I'm a high-school freshman, and as my mother returned from the mailbox with the June 5 NEWSWEEK, I noticed an odd look on her face as she read out loud, "The War Over Napster" (Science & Technology). At that very moment, I was downloading music onto my computer from Napster, but convinced her we would not be receiving lawsuit papers from Metallica any time soon. I was a little disappointed that you used a quote branding Napster users "pirateers." I prefer to look at us as the next generation of "discount shoppers."
The fact that you found only the negative side of Napster (people downloading every song on an album so they don't have to buy it) is kind of shocking. I am a college student. I use Napster. This year, however, I have bought more CDs than I ever have before, and it's due to the fact that I am exposed to more music. I have bought CDs from bands most people have never heard of. And if not for Napster and MP3.com [another music-sharing site], I would never have heard of them. Both big and small bands have benefited from Napster.
Thanks for a mostly informative article about one of my current Internet obsessions, the music-sharing Napster. You forgot one important point: it's not illegal or morally wrong to share things, including music. I make compilation tapes and CDs and distribute them to dozens of friends. A lot of the time, my friends like the songs on my comps enough to search out and buy the CDs for themselves. Piracy involves financial gain; sharing is something friends and acquaintances do to be kind. Don't you ever watch "Sesame Street"?
The decline of cd sales in stores near college campuses--"Napster country"--cannot be attributed to the Napster phenomenon. Using your logic, it is safe to assume that because such campuses are hotbeds of e-commerce, certainly a large portion of such college-town sales slumps can be attributed to increased purchasing from the online CD megastores. Why would the obviously Net-savvy collegiate folk pay exorbitant and perhaps reactionary prices at a local mom-and-pop store when their favorite artists are available at deep discounts online?
Piracy. what a fancy way to put it. Some teenagers may not fully understand what that word really means. So, why not call it stealing or Information Superhighway robbery? In fact, it's like robbing a grocery store at gunpoint, only in the case of Napster, you use a computer instead.
San Francisco, Calif.
Anna Quindlen for president! her article on motherhood ( "A New Roof on an Old House," The Last Word, June 5) is the single best piece of writing on the subject I've ever read. I'm not a mother, but I do have one. I tell her frequently what a mind-bogglingly great mom she is, and she always looks at me, baffled, and says, "But why?" Now I can point to Quindlen's column and say, "That's why. You're exactly like this."
Ridgefield Park, N.J.
Do you think the term "bobo" will catch on ("From High Art to the Art of the Deal," Society, June 5)? I admit it's much easier than what we're currently using, which is "Nice Down-to-Earth Midwesterners With Plenty of Money" if you like the people, or "Aging Yuppies" if you don't.
Your article "The Good, the Bad, the Boring" (Society, June 5) criticizes Sydney for not building Olympic athletic facilities right next to its landmarks. Rather than turning the city into a congested mess, Sydney decided to create an "Olympic extension" a short distance from its heart. For the efficiency and practicality of its progressive design, which will preserve the city's incredible character for post-Olympic visitors, Sydney deserves the highest honors.