Ripper: A Computer Program

             Online, you can find a digital version of any song that your heart desires from classical to hardcore to country in less than 10 – 15 minutes. Terabytes or 1000000000000 (a trillion) bytes of Mp3 files can be found online at peak times, which roughly translates to 330,000 songs in 3100 different collections. A Mp3 is an individual song converted into a digital format and playable on computers.

             A popular program easily accessible on the Internet is called Napster. After you download it from Napster"s site, you basically tell it where you keep your Mp3 files and when it connects it cross-references everyone"s files and lets you search through them all and download as you please. 90% of the files that are traded daily are illegally "ripped" from CDs. Napster has a blurb at startup that states "Copying or distributing unauthorized Mp3 files may violate United States and/or foreign copyright laws. Compliance with copyright law remains your responsibility." The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is charging the site with copyright infringement and alleges that Napster has created a base for music piracy on an unprecedented scale. Napster contends that they provide the platform, not the actions, and that as the blurb states it"s up to the people. Napster is not at fault because the RIAA has overstepped their boundaries and infringed on first amendment rights online. .

             Should the owner of the gun shop be charged with murder if a man he sold a gun to decides to shoot another man in cold blood? Of course not, if the shop owner followed all of the laws that govern him. Should the car dealership be charged with vehicular felonies every time one of their vehicles is involved in a crime? Certainly not. So why should software"s originator be responsible for what their software is used for? They shouldn"t, but the only reason the RIAA is jumping all over the Napster community is that they can"t just go out and arrest everybody who decides to trade Mp3s online.

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