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Copyright Laws, Napster and Personal Ethics

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Essay title: Copyright Laws, Napster and Personal Ethics

Copyright Laws, Napster and Personal Ethics

Abstract: The current lawsuits against Napster have brought out new ethical issues surrounding the exchange of MP3s and copyrighted material on the Internet. This paper discusses the ethical case against those who participate in MP3 trading services such as Napster and suggests ethical alternatives to these services.

The free exchange of CD-quality music in the form of MP3s has created quite a stir in the media in the past few years and has forced the public to take a hard look at the laws governing electronic data. After the invention of MP3 files and the creation of free distribution channels such as Napster, individual users of the Internet gained incredible power in interpreting copyright laws. In the midst of the lawsuits and the controversy surrounding Napster and digital copyright laws, the Internet user must determine how to ethically decide on the use of MP3s.

Of all controversies surrounding digital copyright laws on the Internet, the Napster lawsuit has received the most media attention because of its wide popularity and revolutionary approach to file sharing. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is suing this Internet service for "lost revenue" from songs Napster users downloaded for

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