What an interesting (and volatile) topic! I've been watching with interest some of the debates surrounding Napster, RIAA, and MP3technology. I believe the facts of this case are being obscured (purposely) by Napsterand those who invest in them. The supreme court case is not about MP3 files, or theability of an individual to make copies, it's about the distribution method used byNapster and Napster affiliates. The ability of an individual to make a copy of a piece of music they own is not justlegal, it's protected (US Code 17 something something). I believe this would also applyto making mp3 music files of music you already own. Fact is, the government can'tcontrol that aspect of the situation if they wanted to. The ability of an individual to share copyrighted works of anything with friends orstrangers is not protected. It falls to the artist to enforce the various rights oftheir works (see Grateful Dead for an example). Napster provided a portal for many hundreds or thousands of people share copyrightedworks without the exchange of money (if not for Napster than for the artists). Thisviolates copyright law since those artists whose music was being traded played no part inthe decision to share their works. If a young up-n-coming artist would like some oftheir songs to be shared by people on-line, than they have that right. All they aredoing is essentially signing away their ability to limit who distributes that particularsong. Napster, however, has allowed anyone who shares those mp3 files the ability todecide FOR THE ARTIST. This is where the point of law will turn. Everyone will still have the ability to record copies of their albums into an mp3 file... and use it individualy. New artists will be able to submit copies of their works towebsites for anyone to download and enjoy (or hate, if it sucks). MP3's are not injeopardy. Neither is your ability to make copies. Napster can be viewed as a privatelycreated video store, where patrons make copies of their movies and bring it in for othersto watch. It's just not allowed. Cheers,-Axecell
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