In 1999, an 18-year-old computer science student, Shawn Fanning, started an Internet website and file- sharing service that enabled users to download digital music files, or MP3s, from other users' computers across the Internet. Fanning's Napster included a centralized server that indexed files and created a searchable list of the music available across Napster's network. Through this software, users were able to find and download copyrighted digital song files for free. The plaintiff s, led by A&M Records, alleged copyright infringement by Napster, and filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the exchange of copyrighted music on Napster immediately. The judge agreed and granted a preliminary injunction that prohibited Napster from engaging in or facilitating others in copying, downloading, uploading, transmitting, or distributing plaintiffs' copyrighted musical compositions and sound recordings, protected by either federal or state law, without express permission of the rights owner. On appeal, the circuit court agreed and ordered a stay of the district court's injunction, pending resolution. What values do you think influenced the court's decision granting the injunction against sharing copyrighted material? Do you agree with the court's decision? If not, what values are guiding your decision?
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