This Day in History
December 7, 1999
The Recording Industry Association of America Sues Napster
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) files a lawsuit against Napster, alleging that the music file sharing service is enabling the theft of multi-million dollar profits from the record labels. Shawn Fanning, the face of Napster, had co-founded the peer-to-peer file sharing service only several months before with Sean Parker and John Fanning. The court case directed significant attention to the company, and millions of users increasingly shared and transferred copyrighted MP3 music files, fueling the ire of the music industry. Although very popular, Napster went bankrupt, and the RIAA and Big Music focused their attention on Bertelsmann, the German media group that had purchased Napster’s assets after it had filed for bankruptcy. Bertelsmann settled with the plaintiffs for several multi-million dollar payments.