Answers Activity 48
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MAN: What's all this fuss I've been hearing about Napster?
WOMAN: Well, apparently there's going to be a settlement, so that Napster, instead of being free software that millions of people use in order to share music collections over the Internet, will no longer be able to provide its services free of charge, and will pay royalties to record companies - or at least to some of them.
MAN: I see. Would you say that what Napster was doing was theft then?
WOMAN: Yes ... no ... Well, the record companies saw it that way, although it isn't easy to have controls to prevent such things when you have an open digital tool.
MAN: A what?
WOMAN: Something that can be put to purposes other than the one it was designed for. A good example would be e-mail, which, although it was designed to send messages, could be used to send music, too.
MAN: So, is there such a thing as a closed digital tool?
WOMAN: There certainly is. Cellphones, for instance, are closed digital tools, at least at present, that are owner-controlled enough to be profitable.
MAN: So it all comes down to money and control, in the end?
WOMAN: I'm afraid so - like most things in life. Of course, you have to balance control against freedom ... people will always be fighting for the right to havp this, and against the interests of big corporations - a David and Goliath situation, if you like.
make a financial
be heavily fined.
be put out of
digital tool can
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