"Justin Frankel, a 21-year-old programming wizard who sold
his digital music company, but perhaps not his soul, to America
Online last year, did not endear himself to his new masters last
week by publishing free software that enables users to find and
trade music files quickly over the Internet."
"The software designed by Frankel and his team at AOL's Nullsoft
unit is a variation of a popular program called Napster. College
students and others have been using Napster in a frenzied exchange
of music, pirated and not. The Recording Industry Association of
America is suing Napster Inc. for copyright infringement."
"AOL executives directed that Nullsoft's program, called
Gnutella, be removed a few hours after it was made available on the
Internet last Tuesday. The shutdown may have been done for a simple
reason, like preventing a traffic jam as thousands of Internet
users rushed to get what was billed as a test version of the
software. But in the absence of an explanation from AOL, the
ensuing silence hinted at a more complicated situation. The site,
gnutella.com, was reduced to an inscrutable one-liner: "temporarily
down. come back later." An executive said Sunday, however, that the
program would not return."
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