80Chapter 3Data RepresentationNapster worked through the direct exchange of files from onecomputer to another. This peer-to-peer sharing allows users to bypass acentral server, access music files from computers located all over theworld, and download those files. The ease of this application led to itsimmediate popularity, especially among college students, who usedNapster more than any other age group. An additional factor in theappeal of Napster was that the user did not pay for the music. Themusic industry’s objection to Napster stemmed from the fact that thisproperty changes hands at no charge. Artists and labels collected noroyalties when their music was copied through Napster, and they mightlose prospective customers. Opponents argued that Napster infringedon copyrights and that the file-swapping service should be shut down.Napster disagreed, asserting that the music files are personal files andtherefore are not the responsibility of the company.
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