How many students have made use of MP3 technology to download and trade music online? What are the benefits of sharing, storing and listening to music using this format? What are the drawbacks of sharing, storing and listening to music using this format? Is using an online music site such as Napster trading music with friends or is it piracy, stealing copyrighted music?
- Describe the history and development of digital music.
- Evaluate the legality of digital music.
- Debate the legality of digital music.
Nineteen year old Shawn Fanning dropped out of college in to create the computer program which now allows millions of users to download music directly from each other's computers. This technology has come to be known as peer-to-peer or P2P software and is now being used internally in a variety of businesses to share various information more efficiently.
In March, 2000 the Recording Industry of America filed suit against Napster for facilitating tributary copyright infringement; meaning it assists its users in pirating, or stealing, legally protected property.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel granted an injunction to shut down Napster in July 2000 while the case was being tried. Soon after, the federal appeals judges issued a stay. In October 2000, the 9th circuit court of appeals heard testimony on the case but did not issue a decision.
Meanwhile, in September 2000 a federal judge in New York imposed the largest fine ever in a copyright case on MP3.com. Like the Napster case, this case is still under appeal.
How many students have made use of MP3 technology to download and trade music online? What are the benefits of sharing, storing and listening to music using this format? What are the drawbacks of sharing, storing and listening to music using this format?
Is using an online music site such as Napster trading music with friends or is it piracy - stealing copyrighted music?
Cagle Cartoon Blog: here you can find all of the top editorial cartoonists updated regularly.
David Boies- The Wired Interview: Landmark cases where technology and the law come crashing together are among David Boies' primary passions.
Napster- MP3 File Sharing: Arguments for and against file-sharing.
U.S. Lawmaker wants to legalize MP3: If U.S. Representative Rick Boucher has his way, services like MP3.com's My.MP3.com will be legally untouchable.
BMG Takes Digital-Download Plunge Written by Andrew Morse and Kenneth Li (October 10, 2000): BMG Entertainment has launched its digital download service, offering music by popular artists such as Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and Santana for sale through affiliated Web sites.
Napster has History on its Side- Kind Of: Judge Marilyn Hall Patel's simple view of Napster rested on the "fact" that the company had been created to facilitate traffic in copyrighted works.
Judgment Day for MP3.com: MP3.com had its day in court against the major record labels today, as a U.S. district court justice Rakoff granted a summary judgment on behalf of the labels in their suit filed over MP3.com’s "My.MP3" service.
Court Hears Argument For and Against Napster: A federal appeals court in San Francisco heard arguments Monday in a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by the music industry against popular Internet music-swapping site Napster Inc.
College students on downloading frenzy as Napster returns to court: The future of the popular Napster song-swapping service hung in the balance as a panel of federal judges got its hands on the case Monday, prompting some college students to download as many songs as possible.
Copyright Infringement and Napster: An articles about how Napster is hurting musicians.
Artists Sound Off: Major artists have a lot to say about Napster.
It's Very Clear Napster is Unlawful: Howard Weitzman of digital-rights management company Massive Media thinks the file-sharing company got just what it deserved.
Lincoln/ Douglas Debate Format: Here is a website the demonstrates different debate formats.
Is downloading music stealing? Napster tests our notion of right and wrong. This article covers the discussion of the legality of downloading music on the web.
Students will be examining information related to Napster and trying to determine the answer to the central question: Is using an online music site such as Napster trading music with friends or is it piracy - stealing copyrighted music?
1. Ask students to examine one of these cartoons . Students can then describe what the cartoon looks like and explain the message of the cartoon to the class.
2. Read this interview with David Boies, attorney for Napster, at and answer the following questions:
Which side of the argument does David Boies defend?
What are his main arguments? [His main arguments are that Napster users are engaging in noncommercial sharing of music that is legal; The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 says that noncommercial copying of music is lawful; The 9th Circuit, in RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia Systems in 1999 read the 1992 Act as allowing all noncommercial copying as legal.]
Do you think there is a difference between copying an audio cassette for a friend and trading music online?
3. Read "Arguments For and Against MP3 File-Sharing by Musicians and Music Listeners " and the CNN article "U.S. Lawmaker Wants to Legalize MP3 ." Answer the following questions:
What arguments do the artists raise against Napster? [Napster facilitates large scale copying of music and therefore allows its users to engage in piracy.]
Do you think the Music Owners' Listening Rights Act (H.R. 5225) will become law? Why or why not?
If Boucher's bill becomes law, what will be the implications for both Napster and the music industry?
[Answers will vary. Napster would most likely go out of business in its current form, The music industry will be forced to examine their business model and change with the advances in technology. A premium on live performances will become more prevalent.]
4. Read the CNN article "BMG takes digital-download plunge " and answer the following questions:
Why is BMG posting new music on the web?
[The company see's an opportunity to expand into a new market.]
- How does the BMG structure and format differ from Napster? [BMG is using advanced AAC technology and charging for their music.]
5. Read at least two more articles regarding the digital music debate from the list below
6. Engage in a class debate using the following resolution: Resolved, that Napster's users are engaged in copyright infringement. Use this debate format .
[Note to teacher: If you do not want to engage the students in a classroom debate, you may ask the students to write a position paper arguing in favor or against the resolution.]
“This article was very helpful to my research. I personally think online music sharing is fine if the copyrights are bought. That's why I only download and do not upload music - I don't have the right to upload. If one is downloading, they do not know if it is legitimate, and those who buy the copyrights (if they do), should not be penalized for their actions when they are, in fact, legal actions.”
“Great website! I'm using it as a source for my undergrad research paper.”
“I am doing a research paper on computer piracy. These articles helped a great deal. Thank you so much!”
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