Copyright and the Internet

Should consumers download music and movies for free?


Millions of Internet users are downloading the latest CDs onto their personal computers -- and the recording industry is up in arms. But the legal battle over Napster is just one of many new copyright disputes spawned by the digital revolution. Movie studios are trying to limit the availability of a software program that allows movie fans to copy encrypted digital videodisks. The film industry is also suing a California company that provides a Web-based video playback service -- what the founder calls a “virtual VCR.” The recording and movie industries claim that the Internet-based services amount to “piracy.” But computer and consumer groups say copyright law needs to adapt to new technologies that make it easier and less expensive to disseminate creative works.

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