Napster, the trailblazing file sharing service set up in 2000 by college student Shawn Fanning which ultimately changed the music industry forever and made Metallica cry, is set to be the subject of a new movie. Directed by Alex Winter, who is best known for his totally bodacious Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure movies, the film will be in a documentary style.
“The rise and fall of Napster and the birth of peer-to-peer file-sharing technology created by Shawn Fanning when he was a college student, changed music to movies, and made possible everything from Julian Assange, WikiLeaks to the iPod and Facebook,” Winter told Deadline.
“It became an expression of youth revolt, and contributed to a complete shift in how information, media and governments work. And it is a fascinating human story, where this 18-year-old kid invents a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, and brings it to the world six months later.”
While Fanning’s site was shut down by the music industry and he became a punching bag for their drastically changed business model and massive reduction in revenue, Winter says that Faning had always intended for Napster to be a site that charged people for music in a manner similar to iTunes.
He argues “Nobody wanted to deal with this college kid and the music industry took a hard stance and focused on shutting him down. It’s a gray area. I can understand Fanning’s side, but I can also empathize with the horror that Metallica’s Lars Ulrich felt when a single that wasn’t even finished ended up on the radio.”