From net neutrality to Clickwrap: 10 major Internet legal cases since 2000 | multimedia


The A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc. case was the first major copyright law issue in relation to peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing – and it changed the face of music sharing than we know it with it. Napster, a peer-to-peer music sharing platform, was launched in 1999 to allow users to access and download digital MP3 files from other users’ computers.

However, unlike other music sharing platforms, Napster’s central server was built to index its users’ music files and create a music list that can be downloaded for free on the platform, so music fans don’t have MP3 files of the music need to buy offered on the Napster platform. As a result, A&M Records sued Napster for copyright infringement related to its role in distributing copyrighted works.

Napster defended itself by offering users the opportunity to sample the music before buying it, and that users already owned the music that they received through authorized distributions of the copyrighted works. The court agreed with A&M Records and in part ruled that Napster’s P2P file sharing service was not a fair use of copyrighted work, making it very difficult to share copyrighted music files using these types of platforms on the Internet.

This story originally appeared on Ironclad and was produced and distributed in collaboration with Stacker Studio.

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