BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : AUGUST 14, 2000 ISSUE
COVER STORY

Napster's High and Low Notes


The brainstorm of a 17-year-old college freshman became the hottest phenomenon on the Net in less than a year. Now under legal assault, its very existence is in doubt. Whatever happens, Napster has changed the music biz forever.

JANUARY, 1999
Shawn Fanning drops out of Northeastern University after the first semester of his freshman year to finish writing the software for Napster.

JUNE 1, 1999
Napster begins operations, letting people download free software that enables them to swap music stored on each other's computers.

AUGUST, 1999
Napster closes its first round of seed funding from John Fanning, Shawn's uncle, and other investors, enough to keep the company going for six more months.

SEPTEMBER, 1999
Eileen Richardson, a largely unknown venture capitalist from Boston, is hired to be Napster's CEO.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER, 1999
Napster and the major record companies hold talks about cooperating to distribute music over the Net. But Richardson's abrasive style hurts chances for a compromise with the record industry.

DEC. 7, 1999
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sues for copyright infringement, asking for damages of $100,000 each time a song is copied.

FEBRUARY/MARCH, 2000
Scores of universities ban Napster because heavy student use is overwhelming their computer systems. Students circulate online petitions, urging administrators to lift their Napster bans.

APR. 13, 2000
Rock band Metallica sues Napster for copyright infringement and three schools--Yale University, University of Southern California, and Indiana University.

MAY 9, 2000
To demonstrate its concern about copyright infringement, Napster boots more than 300,000 members from its service for downloading Metallica songs.

MAY 21, 2000
Venture-capital firm Hummer Winblad invests $15 million. Hank Barry, a Hummer partner, becomes Napster's CEO. Richardson leaves shortly thereafter.

JUNE 13, 2000
The RIAA files a motion for a preliminary injunction to block all major-label content from being traded through Napster.

JUNE 15, 2000
Napster hires David Boies, the lawyer who triumphed over Microsoft in the Justice Dept.'s antitrust case.

JUNE 19, 2000
Napster hires former A&M Records exec Milton Olin to be chief operating officer.

JULY 24, 2000
Napster announces plans to work with digital-rights technology company Liquid Audio to try to make its music downloads safe for copyright holders.

JULY 26, 2000
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel rules in favor of the record industry and orders Napster to stop allowing copyrighted material to be swapped over its network by midnight two days later.

JULY 28, 2000
Nine hours before Napster would have had to shut down, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the company should be allowed to continue operating.



_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BACK TO TOP


RELATED ITEMS
Inside Napster

COVER IMAGE: Inside Napster

TABLE: Napster's High and Low Notes

TABLE: The Case for Napster

TABLE: The Case Against Napster

At Atlantic, ``My Beef Is Not Getting Paid''

Commentary: With Technology Like This, Who Needs Napster?

TABLE: The Beat Goes On



INTERACT
E-Mail to Business Week Online

 
Copyright 2000-2009, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use   Privacy Notice