Damn kids! Who in the hell taught them to be so rebellious in the first place? Certainly not heavy metal acts encouraging them to record concerts and then bootleg them for profits, I'm absolutely sure of that!

Here's a poser: I bought a cassette copy of, oh, let's say "Kilroy Was Here" by Styx back in 1984. I've long since lost or broken the cassette, but because I'm an incorrigible packrat I just happen to still have the receipt for the purchase.

Am I violating copyright law if I download a copy of the album from Napster?

Of course, I might have forged the above mentioned receipt. Let's presume that the mom'n'pop record store in New Mexico where I purchased the cassette burned down, losing all their records in the process. Is it really going to be worth the expense to conduct tests to verify the age of the paper and the composition of the ink used to see if the receipt is really sixteen years old over something that costs no more than 20 bucks today, even when applied on a macroscopic scale? I would hope not.

This, to me, is why making services like Napster completely illegal is going to be difficult, at best.

There's got to be a better way to constrain the flow of information so that everyone is treated fairly. Completely squelching services like mp3.com and Napster isn't the way to do it.

Update 07-07-01 ... Napster, for all intents and purposes, is done. The service has been dark for the last two days, with no explanation. Various court rulings against Napster had caused them to severely limit what could be downloaded, and what free mp3's were left are now no longer available.

Watch out BearShare. You're next.