Life After Napster?

What are we going to do without Napster - the world's greatest music swapping site? It's become such a part of our lives, like flicking on the tube or turning on the radio. Napster hasn't always been around, but now that we've had it - we can't live without it.

Everybody's wondering what the heck is going on with Napster and the news seem to change daily. It looks like Napster is definitely finito after the federal district court ruled that the company has to block the sharing of certain music files at the request of copyright holders. What this means is that record companies and music publishers must send Napster the names of their artists and songs that they want filtered out. This is a ginormous job for all of the record labels to go through, but they're the ones that wanted Napster gone. Once they hand over the info to Napster, the company has three days to remove the music.

If you visit Napster right now it's business as usual - you can still get your Britney fix. There are thousands of musicians out there, so it will take time for labels to send in their requests. But in the months to come it's more than likely that Napster will be doomed. Even with this filtering business going on, the company will eventually have to go to trial again because record labels are still unhappy.

Don't sweat it though. Plenty of companies are working on music swapping programs of their own. One Napster clone is called Nap Came Back. This site's tactics are sneaky, but where there's a will - there's a way! How it works is you enter the name of the artist you're looking for, like Madonna, for example. Then you click on an "encoder" button which changes her name to "adonnam". Then the program searches for the encoded name. You know the record labels are really gonna freak when they see musicians names being messed with. And you know there will be more music-swapping sites on the way.

No matter what happens we can thank Napster for introducing us to a new way of music and even if they go down, music swapping won't.

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