Green Country internet users are rushing to download music from Napster.com


Thursday, October 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


One of the Internet's hottest sites is getting a lot more traffic as its fate hangs in limbo.
Napster.com officials are awaiting a decision by a federal appeals court to see if they have to shut down their website. As a result a very large number of Internet users are downloading free music as fast as they can. Some musicians call it “cyber-robbery,” and that the "free" music comes at their expense.

College student Jacob Kreutzee is one of about 32 million people who regularly download free music from Napster's website. He says he visits the site everyday to add to his collection of songs while he still can. “You type in whatever song you want, and it comes up with the results," he explained. "I personally wouldn't pay for it."

In much publicized court hearings, music artists have accused the Napster site of pirating their songs by allowing consumers to share music from their own computers over the Internet. Rock groups like Metallica have charged that the site has highjacked their music.

Napster has been trying to negotiate with the music industry to charge a $4.95 a month fee to users to repay the artists. However, the company says the music industry has rejected that plan so far. Some retail music stores say that might be a good plan, but the website hasn't stopped people from buying music. "It really hasn't decreased our sales, so it doesn't really bother me that much,” said Sound Warehouse spokesperson Lori Stewart. “I think it takes away from the artist profits, but as far as our sales go, it hasn't really declined."

Some consumers say they understand the artists' side, but that doesn't keep them from downloading while they can. "I can see how the artists would get mad, because they're getting a bad deal off the thing, but it doesn't stop me from doing it," explained college student Tommy Denney.

In fact, Napster says the uncertainty of the site's future has brought thousands of new people to log on to their website to download free music. "Everyone in college does it, because it's a cheaper way to get CDs and the music they want to listen to," said Denny.

The court heard more legal arguments this week about the controversial Napster site.
Federal judges didn't say when they would hand down their decision on the music industry's lawsuit, but most legal experts think the ruling will come in the next few months.