Napster is widely believed to be the start of the digital music revolution. And it happened back in 1999, when two friends – American programmers Jonathan Ritter and Sean Parker created a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. We can say that it was their brainchild that became the progenitor of music streaming services, of which there are dozens of them on the Internet today.
Napster was active for two years (June 1999 – July 2001). The service was named so because that was what Sean’s nickname was. Napster has greatly influenced the development of the Internet in general. The main advantage of the service was the ability to exchange music files between users. But this exchange a priori violated the copyright of musical performers. At a time when CDs had not even become popular, such an opportunity seemed simply fabulous.
But suddenly a big scandal broke out. The rock band Metallica have announced the release of a new single, “I Disappear”, with a demo to the public. This composition later became the soundtrack for one of the popular action movies. But Napster, a few days before the official presentation, offered its subscribers the full version of this composition. Angry rock musicians are suing the service. The main initiator of the trial was the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich.
In March 2001, the court issued an injunction, but the Napster server was closed only in July of that year. The court ruling argued that the service was indirectly guilty of copyright infringement, as it contributed to the fact that many users shared music files to which they did not have ownership. As a result of this process, an uncontrolled, huge online music market emerged, in which copyright was violated everywhere. The prosecution argued that the number of Napster users sharing music among themselves exceeded half a million in early 2001.
Legal issues were resolved with the server paying $ 26 million to musicians and music publishers affected by copyright infringement.