Napster's ironic pitch

Summary:As the Web 1.0 Napster saga lives on, Web 2.0 content sharing hubs, such as YouTube, are just beginning to grapple over the wants of content consumers, the needs of content owners, the rights of content creators, and their own desires to make money.

Napster.com is buying costly full–page print ads to simply say “Napster.com is now free”. It is ironic that a brand known for building a free, online peer-to-peer music file sharing viral network, is now using paid print-media (The Village Voice) to drive people online to use a music service that is being characterized as “now free”.

Napster has been impacted by “a socially constructed nature of technology”, according to Starling Hunter, MIT Sloan School of Management:

features of a technology should, can, and do determine what consequences it will bring about, so too do the attitudes and needs of the users…there were at least four or five definitions of what “Napster” was. Shawn Fanning and the folks at Napster had one idea and even that changed over time. A survey of legal documents suggests that the music industry had a view of the technology that was largely at odds with that of Napster…The media and the millions of users also had their own ideas about what purpose the technology should serve. Musicians also had there own views. What Napster eventually came to mean in the mind of the general and music-buying public was a function of the actions and interactions of all these groups...

As the Web 1.0 Napster saga lives on, Web 2.0 content sharing hubs, such as YouTube, are just beginning to grapple over the wants of content consumers, the needs of content owners, the rights of content creators, and their own desires to make money.

Will Web 2.0 companies face legal battles similar to those that Napster faced. Join the conversation: "Talk Back" below to share your thoughts.

Topics: Legal

About

A former ZDNet blogger, Donna Bogatin is the founder of online directional media properties VIPOffers.com and UrbanSavings.com. In addition to her own ventures, Donna has been advising companies on Web-based business development since 1997, when she created and led an "Internet For Entrepreneurs" workshop for the Small Business Administra... Full Bio

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