Copyright and piracy wars: something for nothing

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"Home taping is killing music," the record labels chanted almost 30 years ago. The plea fell on deaf ears: the techniques for getting something for nothing have become ever more complex with the universality of the internet over the past 10 years.

Napster was a piece of software that allowed people around the world to swap songs with each other by clicking a button on their computer. The company was eventually sued in 2000, leading not only to Napster's closure but also heralding a sequence of court cases against the multitude of filesharing services that were springing up.

One of the most popular, Grokster, was closed in 2005 after a US supreme court ruling, while Australia forced another well-known service, Kazaa, to agree a settlement with the music industry worth more than $100m (about £67m).

Despite these cases, however, the proliferation of copyrighted material online has multiplied.

Downloading larger files like movies has become easier as broadband gets faster, and the complex system known as Bittorrent - which is used by The Pirate Bay - is now thought to be responsible for more than 40% of all internet traffic.

At the same time, sites like YouTube have come under fire for allowing people to put copyrighted material online. Media conglomerate Viacom is in the middle of a $1bn lawsuit against Google, which owns YouTube, claiming it does not do enough to prevent infringement.

chant - powtarzać chórem

herald - ogłaszać, zwiastować

infringement - naruszenie, złamanie

lawsuit - sprawa sądowa

proliferation - rozprzestrzenianie

spring up - pojawiać się niespodziwanie

swap - wymieniać, zamieniać

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