Battling for free music
The industry's view
Downloading music off the Internet for free has sparked the opposition of the Recording Industry Association of America, or the RIAA. The RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First
Amendment rights of artists. The RIAA's goal in this controversy is to be able to open up new opportunities for new technologies, but at the same time protect the rights of the artists and copyright owners. Copyright prohibits
the unauthorized duplication, performance or distribution of a creative work. The RIAA claims that Napster is breaking copyright laws, and taking away royalties from the artists. Artists are upset because most of the songs on the website were placed on the Internet without the artists permission. The RIAA claim that the popular music sharing site is violating the No Electronic Theft Law, or the NET Act. The NET Act states that sound
recording infringements, even if there is no profit, may be criminally prosecuted. Under the NET Act a person would serve up to three years in prison or charged up to $250,000 in fines.
Napster isn't the only online threat to the recording industry. MP3.com, another music
download website that allows the visitor to obtain any music he wants for free with the purchase of an MP3 player which ranges from $100 to $500 dollars. The increasing amount of websites that provide free digitalized
music is overwhelming. New technologies, such as Gnutella, pose greater risk to the recording industry than Napster because of their advanced servers that are harder to track.