Solution to Music Industry's Problem

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The current concern with the music industry seems to be the ease with
which people can replicate music almost perfectly, whether through
MP3s, CD-burners, or other methods. Perhaps the industry's problem
lies in the general assumption that digital is always better.

Although cds are convenient and easy to use, the quality of the sound
cannot compare with analog, i.e. vinyl recordings. Vinyl also
discourages replication because of its form.

In this sense, maybe what the music industry needs to do is change its
focus back to vinyl and advertise heavily its sound-quality feature.
It wouldn't be "walking backwards in time" either, because there is
still room for improvement, such as durability and sensitivity.

-- Cynthia Johanson, October 26, 1999


New software called tool for MP3 piracy...,1282,32151,00.html

-- Aisha Stroman, November 1, 1999

A guy in my house has recently been raving about this new internet MP3 network called "Napster" ( The way it works, is that you download the Napster software and install it on your computer. When you want to search for a file on Napster, you run the software, which in effect makes some directory on your computer an ftp site: a part of the Napster network. Thus the whole (or at least, most of) Napster network is composed of individual computers who users who are looking to download MP3s off of other computers of the Network.

After hearing of this website, I immediately asked my friend about it, and visited their homepage, curious of how they plan to deal with potentially (and most likely) having "illegal" MP3s as a part of their network. This is what I found on their webpage:

What you should know about Napster and MP3

Napster makes no representations or warranties regarding the MP3 files owned by Napster users. Thousands of MP3 files have been authorized for distribution over the Internet by copyright owners. However, MP3 files may have been created or distributed without copyright owner authorization. Neither the MP3 file format nor the Napster software indicates whether a particular MP3 file has been authorized for copying or distribution. Copying or distributing unauthorized MP3 files may violate United States and foreign copyright laws. Compliance with the copyright law remains your responsibility.

Note the last line: "Compliance with the copyright law remains your responsibility". Does it really? Doesn't the Napster software in effect put it in the position of a University? If someone tells Napster that, "look, so-and-so's computer has an illegal MP3 on it", isn't Napster legally responsible to shut that computer off of its Network. Then, since most of the computers on the Napster network are likely to have illegal MP3s, couldn't someone in effect kill the Napster network? I still haven't figured out how they plan to make money, but I see this issue as a problem in their company plans.

Perhaps Napster is in a position with more liability than Universities. Carnegie Mellon only searched people's public directories for MP3s. It would seem that Napster would be responsible for all the ftp directories on their network... each of which obviously would contain many MP3s.

-- Ajay Kulkarni, November 11, 1999