P2P Music Service 'Napster' Officially Silenced

Dennis Faas's picture

Although it was once the toast of music pirates everywhere -- and exactly the place where many got started -- the original Napster is being laid to rest. It's seen some 30 billion songs (shared) since the protocol was crafted over six years ago, but the market has largely changed. As Torrents and iTunes rip offs take over the Internet, the lawyers officially chose to close a chapter of digital media history.

According to reports, EMI and financier Bertelsmann have reached a legal settlement that will terminate Napster functionality. For those who missed it, Bertelsmann funded Napster in 2000 during the peer-to-peer network's least politically correct period. It was around this time that bands like Metallica were able to focus much of their anger over music industry woes on the file sharing protocol. (Source: theaustralian.com)

Napster was subsequently shut down in 2001, only to reopen its web-based doors for legal commercial service. Despite efforts to make this shift to DRM (Digital Rights Management) approved downloads, peer-to-peer networks still account for the sharing of some 1 billion songs every month.

Bertelsmann, Napster's one-time financier, admits no wrong-doing in the settlement. However, it's reported that they'll be paying EMI some undisclosed costs, on top of the $60 million already pushed Universal's way. Most suspect this is the amount being paid to EMI. (Source: arstechnica.com)

All in all, pulling the plug on Napster is like snuffing out a 98 year old shoplifter. There are far more pressing issues facing the music industry, starting with criticisms of anyone from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs over DRM.

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