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Comments by Dick Jagger....
 
Oh no, now that Napster has been shut down, where are we going to get free music now?  How are we going to evade paying the artists who create the music we love or the companies that enable them to bring us the songs that make us feel so good?  How are we going to steal intellectual property now?

Easy.  Even though Napster is supposed to shut down at 3 pm Saturday (7/29/00), they'll be back soon with a new deal that makes a little more money for the record companies, and makes their website a little less like a haven for music thieves.  

Do you get the idea that I don't approve of sharing music in this manner?  You'd be correct in that assumption.  It can take hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a chart-topping act.  The record companies invest that money because they expect to make it back, and more, that's the business they're in.  And they normally do.  

But, if enough people freeload the music, and consequently stop buying recordings, eventually the system will become extinct.  There won't be anymore Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre's or Metallicas.  The quantity and quality will severely suffer.  

The internet is such a pervasive influence on today's society, that this could really happen, and a lot sooner than you may think.  That's why I applaud the judge and Metallica for pushing the issue.  Of course, there are still plenty of ways to download freebies.  

This very site offers Free Mp3's, on an evaluation basis.  You're supposed to delete the file within 24 hours.  The idea is if you like the song, you'll actually go out and spend some cash.  Then of course, there's Gnutella.  If you haven't tried it yet, you must.  Click here to download.   It's a little difficult to grasp at first, but it grows on you.  

So why do I embrace Gnutella, and criticize Napster?  For one thing, Gnutella is a great way to share ALL kinds of files.  Not just copyrighted material.  So the fact that you are using it doesn't necessarily mean you're there to break the law.  Another reason is it has the potential of becoming a parallel internet.  It's peer to peer connections don't rely on a central server, and therefore are completely anonymous.  For those of us who are leery of central control and monitoring of our information, this is very important.  

There are other sites that will step up and fill Napster's void, including Freenet, AudioFind, iMesh, Scour Exchange, and CuteMX.  So if you really want to steal something, you'll still be able to, without having to leave the comfort of your home.  
~Dick Jagger {;~)>

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