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The End of Yet Another Free Lunch 13 February 2001 Edition
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For those wanting to freely trade copyrighted music on the Net, Napster is about to become Nixter.

In a long-awaited ruling handed down by a federal appeals court, it has been decided that the world's most popular file-swapping network may continue to operate but that it may no longer allow material to be traded where the copyright owner objects.

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Of course the recording industry is delighted with the ruling but it really places the operators of Napster in the hot-seat. They're now effectively exposed to prosecution should the free-trade in pirated music files continue -- and the lawsuits are apparently being prepared as I type this.

Quite honestly, I'm surprised that it's taken this long for the rights of the copyright holders to be upheld. Why was Napster effectively given an exemption to undermine the rights of recording artists and music publishers at all?

Yes, the door to another free lunch has just slammed shut -- although, as we all know, Napster is just one of many such services or places to steal copyrighted materials on the Net.

The recording industry may think they've won a victory but it just shows how little they know about the technology and culture of the Internet.

Walk Like An Egyptian
Never was there a medium more suited to those evil pyramid (ponzi) schemes than the Internet.

Shortly after the first email was sent over the Net, chain letters made their arrival -- most relying on a pyramid structure to enrich a few at the cost of many. The mythical name "Dave Rhodes" may ring a bell with long-time Net users who first recall his infamous pyramid chain-email from at least five years ago.

I still can't believe how blatant some people are about promoting such schemes though -- seemingly unphased by the fact that they are illegal in most developed countries.

Take this site for example.

As far as I can see -- this appears to be pure pyramid.

You are offered money and/or travel miles in return for doing nothing other than recruiting new members (who pay $200 each) to the scheme. Other tell-tale signs are claims such as this:

"Due to the immense popularity of The Payline we have to take measures to ensure the perpetual growth and never ending success of our members."

Yes, "perpetual growth" -- that's exactly where pyramid schemes fail -- they rely on an increasingly large pool of idiots to join in order to fund payouts to the few at the top.

What is the product or service being offered here -- I see none!

At least one Aardvark reader has asked if this site is a good idea or a scam.

Well -- in my considered opinion -- avoid, avoid, avoid! Not only might you lose a lot of money and risk many friendships -- chances are you'd also be breaking the law.

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Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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