Peer to Peer and the Music Industry: The Criminalization of Sharing

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However, this is not the only reason that physical music sales have declined, as there are many other factors to consider. Due to slightly changing the topic I am writing about, I feel that there is some of my literature review which is now irrelevant, but most of it is still applicable in my dissertation. I am currently reading The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud, which covers the music industry since the development of the internet and the possibilities allowed now that music can be sold or transferred over the internet and peer-to-peer networks. This book is hugely relevant to my dissertation topic and there are many quotes within the text that reinforce my argument.

I plan on re-reading Peer to Peer and the Music Industry: The Criminalization of Sharing and Noise: The Political Economy of Music as they are both relevant to my topic, and I am currently searching for more reading material relevant to the topic of declining music sales and music industry models. I am also planning to re-read The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution, in order to gain a better understanding of the possible directions in which the music industry could go in the future.

I also plan on reading The Global Music Industry: Three Perspectives and The Music Industry Handbook to gain an idea of how the structure within the industry works and insider viewpoints on the decline of physical music sales. I have yet to decide on a definitive research question for my dissertation, but I know it is going to be focused on the decline in physical music sales and the negative effect the development of the internet has had on physical music sales. However, this does not mean that the internet has had a negative effect on the industry as a whole.

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Literature Review at David Darbyshire. Sean Fanning became an entrepreneur and founded a few other start-up companies; his personal wealth is estimated at a few million dollars.

He was afraid that if he was ever to make money again, record labels would take him back to court; therefore, he made an effort to avoid the media. Eventually, he got lucky — he was one of the first investors in a small company, you may have heard of … FaceBook? Today, his personal wealth is estimated at more than a billion dollars! File sharing technology itself changed in order to prevent any legal action similar to the one that destroyed Napster, and now not only MP3 files were shared, but also movies and hacked games. Winamp had millions of users.

In they decided to develop their own file sharing software. But Frankel and Pepper made one, very big, mistake. They were talented programmers, no doubt about that — but perhaps due to their young age and lack of experience in handling themselves inside large bureaucratic organizations, or maybe due to a natural rebellious instinct, they decided not to tell their new managers at AOL about their new project.

Even Metallica and Dr. Dre joined the record companies and added lawsuits of their own! The media was covering the story day in and day out. On top of that, AOL did some business with the record labels, and it made no sense to destabilize those connections in favor of distributing an open source software that had no financial potential. The gag order was so strict that around Silicon Valley rumors began spreading about how AOL was holding Frankel and Pepper under home detention in order to keep them away from the media.

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Zennstrom and Friis planned to sell this technology to European companies as a fast and convenient way to transfer files between the US and Europe. Kazaa launched in March of Four months later, In July, Napster shut down — and millions of frustrated users found Kazaa to be the perfect alternative. Three months later, Kazaa had one million and three hundred thousand users!

But in the case of Kazaa and FastTrack, this distinction has a lot of significance. The letter A is di-dah, the letter B is dah-di-di-dit and so on. But the beeps themselves could be transmitted in different ways. I could build a flashlight that transmits Morse code by flashing light signals; I could build a telegraph that would transmit the signals as electric pulses, or even create small and large clouds of smoke over a bonfire. In other words, there are many ways a protocol could be implemented.

It is important to remember that the same way in which a telegraph could be replaced with a flashlight in order to use Morse code, Kazaa could have been replaced with other software that would implement the FastTrack protocol, and in fact — that is what actually happened.

This abundance of software allowed each user to find the software that suited them the most—this was the most significant advantage of FastTrack over Napster.

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It was clear to everyone that with such success it was just a matter of time until the record labels and movie studios would drag FastTrack to court and try to take the technology down just as they did to Napster. Even though Grokster was just one of many similar programs, this case was especially interesting since it was seen as a test of the legality of the entire FastTrack protocol.

And if Grokster falls, the other software companies would probably follow. So, how did Zennstrom and Friis hope to avoid the same fate suffered by Napster? The server hosted a list of all the songs that different users stored on their computers. Now user A communicated directly with user B, and the two exchanged files.

Remember, the fact that Napster hosted the list that contained all the songs, turned out to be their downfall since the court ruled that Napster had the theoretical and practical capability to prevent infringement.


That is why FastTrack protocol did not include a central server at all! But having said that, an obvious question arises. How could file searchers and file holders find each other? The supernodes received their distinguished title if they had a fast internet connection. Imagine a crowd at a football stadium, where some of the people that happen to be tall and strong receive yellow vests and hats and now they are both watching the game, and ushering.

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In other words, the supernodes are both sharing files just like any other user, but, in addition, they are responsible for creating connections between users. It contacts the nearest supernode and sends a query with the name of the song. The supernode hosts a list of files, but only the files of users near it. So it knows what is happening only on its side of the stadium, but has no idea what is happening on the other side. It scans the list and searches for the song, but cannot find it.

It then refers the query to another supernode.

The second supernode scans its list, and if the file cannot be found, this supernode too refers the query to the next supernode, and so on…. Now, knowing the IP address of the user that holds the desired file, user A contacts user B and they exchange the file. This elegant solution removed any direct responsibility from the operators of Kazaa and the other software companies since they had no control over the supernodes. The supernodes usher on their own, completely independently; they communicate with each other and their users.

Users could exchange, for example, a copyright protected file of a Metallica song or a perfectly legal copy of the bible — and no one would know any better. Imagine a new highway — does anybody at police station know which vehicles drive on it? The record labels appealed, and lost that as well.

But then the case was brought in front of the Supreme Court — and there the outcome was completely different. If you look at it outcome-dependant, all they are really saying is that Grokster should not have won, we need a fuller record to determine what is actually happening here. In other words, they are sending the case back down to the lower court, saying it should investigate the lawsuit deeper, and find out all the facts.

But the Supreme Court does more than that. The background here is that most people were using this product to infringe on copyright. They are saying that by being the person who creates the device, you actually have a liability. As Brett says, Grokster realized that it was probably going to lose the next legal battle — and it folded.

Week 10 New Media and the Recording Industry - ppt download

In the company ceased all activity. In , when Napster disappeared, its frustrated users had to find other solutions and other technologies for file sharing. But in , Grokster was just one of many file sharing alternatives! It is just like the difference between hunting an elephant or destroying an ant hill: an elephant is a giant animal that can be taken down with a few bullets.

Matthew David

It is a lot harder to get rid of many, many ants that quickly spread in many directions. Similarly, Napster was shot once — a lawsuit took down the software. But getting rid of FastTrack and all its various software implementations was a much harder task. Many in the music industry felt that these sort of lawsuits were becoming irrelevant: despite the efforts to block file sharing, every year more and more users joined file sharing networks.