File-sharing has existed for a number of years; it precedes e-mail. FTP (file-transfer protocol) was the first method to transfer files over the internet, and it remains the primary method which virtually all files are transferred with over the internet. The technology was developed in the late 1970's, simultaneously with TCP/IP (transmission-control protocol/internet protocol), which FTP is built upon. One may only speculate the thoughts of the scientists who pioneered these technologies; though it is safe to assume that the impact their efforts would have on the record business (and multimedia on the whole) were not at the forefront of their imagination. Indeed, the file-transfer protocol set the stage for the Pandora Box that is internet file-sharing known today: As stated before, file-sharing networks such as Napster depend on the file-transfer protocol to operate.
In 1999, Shawn Fanning created a software program called ‘Napster'. It was the first peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program of its kind, and it spawned an army of copy-cat programs that followed in its footsteps. Fanning, a student at Northeastern University , created the program because he needed a way of organizing the new MP3 file-format songs online, and in a fashion that allowed them to be searched and downloaded easily. Since its creation, Napster has become one of the most well-known and publicized programs of all time.
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