If you spend much time online, then you have most likely heard of Napster. What began in 1999 as an idea in the head of a teenager proceeded to redefine the Internet, the music industry and the way we all think about intellectual property. Napster is now back in business as a legal, pay-per-song music-download site; but it once was a controversial service that spurred what is still one of the greatest Internet-related debates: Just because we can get the music we want without paying for it, should we?

In this article, you will learn what the original Napster was, what it did and how it worked. You will also learn why there is so much concern, particularly in the music industry, about the issues of copyright and intellectual property.