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The Future of Free Music? - OpenNap
Posted by netwebly 11.15.2000

A lot of people think it's all over for Napster users if the courts order the Redwood City co
mpany to shut down its servers.
Its a logical enough assumption. And in the days before the freewheeling file sharing movement picked up momentum it probably would have been true.

As it happens, the precious information which allows the Napster network to communicate has already been duplicated many times over. Among other places, it is stored on a series of autonomous servers loosely grouped together in an impromptu network called OpenNap.

Similar but *different*
Connect to OpenNap and you'll find the same things you'll find on Napster: MP3 files trading hands at a dizzying pace, a ton of anti-RIAA rhetoric. You'll also find files other than MP3s changing hands. Including video, bootleg software and a fairly wide assortment of other stuff you might be interested in.

It's worth noting however, that downloading file types other than MP3 can expose you to viruses. In fact, a fair number of such incidents have been reported. If you plan to be active on OpenNap, grab some up-to date virus protection software first and make sure your virus definition files are current.

Scenario Minus One
If the day ever comes when Napster goes silent, it won't be long before people realize that it really doesn't matter. Using a client like napigator they'll still be able to connect to what - in essence - will still be the same network. And once they're logged in they'll still be able to do the same things.

Napster without the Napster
The difference, of course, will be that they won't be doing these things using the generally well maintained and reliable network run by Napster. This will probably mean more problems finding and transferring files, including dropped connections, crashes, ineffective searches and a host of other difficulties including blackouts.

Relations with Napster
So far Napster has taken no against OpenNap. However, that may change as the company moves towards creating a legal service. Exactly what will happen if they do remains to be seen.

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