Volume 94, Issue 80

Wednesday, February 14, 2001


Presidential voting demands answers

Change of fortune for Napster

Online learning focus of new fed committee

Dyer predicts democratic China in 10 years

Students shocked by high hydro bills


Couch potatoes get no respect: study

Students say credit is no good

School dress code could be the norm

His Royal Mintiness

Change of fortune for Napster

By Daniel Mlodecki
Gazette Staff

Music pirates worldwide may soon have to live without their beloved Napster after a recent legal ruling effectively shutting down the Web site's service.

The popular music-sharing service suffered a near-fatal legal blow Monday as the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Napster users are infringing copyrights. This decision clears the way for Napster to be shut down pending a full trial.

Shaun Fanning, founder of Napster, released a statement Monday saying the ruling would not be the last of Napster. "Along the way, many people said it would never work. We've heard that we couldn't survive before. We'll find a way to keep this community growing," he said.

The decision was welcomed by Brian Robertson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association. "Any sort of service that infringes copyright, we will support action [against them]. Rights owners have to get paid some way, or there will be no new music," he said.

Michelle Cino, a third-year media, information and technoculture student, admitted that she buys less CDs because of Napster. "I use it a lot. [If Napster is shut down], I probably still won't buy CDs. It's $20 a pop, and I listen to a lot of older music, so it's even more expensive," she said.

Retail sales of recorded music in Canada fell by 6 per cent in 2000, according to CRIA.

Cino said that after Napster is gone, she will explore other technologies for Internet file-sharing, such as Gnutella or iMesh, to add to her 450 song collection.

Robertson said while CRIA supports sanctions against Napster, it does not have a problem with new technologies in general. "Music listeners have embraced the new technology," he said.

"The music fans don't understand the process," Robertson said. "Artists are susceptible to the ire of fans, and so are less likely to speak out. The record companies have to get a kind of order in the marketplace. If no one gets paid, there will be no music."

"Emerging artists are seeing their sales evaporate due to Napster theft. Canadian copyright law is 20 years out of date," Robertson said.

Jim Dunkin, network specialist with Housing and Ancillary Services at Western, said RezNet, an inter-residence online system, is working on new 'shaping' technologies that will give priority to academic applications, while removing the need for complete blocking of applications such as Napster. "We don't want to restrict bandwidth, we don't want to be censors," he said.

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