MP3 is an audio compression technology that enables consumers to record music at CD quality levels using their PC and reduce it to about one tenth of the size normally associated with such files. They can then either store the tracks on their machine's hard disk to listen to at a later date or send them to friends over the internet with no degradation in quality.
But critics have argued that enabling users to record music in this way encourages piracy and is harming not only the music industry, but also the musicians themselves.
Advocates, on the other hand, say that the technology itself does not promote copyright infringement, which has already been going on for years anyway. They also claim that MP3 websites such as Napster make it easier for unknown musicians to gain exposure as anyone logging onto the site can listen to their material.
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