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The Kidnapstering of the Net

Even if you haven't used it, you must have heard of Napster by now. The program, created by college student Shawn Fanning, lets people share music files from computer to computer via the Internet all over the world for free. Kids and college students love it….but hey, you can build a collection of Beatles music, Frank Sinatra or even classical music using Napster too. All for free. And that the rub with the recording industry, which is trying to put a stop to all this. A rock band in Oakland has started a Web site called But in the meantime, it's spreading like wildfire. I tried it and couldn't believe how easy it was to find and download any song I was looking for. And a survey conducted by the online market research firm InsightExpress finds that most Web surfers really don't think Napster or its users are doing anything wrong. InsightExpress President Charles Hamlin…

"The online community in general, a certain number of them, twenty five percent of them, feel that Napster's not guilty of copyright infringement. If you move to those who download music over the net, that percentage jumps to thirty four. And if you talk to Napster users, it's all the way up to forty nine percent."
Most of the rest are undecided. Very few think Napster or its users are guilty of breaking any laws. But in court, my guess is the tune will be different. The next download you hear could be the fat lady singing. You can find us on the net at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.

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