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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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 Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?