What Happened to SaveNapster.com?

It appears that SaveNapster.com – a champion for college students using Napster until Chad Paulson of Students Against University Censorship (and motivating force behind the movement) did a 180 on Napster – is now password protected.

Um, Chad? What’s going on here? I thought this site was for people interested in protesting against universities that have blocked access to Napster? Of course, the Web site was hacked a while back. That’s the kind of stuff that happens when people think you’re a turncoat.

I wrote Chad after he published his Open Letter on the site. In that letter, Paulson expressed his misgivings – even trepidation – over Napster and the act of file-sharing. Prior to the Open Letter, he was behind Napster.

Something went wrong.

Paulson is, after all, a college student. Is it possible that he took heat for his involvement in Students Against University Censorship? Maybe somebody high up in the college warned him about speaking out in favor of Napster. Maybe a phone call was placed from the depths of the RIAA to the college. Gag Chad Paulson and Students Against University Censorship. Maybe.

But then maybe not.

One thing is for sure: SaveNapster.com is password protected. I don’t know if Chad Paulson had anything to do with this or if the hosting service did it to prevent another hack on the site. One thing is for sure – not many college students will be able to visit the site. What good is a protest site locked behind a firewall?

Uh duh.

Paulson did not respond to my message. No doubt he received many such messages voicing disappointment over his change of heart. Maybe he was overwhelmed, maybe he has homework to do. Or maybe somebody threatened him with expulsion for his attempt at free speech.

In his Open Letter, Chad Paulson challenged Napster to come out against copyright infringement. Good enough. But I challenge Chad Paulson to come out in favor of music file-sharing and fair use and not lend himself to RIAA scare tactics. Napster’s so-called business model may be absurd – and its responses to claims that the company facilitates so-called piracy insufficient, if not lame – but one thing is for certain: the Napster file-sharing model, now emulated by other software programs, is the wave of the future. Napster may go down in flames, but Gnutella and other programs will rush in to fill the void.

Chad Paulson and the apologists will have no choice but to deal with it.

-Kurt Nimmo

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