This article discusses the futility of the proposed filtering system that Napster was trying to implement. Robert Schwartz, a well versed lawyer in media copyright cases made the point that "what the well-intentioned mind can invent, the not-well-intentioned mind can destroy." In essence, even if Napster were to stop all illegal file sharing, new services would become available. There were already many alternatives to Napster: Newtella, BearShare, Gnocleus, LimeWire, Napigator, and Gnutella.
While shutting down Napster would be irrelevant because users would just switch over to another service, the recording industry didn’t consider that there may be greater evils than Napster’s service. Gnutella and its variants allow users to download all types of media in addition to music. Furthermore, this second generation of peer-to-peer technology was smarter: there were no central servers, and thus no easy target to litigate. The unexpected consequence of forcing Napster to shut down was that programmers wrote better code which would be very hard for the recording industry to stop.
Importance to Thesis:
This article helps me in supporting my second argument. The grass roots birth and growth of peer-to-peer networks indicates that it shares similar traits to the VCR. The VCR and P2P networks were both born from the market’s demand. Also, Napster and its copycats represent the inevitable evolution of technology. Thus, recording companies are repeating the movie studios mistake of fighting an evolution in technology that can’t be beat. The second repeated mistake is that recording companies litigated Napster without considering that this new technology has changed the competitive landscape. The fact that at least 5 other alternatives existed at the time indicates that the recording companies didn’t see the technology in terms of a larger strategic perspective.