The expected, yet dreaded, event for many college students has finally happened. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Napster, a popular Internet music-swapping facilitator, must stop its members from the exchange of copyrighted materials over the Internet free of charge.

Many students said they feel that due to already high compact disc prices and increased record sales, the music industry should not be concerned about exposing artists to an expanded listening audience.

“Record companies have been pimping artists for decades. Finally, artists have the opportunity to have their music heard by a huge audience, and the record companies are getting uptight,” Ismail Alsheik (COL’01) said. “Napster is great for the artist, bad for big companies. That’s the real point.”

With quick, on-campus ethernet access, Napster has appealed to college students across the nation to help satisfy their music desires. Significant technological innovations now allow mp3s to go directly from the computer to a portable mp3 player or “burned” onto compact discs. As the compact disc burner replaces the Walkman as one of the most requested entertainment devices, record companies are wary of this new money-saving trend and the potential negative consequences.

Katie Shahrokhi (COL’03) received a CD burner as a gift less than a month ago. Much to her dismay, if record companies have their way, she will not need it for much longer.

“I hope to download many songs and get as much use as I can out of my CD burner before Napster shuts down,” Shahrokhi says.

Rumors have been surfacing that Napster may have tentative plans to become a legal, pay-for-play service. Since a court ruling in October which granted Napster the right to operate normally until further proceedings, media giant Bertelsmann made a $50 million investment in Napster to potentially make the company’s charge policy a reality.

Tala Nazareno (COL ’04) said she shares the same short-term solution as Shahrokhi.

“I plan on downloading as many songs as I can before they shut it down.” She added, “I definitely think paying the fee is worth it … I mean, how much could it possibly be, and there are so many songs out there.”

“It’s a travesty,” Caroline Kolb (COL ’04) said. “But I don’t mind paying the fee because it’s so invaluable to me.”

Students say they are not ready to give up quite so easily, however.

“With technology, the music industry needs to face that mp3s are the wave of the future,” Brian Conologue (COL ’04) said. “And there is always going to be a way around it.”

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