Last notes for Net music?

"Just like a carpenter who crafts a table gets to decide whether to keep it, sell it, or give it away, shouldn't we have the same options?" asks Lars Ulrich, cofounder and drummer of the heavy metal band Metallica. Ulrich and other representatives of the music industry, as well as Web site entrepreneurs, addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday at a hearing dubbed "Music on the Internet: Is There an Upside to Downloading?"

"My band authored the music which is Napster's lifeblood. We should decide what happens to [the music], not Napster--a company with no rights in our recordings, which never invested a penny in Metallica's music or had anything to do with its creation. The choice has been taken away from us," Ulrich says.

But representatives from Napster and Gnutella, both music distribution sites, maintain that their websites offer music through file sharing, rather than theft.

"Copyright law is not absolute," says Hank Barry, chief executive of Napster. "We should not brand the 20 million users of Napster 'thieves.'" Barry describes Napster as an internet directory service that does not copy, compress, or transfer files. Instead it creates a "Napster community" by enabling communication and file sharing. The site hosts 500,000 to 600,000 users each day, he says.

"I think Napster has found the technology that defeats the purpose of copyright protection," says Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California. "[Napster's] very strength, its widespread use, is also its Achilles heel." Joining her at the hearing were Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York.

Dilemmas raised by the information technology are "the number-one issue the federal government will have to face" in coming years, Schumer observes.

"I believe we will need some government involvement, but when dealing with a changing world, we ought to be very cautious. It's probably better to let the private sector come up with [ideas]," Schumer says.

Most of the witnesses agree, saying the marketplace and the courts will resolve copyright issues. Some say government involvement is not welcome.

It is nearly impossible for the government or anyone else to stop people from downloading music, notes Gene Kan, a Gnutella software developer. He concedes that some legislative oversight is important, though.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Hunt

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?