The Rise and Fall of Napster - An Evolutionary Approach

  • Bengt Carlsson
  • Rune Gustavsson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2252)


The paper addresses dynamics in information ecosystems due to competition between selfish agents to get control of protectable resources. In our case study we investigate the first arms race on Internet triggered by the Napster introduction of an easy to use service for sharing files with music content among users. We set up a model for investigation of possible scenarios emerging from the Napster and Gnutella peer-to-peer tools for information sharing. We also introduce a formal model for analyzing the Napster scenario in the cases of selfish or altruistic users. The prediction provided by our model is in line with what really happened in the Napster case. The model also shows that the outcome was indeed unavoidable if we have selfish users.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bengt Carlsson
    • 1
  • Rune Gustavsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Blekinge Institute of TechnologyRonnebySweden

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