Napster and the "The more things change" rule

Napster and the "The more things change" rule

Summary: Drew Wilson at Zero Paid points out that Napster celebrates its 10th birthday this month. The Globe and Mail takes a deeper look in its Download Decade series.

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TOPICS: Amazon, Legal
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Drew Wilson at Zero Paid points out that Napster celebrates its 10th birthday this month. The Globe and Mail takes a deeper look in its Download Decade series. In the last decade, iTunes, Amazon, and various subscription music services have demonstrated there's a vast audience more than willing to pay for entertainment downloads given the right mix of value and convenience, though pricing and freedom from DRM remain sticking points. At the same time, lawsuits against individual alleged file sharers march forward, and the entertainment industry has not relented in its pursuit of what it perceives as Napster's successors (e.g., Pirate Bay, Real DVD). Which prompts me to wonder: in the ten years since Napster sent the entertainment industry its wake-up call, has anything fundamentally changed? [Update:] Or as Bob Lefsetz puts it: "So I just don’t understand this ten year period. What did the rights holders prove?" [poll id="8"]

Topics: Amazon, Legal

Denise Howell

About Denise Howell

Denise Howell is an appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer who enjoys broad industry recognition for her expertise on the intersection of emerging technologies and law.

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  • Hulu has the right idea

    as far as offering free content in exchange for mandatory commercials (which is no worse than TV without a DVR) but of course it is still too limited in content to call it a success. But overall it's very obvious that the entertainment industry does not get it. Every positive step they have made towards a compromise of mere fairness has been done while kicking and screaming every step of the way.

    Really, all people want is the ability to watch whatever they want whenever they want wherever that want. And most people are willing to either pay a fair fee for that ability or put up with commercials in exchange for making it free. It's not even DRM per say that turns people off, it's the fact that the terms of ALL mainstream media's DRM prevents people from obtaining their "whatever, whenever, wherever" goals. Hulu comes the closest, they at least do a good job of covering the "wherever" goal, and "whenever" isn't bad, though movies do expire eventually. But as I said, the choices are too limited, though that wouldn't be a problem if whomever holds the copyrights to other movies/shows were to have a similar model as Hulu.
    Michael Kelly
    • DRM is doing the job it was designed for

      "ALL mainstream media's DRM prevents people from obtaining their "whatever, whenever, wherever" goals"

      That's the point actually.

      DRM was designed to prevent casual copying by everyday users. It doesn't stop Jack Hacker from distributing stuff, but it will prevent the everyday person from turning into one.

      The "whatever, whenever, wherever" slogan can easily be twisted by file-sharers, and it is - just look at Sweden. When you put a zero-figure value on intellectual property, there is no motivation for creative innovations.
      Joe_Raby
  • RE: Napster and the

    I think the recorded music industry "may" be just beginning to wake up. As to the rest of the entertainment industry, hard to say ....
    rolfbrye
  • RE: Napster and the

    As long as tech writers (not necessarily talking about present company, mind you) remain mired in old-think, some very good products -- like the kind of subscription streaming offered by Rhapsody and Napster -- will have an uphill struggle to reach critical mass in the public imagination. We still frequently hear tech writers talk about how they don't want to 'rent' their music.

    "What happens when I give up my subscription?" they ask. Well, they stop getting unlimited amounts of all the music they want for around $10 a month. That's true. But that's a CD or less a month. For the same money, I get unlimited listening to almost anything I want to hear, old, new, just out, obscure classic.
    ks2problema