By Mary Madden. At the ripe old age of ten, the current incarnation of the Napster music service scarcely resembles its former bawdy self. If the original Napster was a loud, raucous garage band made up of drunken college students, the present offering is what happens when the band sobers up, signs to a major label, and starts house hunting.
Shawn Fanning, a programmer, and Sean Parker began Napster while in school. Their creation — a network by which home music databases could be exchanged online — caught on and spread at a phenomenal rate. Eventually, the Recording Industry Association of Americaterrified of these upstarts, sued for copyright infringement, as did unlikely allies like the rapper Dr.
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Overcoming shyness, surviving to 16 and doing well in school are what our essay contest winners are most proud of. Howard, 14, learned that Koreans have mixed emotions about re-uniting the North and South Korea after nearly 50 years. As artists sue to keep their music from being given away for free on the Internet, teens must decide whether to continue downloading their stolen songs.
The path to the courtroom began in Junewhen college dropout Shawn Fanning and teenage hacker Sean Parker launched a program whose moniker came from the former's childhood nickname. Napster's original aim was to create "a way for people to search for files and talk to each other," Newsweek reported in However, the expansion of high-speed internet, particularly on college campuses, made the program the perfect solution for students eager to search for and download mp3s.
I first heard about Napster in 8th grade aka, It sounded like the stuff dreams were made of — you mean I can download free music from my babysitter, The Internet? I sat in Social Studies shaking like a leaf with DTs.
Figures scrawled on a whiteboard told how many people around the world had installed their file-sharing application and were using it to download music from each other's computers. As recounted in Downloaded — a documentary soon to premiere at the SXSW film festivaltelling the story of a piece of software that came and went and whipped up a new digital music industry in its slip — Napster had 20 million users at the time. Some way from San Mateo, in suburban London I had just become one myself. I was 17, and the owner of an irregular music collection that numbered about 20 albums, most of them a real shame OMC's How Bizarrethe Grease 2 soundtrack.
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S hawn Fanning looks like your typical year-old kid -- in a long-sleeved T-shirt and a University of Michigan baseball hat, he's unassuming and soft-spoken and a bit reluctant to make eye contact with the journalist grilling him across the table. Just last summer he was a college freshman at Northeastern University majoring in computer science, and hanging out on IRC in his free time. Napster was the very first Windows program he ever wrote: He had to buy a book to figure out how to code it. Today, Fanning is surrounded by the chaos and bustle of his new start-up, also called Napster; he's dropped out of school to work full time on it and he's been suddenly enveloped by a seasoned CEO and layers of vice presidents and managers who are scurrying about trying to invent business models and marketing strategies and revenue streams for his barely-in-beta product.