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Related to Napster: LimeWire, Kazaa


An online music service that merged with Rhapsody in 2011 and was rebranded as Napster in 2016. Starting out as a (non-centralized) peer-to-peer service, Napster was one of the most notorious names in the early years of the commercial Internet.

The Infamous Napster
With the help of his uncle and friends, Napster was founded in 1999 as a peer-to-peer music file sharing service by 18-year-old Shawn Fanning. Napster did not store the music itself in its servers, but provided an index to files in other people's computers. More than 60 million users took advantage of the service, and it quickly became one of the most controversial ventures on the Web, because much of the music being shared was copyrighted material.

The music industry sued the company, claiming losses of millions in royalties. Napster lost the case in 2000 and was about to be shut down, except for a last minute stay from the Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, Napster and Bertelsmann, parent of BMG music, agreed to partner so that Napster could be developed into a paid subscription service that would monitor transfers and pay royalties to the copyright holders. Because Napster could not reach agreement with major record companies, it filed for Chapter 11 in 2002.

Resurrected and Legitimate
Although expected to be purchased by Bertelsmann, Napster's assets were instead acquired by Roxio, Inc., Santa Clara, CA (, which makes software for burning CDs. In 2003, Roxio also acquired Pressplay, a music distribution service that was established in 2000 by Sony and UMG. In 2003, Napster was relaunched as a legitimate service with royalties paid to the major music companies. Acquired by Best Buy in 2008, the Napster subscriber base was sold to Rhapsody in 2011 (see Rhapsody). See peer-to-peer network, KaZaA and BitTorrent.

File swapping systems have been architected in different ways as outlined in the following illustrations:

References in periodicals archive ?
Napster Mobile is based on Ericsson's service delivery platform and will enable Entel PCS's subscribers to search, browse, preview and purchase content via i-shop (the mobile portal of Entel PCS) wireless handsets.
Music can be transferred via the new Napster service onto some cellphones of NTT DoCoMo Inc.
Although its library of Japanese music is still quite limited, Napster Japan plans to expand on existing ties with over 270 record companies including Sony Music Network, Toshiba EMI, Victor Entertainment, BMG Japan and Warner Music Japan to add one million songs over the next six months.
Reliable broadband inte rnet access enables music lovers to fully enjoy the Napster experience.
Only last week, Bertelsmann offered pounds 12m - which probably means that Napster was very, very close to collapsing.
Indeed, there are strong reasons to believe that the outlaw Napster actually increased the demand for fully legit music.
Since the summer, users have flocked to emerging online services like Fast Track, which has become more popular than Napster ever was.
Napster ran afoul of Big Music Business and international copyright laws when it went live in 1999 with its system of unique software and file-sharing.
Through the Napster web site, users could find out where music files were stored on the computers of other users, and download those files using the Napster program on their own computers.
A Pandora's box may have been opened recently when Napster founder Shawn Fanning called on "free" music fans to descend on our nation's capital and catch the attention of legislators holding hearings on online copyright issues.
The talks with the other labels are in progress; Edel Music and TVT Records, two of the largest independent labels, have already joined BeCG and Napster.