Advantages Share music over the Internet.
Disadvantages Well, you could once...
Dear beloved, we are gathered here today to lament the passing of a friend treasured and beloved by all of us. The Napster we knew (v2.0 Beta 9.6) has died, the upstanding defender of freedom to exchange material has been murdered brutally by the forces of capitalism.Many of us came to know Napster only in its latter years at Internet bandwidth increased and downloading times dropped to the point that obtaining an average MP3 file via Napster needn't take the average user more than fifteen minutes or so.
Napster did not have a pretty face. Its interface was, of course, crude at best but simple, functional and intuitive. The straightforward dividing into eight main sections allowed us to quickly move between searching for files, checking on the download status of others, and seeing what other members of the vast Napster community were procuring from ourselves.Napster brought people together. The chat facility allowed members to converse and swap details of new songs, up-and-coming artists, classic favourites and, what Napster was perhaps best for, obtaining those elusive tracks from ones past which you had forgotten all about: Offspring's "Self Esteem", Enigma's "Return To Innocence" and Sin With Sebastian's "Shut Up And Sleep With Me."
It was, of course, all free. The very ethos of Napster was to promote sharing, and the whole software and network supporting it required no subscription fee whatsoever - a truly noble act. It enabled people to do, for free, what they had already been doing for years before Napster came along - share good music, and pass on copies to friends.Like a tragic hero, Napster was defeated by a fatal flaw exploited by an ultimate nemesis. The music industry wished to crush Napster, having never been able to prevent free swapping of music in any other way. The Napster system was based on the principle of allowing individual computers to contact each other (Peer to Peer or P2P Networking) but the search facilities and registering systems were held on a central bank of computers run by Napster.
It was here that the record companies attacked, suing Napster and forcing them to filter the searching and exchanging of songs. While imaginative users misspelled, reverse-spelled and even wrote in pig Latin to circumvent the filters, there was nothing more to be done. From an average of around 10000 users, Napster rarely sees one twentieth of that figure today.The futility of the record companies' aims cannot be overstated. Killing Napster has not stopped the spread of the exchange of music, and now the public has a taste for it, it is inconceivable that it will ever be stamped out. Nothing will stop people copying tapes, CDs, Vinyl, DVDs, MP3s or any other medium of the future.
And it is difficult to see how the new generation of peer-to-peer programmes can be legislated against. Such sharing systems as Gnutella (the clients for which include Bearshare and Gnotella) do not rely upon a central server as Napster did, rather they allow individual computers to communicate with each other directly: true P2P networking. There is as yet no clear way in which such systems can be legislated against.In killing Napster the record companies have won a battle, but are losing the war. As connections speeds improve and download times decrease, music sharing via the Internet will become more convenient and widespread. Napster may be gone, but its spirit lives on.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.Now please turn to hymn no. 275, "The Ballad Of Chasey Lain"
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