database are released and available in the market for consumers, making it similar to recording television shows and movies with a VCR for private use. This would legitimize Napster as an online file sharing corporation. This scenario brings balance to both the RIAA together with artists, and Napster, as it gives way to the release of albums and songs in the market without it circulating first in the World Wide Web.
Moreover, to give Napster the right to share music files, they can put up released albums and songs in their internet database for the benefit of their online subscribers. This would not cripple the music industry in any way, because as statistics and common knowledge prove, the market for CD’s would not decline. Personally, I am for free access to music. Most artists say that music is their way of expressing their artistry and their objectives include reaching out and be able to inspire and influence people.
Artistry is never about making money; hence, music access should be free. While the legal battle for this issue continues, there are other file sharing communities similar to Napster, such as Lime Wire, Kazaa, Morpheus, Bear Share, and iMesh.
Wikipedia, (2007). Napster. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from Wikimedia Foundations, Inc. Website: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Napster Napster, (2001). Napster Copyright Policy. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from Napster, Inc. Website: http://library. law. columbia. edu/urlmirror/CVLAJLA/24CVLAJLA1/termsnap. html