“Napster and its founder held the promise of everything the new medium of the Internet encompassed: youth, radical change and the free exchange of information. But youthful exuberance would soon give way to reality as the music industry placed a bull's-eye squarely on Napster.”
Today the use of a computer has provided many privileges to its users, and among those privileges the main and largest one is the distribution of information across the internet. Through the internet, the average person has the ability to access millions of databases of information at no cost. This is the intent that the internet was founded on; that all people could come together to exchange ideas freely, without fear of rebuke or prosecution. However that time seems to be a small scratch on the long wall of history, for a few years ago a simple file-sharing program called Napster sprung up on the internet, and in doing so opened up a whole can of controversy . File-sharing became such a complicated issue as many files are, at their root, simply information. However that information has copyrights and ownership attached to it, a fact that cannot be overlooked by the world no matter how much they would like. Thus, those users around the world who choose to share files are now being pursued by huge corporations with ridiculous threats of a $15,000 fine per song downloaded (and they haven’t even began to pursue the infringements of movies or software yet). But are these companies justified in their actions? Does the basis for file-sharing really warrant such a harsh rebuttal? To determine this, let’s take a look at the long road that led us to the junction of chaos we now f...
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...er Died, May 2002, Wired News, 16 Nov. 2003
[vi] “Approaching Ethics” Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University, 2000, 3, <http://cseserv.engr.scu.edu/NQuinn/ENGR019_301Fall2003/EthicalDecisionMaking.PDF>.
[vii] File Sharing Software gets the Legal OK, 2001, Amplifier, 17 November 2003, <http://www.amplifier.co.nz/amp/view?item_id=6204>.
[viii] Grossman; Hasnain; Holton; Morrissey; Roston; Taylor; Chu. “IT’S ALL FREE!” Time. May 2003:18.
[ix] Ernesto Damiani. “Managing and Sharing Servents' Reputations in P2P Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering 15 (2003):1
[x] Berdichevsky & Neuenschwander, “Ethics of Persuasive Technology,” Communications of the ACM, 15 November 2003, <http://cseserv.engr.scu.edu/NQuinn/ENGR019_301Fall2003/CACMEthics8.pdf>.
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