Chapter 29

Cyberspace: Napster and the Code of the Wild West Revisited


For a time during the past few years, it seemed as though technology was changing so fast that it was hard to imagine a set of rules that could bind the marketplace. Indeed, the Internet, discovered as a friendly environment by scientists and hackers, was transformed into the newest mass media. Tens of millions of people learned the ease of turning on and tuning in to the information explosion at their desktops. Even some politicians have been known to sing its praises. To comprehend where we are, we need to understand where we have come from. To do that, we scroll back a few years.

The Promise of the Internet

The promise of the Internet—the code word for interconnected ...

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