Napster did not "change the net as we know it."
Yes, it did. It was one of the first applications that made massive use of user's individual bandwidth to form a peer2peer information exchange network, and such technology will be likely used on all kinds of devices in the future. With increasing bandwidth for home users, more and more traffic is going to be user to user.
but Napster is a soon-to-be-dead corporation
Napster as a corporation may die, but with OpenNap and dozens of networks, Napster as a network is likely to grow and thrive.
whose contribution to society was to briefly offer a way for bored students to avoid paying for their entertainment.
It is a way to listen to music without paying for it, nobody denies that. In its existing form it is certainly less than perfect, because there are no built-in ways to support artists, big or small one. Still, it will mark the beginning of important cultural and economic changes. I am pretty sure that Napster will find its way into history books.
They're about to find out that those students would just go out and buy the damned songs if they had money and/or were willing to spend it, and therefore they are about to go out of business.
Certainly many of Napster's users don't have the money to buy a lot of music, certainly many others do, certainly some of them will be willing to pay for a subscription-based service. Lots of Napster users clearly use Napster as a tool to find music that they want to buy, as studies have shown.
Freenet won't "change the net as we know it" either. First off, the technology Freenet uses, while it contains interesting elements, simply will not scale.
Simulations have been conducted to guarantee maximum scalability. The heterogenity of current networks is a problem, which may lead to an exclusion of very-low-bandwidth-users from server operation. Other than that, a limited TTL, the general lack of broadcasting in the protocol and the lexicographic optimization algorithm should guarantee nice scalability.
The id tags have no regular format - that's fine for a few computer oriented people who can impose discipline on themselves, but a global unordered flat namespace simply isn't going to work for most people.
Keynaming conventions exist and are being improved, they will be part of future GUI-clients without a requirement for user input.
Secondly, even if it was a sound technology, there would be nothing to stop companies from suing anyone and everyone who participates on the grounds that he is knowingly engaged in the transmission of illegal materials.
Maybe, but first, a lawsuit against thousands of individuals is unlikely, second, "knowingly engaged" is wrong because a Freenet node owner has no way of knowing what is stored on his node, third, actually finding a lot of nodes is not that easy since the network topology cannot easily be discovered.
There is no plausible deniability, regardless of any encryption, because the whole point of joining Freenet is to swap things you otherwise could not - things that are illegal to swap.
That is simply one of your many false assertions. There are many reasons to use Freenet, for example, its increased efficiency for highly popular material -- no Slashdot effect, ever. Its anonymity can be good for posting controversial material whose legality is not clearly defined, or that would be otherwise dangerous to the author if published non-anonymously. It can be used as an archiving site for important material that isn't mirrored already. etc. etc.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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