The Napster software, 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 of MP3 files between all users connected to the network. Napster does not condone copyright infringement, there is no opportunity in the software to stop this, or for royalties to be paid to the song belongs to.
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 300,000 users who had allegedly downloaded Metallica songs. Again in June Napster Inc was sued for copyright infringement by The Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group representing the US recording industry, alleging "Napster is enabling and encouraging the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted music". And the fact that Napster is free and more convenient than visiting a record store makes it an appealing way to get music for consumers. The problem the record companies have is that there is no way of regulating who has access to the information, and hence no way of profiting from it. It is obvious here, that the record companies and a scared panic have seen Napster as an easy scapegoat and have tried to show it in a negative light so that Napster will not benefit from them any longer.
But that is just the views of the major Record labels and music industry players, other artists and record labels have responded to the advent of Napster and similar applications in a more positive way, embracing the new technology rather than rejecting it. On their website, the Offspring says "MP3 technology and programs such as Napster are a vital and necessary means to promote music and foster better relationships with our fans." Interestingly enough, the Offspring's last album, Americana, was made available online illegally before commercially released, yet it is the band's best-selling album to date. Furthermore, a number of surveys have proven that Napster users actually buy more CDs, after 'sampling' the songs online. These are the ones who believe that the major music players are just afraid to lose a dollar and that we can see who the real sell outs are because they will be the first ones to accuse Napster just because of a little hard times. So this shows that through we use symbols, that being the way that different groups are portraying Napster right now. That some people see it as a good thing that it is helping them, and that some people see it as stealing and ruining the Record Industry. Also we have seen that people invent their own Negatives. How one band, like offspring can show us that napster helps record sales, yet another band, Metallica says that napster is ruining their sales and that what people are doing is stealing. All of these ideas of Metallica, all things that they had to come up with in an effort, they were hoping, they would save their industry and still make millions. And that we find a way to separate ourselves from the way things start out and do. The way that napster started out was just free sharing of Mp3's online, and now we have stepped away from that and it is now an issue of stealing and whether or not money should be made off of people downloading songs. And there are many different ways to say in this situation who is right and who is wrong. There are also many answers to what can be done to settle this problem. The option of Napster paying royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded would