Sean Fanning, the creator of Napster, had no idea of the effects when he jumpstarted Napster in 1998. Hundreds of thousands of songs were being exchanged by the blink of an eye, minute after minute, millions by the hour. This had the record companies and artists heads spinning with no solution for the matter in sight. From the greed stricken record industry executives to the teenagers downloading the latest Limp Bizkit track, it seemed as though everyone had their own stance towards the file sharing experience. Despite its popularity, not everyone was thrilled with Napster and other file sharing communities. The continuous usage of Napster causes catastrophic long-term effects for the music industries.
The record labels have been the loudest voice of opposition and yet the most unwilling to compromise. They say that the program enables users to violate copyright laws, which into profits. Under the law these companies are justified. The Copyright Act of 1976 says that owners have five rights:
1. Only the copyright owner may reproduce or make copies of the work.
2. Only the copyright owner may create adoptions of the work.
3. Only the copyright owner may distribute copies of the work to the public.
4. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to perform the work in public.
5. Only the copyright owner may display the work in public.
Napster recklessly defies all of these. Without exception every right of a copyright holder is violated. It is publically acknowledged that in many ways it is in fact stealing from the copyrighted material. Mike Langberg of Mercury Records states that “Musicians would stop recording new music, because they couldn’t afford studio time. There wouldn’t be any big new stars, because the record industry couldn’t justify the intensive marketing that exposes promising talent to a national audience.” So therefore the people who are abusing the gift of music by downloading it free of charge would eventually make the artist creating the music unable to make new music because they would not be making any money. Such financial incapacitations would devastate all record labels foreign and domestic.
Napster affects the artist both new and old because it doesn’t allow them to make the money they have worked hard to make. Those who really suffer from Napster and other file-sharing programs are newer bands. When a record label picks up a new band, it is uncertain whether they will have the appeal necessary to hold the attention span of the American public. For this reason young artists are not paid that much for every CD that they sell. The first album that an artist releases is not meant to make money, but to solidify their status as an entertainer. With the introduction of Internet file-sharing a varible has been created in the assessment process. A band could have huge popularity, yet their label would not know it because file exchanges are not reported. These new artists are the ones that need the sales the most, and often times do not produce them because their one good song can be downloaded from the Internet. On the other hand, old bands such as Metallica who don’t need to solidify their status, as entertainers believe that paying the artists through the Internet by having memberships would be a possible solution. Metallica has tried to reason with Napster and asked them to take them off of their lists and Napster refused. Lars from Metallica says that they are “suing Napster for one reason because they exist to pirate music.” To the old artist money is the least important factor on why they hate Napster; they just don’t like their music being shared without their permission. All of the artists should be able to choose whether on not their music can be shared for free, and if they don’t wish for it to be shared then it shouldn’t and it should be left at that.
Last but not least, the retail stores are not pleased with the introduction of file sharing programs. The music manager at Media Play in Enfield, CT states, “I was reading in Billboard magazine that the record industry has lost something like 6 billion dollars on the Internet file sharing already. That works out to be like ten thousand dollars for this store alone.” He also said that Media Play has made no official statement on Napster and other sharing services. While they are affected by the loss of sales, retail stores are not taking much action, because they do not own the music they only sell it. The ones who do own the music are the record companies and the artist themselves. Similarly the Manager at Sam Goody in Ridgmar Mall said, “Whenever everyone started using Napster the sales decreased dramatically and it has caused them to have to raise their prizes to be able to make money, and that isn’t fair to the customers who still actually buy CD’s.” Not only has Napster affected the retail stores sales, but it has also caused the prices to increase.
In conclusion, when something is abused, it is not respected, it is taken for granted and it loses any prestige that it once held. In this case it is an extreme matter because of the dramatic implication and repercussions. Such an abuse of music would in turn unmake its self by the constant downloading and the dissecting of the music industry and be cutting out the middle man that keeps the whole game going from an economical standpoint