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hey Fools,

MichG said:
The argument that Napster will kill intellectual property rights, as well as the whole debate on Napster's affect on record sales is analogous to the arguments used when FM radio came out, and when cassette tapes became popular. They thought they would kill the industry, but they didn't.

Napster=new radio


Well, almost. It's a little different because of the following:

- Radio can be monetized with advertising revenue that is a guaranteed hit (well, close -- ever notice how all of them seem to have ads on at the same time?). The Napster client could start posting ads (like AOL Instant Messenger), but it's going to be the typical lower online ad rates -- probably less than a radio ad would be -- no one is forced to listen to a 30 second spot between their Eminem downloads. Or Napster could charge for its service. Regardless, the money-making is going to be somewhat different, and it's a tougher road to hoe. On the other hand, the music industry stinks when it comes to turning a buck. The whole industry model could use a kick in the pants like Napster.

- Radio doesn't give you the song, you have to put forth some effort to keep it. Putting radio -> CD is a pain. And often it's muddled with station liners and DJ's talking over the track. Besides that, you find many songs edited for singles and the radio is poor sound quality. Napster doesn't force you to put forth any effort to keep a track (you can always keep the track!), gives you it in a format that lets you take it anywhere (digital), and has a much higher sound quality (somewhat lossy but certainly nothing you should care about). It's the last two that place it in a somewhat different league than radio, in my mind.

I see your point but I think these subtle differences push the issue of intellectual property. Information is going to be very difficult to protect as we shift from atoms to bits. I simply do not see the inconvenience of industry "standards" like SDMI doing anything to stop that flow. But, like you say, I think they won't kill the industry either. It's just going to be a question of who changes with the times and who gets cut down by the evolutionary chainsaw.

-TMFSolid
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