Eight years have passed since Napster shut down. Ironically, the RIAA and the music industry are still fighting a futile war against music piracy. While piracy cannot be condoned in any way, you cannot help but wonder if there is any victory in sight in this never-ending war. In the eight years since RIAA won the case against Napster, its successors have spawned with newer technologies. P2P sharing applications are the virtual versions of weeds in your garden, you can get rid of it in one place but it will spring up somewhere else and soon.
So what is the solution to all this? Should the RIAA and the music industry just lie down and let piracy walk all over them? Well, not quite. Let us go back in time and look at what went wrong. In 2001, Napster was the king of the P2P sharing network. Granted, what they were doing was wrong, but why should we look at only the negative? The positive development was that people got used to downloading music from the internet and that too on a regular basis. This was at a time when Apple was spending millions trying to popularize its own iTunes application.
Fast forward eight years and iTunes is a music distribution monster while Napster is dead. Now if the music industry had some vision back in the day they won the lawsuit they would have realized what they could do with Napster especially since they had it at their mercy. Distributing music at a low cost through a vastly popular existing network would have made millions for the industry. Unfortunately, the RIAA and the music industry went down a different path. The sad lesson that they continue to learn is that fighting the online community is like fighting water, you can never get a grip on it. The best thing to do is to go with the flow while trying to direct it towards where you want it to go.