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Napster was a revolutionary peer-to-peer file-sharing service developed in 1999 by Shawn Fanning, John Fanning and Sean Parker. It quickly gained immense popularity during the early 2000s allowing users to exchange music files without cost.
At its height, Napster had millions of users sharing and downloading music files; however, legal challenges from the music industry came via copyright infringement claims made against them by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). They filed suit in 2000, alleging that Napster enabled mass copyright infringement.
Napster eventually closed in 2001, yet its impact on music distribution and internet technology was profound. It helped open the way for other peer-to-peer file-sharing services and disrupted traditional models of music distribution.
After Napster was shut down, its brand was acquired by various companies and transformed into a legal music streaming service in 2003. Today, it operates as a subscription-based music streaming platform offering millions of songs in multiple countries, although its original form no longer exists. But its legacy as a pioneering file-sharing and music distribution application lives on.
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