Monday, May 30, 2011

CNET fueled the "Internet Piracy Phenomenon" BEFORE Napster was Created

Please be Patient, and Check ALL these postings often. We are sorting out over 20,000 Screen captures representing thousands of research hours. The history of CNET/CBS Interactive promoting Piracy software is staggering. Over 1,000 different software offerings, Several hundred instances of mentioning copyright infringing uses, often with known copyrighted songs or famous band names. Although some of these pages are ten years old, you must remember that CNET has been distributing LimeWire software since at least February 2001.

We have substantial evidence going right up until the year 2011. Moreover, just since CBS bought CNET, they have distributed over 50,000,000 downloads of LimeWire alone! Keep in mind as you review this evidence, "What was CNET's Intent?"

To my reader,

The exchange of "Shared Music" through the internet did not start with the birth of the Napster File Sharing Program, it began quietly, years earlier.

Music files had been posted on online News Groups for download, bulletin boards, or FTP sites for years. Anyone over 30 remembers the days of IRC ( Internet Relay Chat), Hotline and USENET, all places where you knew could find songs ( Viruses too!). Of course CNET promoted and instructed those heavily in the 90's too before true P2P file sharing began.

However, up until CNET's offerings, only real internet "geeks" or "enthusiasts" knew the secrets of how to use these otherwise mystifying resources.

CNET QUOTE: Before Kazaa, Morpheus, and even Napster, Usenet newsgroups served as the file-sharing network of choice on the Internet. Even as people quizzically pecked their first HTTP into a Web browser, thousands of digital treasures could be found on newsgroups.

NewsGroup Help Guide to File Sharing

CNET Review of 5 FTP ( File Transfer Protocol) Clients 10/14/ 1999
CNET's FTP Clients were ALL expensive PAID Downloads!
CNET top ten FTP Sites
When Napster was first introduced to users by CNET, it was described in comparison to FTP file transfers of music! Almost all the later P2P software, Scour, Audiogalaxy, iMesh, LimeWire, Morpheus, Grokster, KaZaa and others were compared to Napster as a gauge of performance.

CNET NAPSTER QUOTE: Napster is a search engine that allows you to find and download MP3 audio files. It eliminates the problems of conventional FTP transfers by using cutting-edge technology to ensure the completion of each MP3 download".


Here is a later review of "File Sharing Software" on ZDnet ( division of CNET) describing specifically FTP and IRC being used to procure Copyrighted Songs before Napster.

Click on ANY IMAGE for a Full Screen View
Other Archived Pages from the "Internet Wayback Machine" used for the above ZDNET Feature Article promoting open Piracy with LIVE links to the software offerings described. Read these and ask yourself, "What was ZDnet's Intent?"

CNET began in 1993-94 with added in early 1996, and by 1998 CNET had grown into one of the world's most visited websites. It's difficult to imagine now, just how popular CNET was in the mid to late 1990's. They had live streaming video! They had live radio broadcasts! Big stuff in dial-up modem days! . . . . .And CNET had software downloads that were syndicated to some of the biggest web portals of the day.

CNET was reported by the Ziff Davis Free ECommerce Encyclopedia in 2000, to have had a monthly average traffic flow of 9.5 million unique viewers internationally just BEFORE the CNET/ZDNET merger. A lot of traffic in the pre-broadband internet dial-up stone age.

Click the Image below to see those details. ( Source; Ziff Davis 2000)

Now why is that Important? Because CNET was one of the PRIMARY distributors of the ICQ instant message/chat software. This ICQ "Instant Messaging" software spread like wildfire across the early internet. Not only could a user have various Live Chat and Message choices, but the system allowed one to one "FILE SHARING".

( Below, an actual "Internet Wayback Machine" link to original 1999 ICQ Page Demonstrating File Sharing)

Just this ONE version of ICQ had 77 Million Downloads from CNET's before the CNET/ZDNET Merger. CNET had an estimated 9.5 Million unique visitors worldwide per month at that time?

Ask yourself this question,"Was a substantial amount of CNET traffic simply people coming to download the ICQ Software?" CNET really owes it's early success and popularity to ICQ software more than anything else.
Click to Enlarge the Image Below!

The "File Sharing" in ICQ was originally intended to be used for pictures or greeting card type messages.

Some ICQ users noticed, ( As well as CNET Staff), that the new MP3 Music Format with small file sizes could be sent through the ICQ file sharing system just FINE on "Dial-Up" phones. Since those ICQ users were coming to CNET for Updates to the ICQ software, it was a new market for MP3 Listening Software, CD Ripping Software, etc.

Cnet went on to not only distribute at LEAST 200,000,000 downloads of ICQ, but also over 250,000,000 downloads of LimeWire, 325,000,000 downloads of KaZaa, over 130,000,000 downloads of iMesh and more than 100 others for a total exceeding 1.2 BILLION Downloads of Notorious Piracy Software.

Copyright Law issues surrounding the internet were already well known to the CNET Staff. Look at this "Copyright Quiz" from 1997 ( Courtesy of the "Internet Wayback Machine").

All these ICQ software downloaders were coming for ONE THING the ICQ software, and CNET needed a way to keep them on Site and to keep them coming back for more.

In 1998, CNET began to feature articles dedicated to the Wondrous MP3 Music Format and how to find these MP3's for free. how you can get in on the action! Now they could offer WinZip, CD ripping software, MP3 capable audio PC software, DRM removal software, MP3 Players and everything else needed to facilitate getting those files created, acquired, sent or finally enjoyed.

Look at this page of "Top Downloads of the Week" from CNET's Jan 16 1998. ( Courtesy of the "Internet WayBack Machine")

Now look at THIS page just a couple years later in 2002

CNET was the trusted resource to learn "How-To" do things on your "Mysterious Computer." ICQ brought the n00bs to CNET's, then these wide eyed kids were lured by the siren's song of free music just like flies to honey. CNET is where they learned what an MP3 was, and discovered the magical world of "File Sharing".

At the time, as I recall, approximately 22 percent of the Daily Web Traffic visited CNET.

Some people have remarked to me that there were other sources for the file sharing software besides CNET.

But you must remember that CNET's was the "Internet Software" "Walmart" of the Day. With all those ICQ download seekers bringing tens of millions of page views each month. I must mention that MOST ICQ users were young impressionable teens!

Every other internet software "download site" in the 1990's seemed scary. We have ALL seen those even today!

"Will I Get a Virus by downloading a program from "Krazy Kyle's EZ Download Shak"? "Will they steal my Credit Card Number"?

This slogan appeared on CNET's for YEARS;

CNET built up as a source of carefully checked software before it was offered to the public. Download offerings that were extolled by trusted "Editor's Reviews", guaranteed to be tested as free from viruses and dangerous trojans! CNET promoted's reputation of trust, and safety.

And after a user has downloaded the software, CNET offers free online guides and fresh faced, smiling CNET Editors in professionally produced, video software reviews and tutorials. CNET has numerous on-site software Q&A forums, often moderated by identified CNET staff, to answer any questions or concerns. CNET also thoughtfully offers Live call in Video and Radio shows to dispense knowledgable trusted guidance in all software matters and concerns.

CNET reported the news about File Sharing DAILY! CNET created reviews with real KNOWN Copyrighted Materials. Cnet offered trusted advice about which "File-Sharing" software to switch to next, as the RIAA was suing companies like Napster, Scour, iMesh, Audiogalaxy, out of the Piracy business.

Cnet choose to offer and distribute P2P software to bring incredible web traffic and profits! After the "Dot Com" bubble burst, CNET hemorrhaged money. The viewers brought to CNET by the P2P software was the traffic that likely saved CNET from "Cratering" like so many "Dot Com" tragedies; "",", etc.

Read THIS report from early 2002, CNET was laying off at least 10 percent of it's workforce and had crippling losses of 10's of millions of dollars.

Now look at this next CNET page from the same time period as the previous "Doom and Gloom" article. Remember that one I showed you earlier?

You'll see 5 million downloads in ONE WEEK, just from downloads of 5 File Sharing offerings; Kazaa, Morpheus, iMesh, BearShare and Xolox ALONE!

( Don't forget, in the "Free eCommerce Encyclopedia" excerpt shown earlier, that Ziff Davis reported that CNET had an average of 9.5 million UNIQUE visitors a Month, just 16 months before the week reported in this Audio Downloads page).

Cnet quickly created "Music Center" pages, a new section to feature "Music & Audio" Software and "Personal Audio , mostly MP3 gear review section"

The most popular file sharing applications, LimeWire, Kazaa, etc were shuffled from "Internet Search Utilities" to the category "MP3 Search tools" were the genre remained at least until late 2008.

Now that you have an idea about the history of File Sharing as it relates to CNET, please read the CNET MP3 FEATURE Article below!

As you view each new piece of evidence, ask yourself, "What was the Intent of this CNET review or article?" CNET is a Multi-Billion Dollar Corporation, not "Idealistic Teens" or "Radical College Students".

Billion Dollar Corporations like CNET don't champion the rights of users to "File Share" unless a big bag of money is attached.

It started EARLY, even before THIS November 1997 feature promoting MP3's with specific talk of using this format for music piracy. (First Link "Power Downloader's Archives" to show the true article date)

Next Link is Actual Page below that was crawled by the "Internet Wayback Machine" in 1998 even though the article had been posted in November 1997.
Notice Power "Recommends" two "Legal Sites";
QUOTE: "But here's the "BUT...": it also means that unsavory characters can lift copyrighted songs from a CD, encode them in MP3 format, and then send them on their illegal way through the Net. This, faithful flock, is very naughty. If you're going to seek out MP3 files, avoid the sketchy sites and download files only from archives that came by them legally. Try starting with the Freebop live-jazz workshop and MP3 Central, two legal download sites."

Alas, the "Internet Wayback Machine" never crawled the First Link to the "Freebop Live Jazz Workshop" HOWEVER, the link to MP3 Central WAS Archived! Look what you find there! ( Remember, this is 1997, two years BEFORE Napster!)
Whoa, guess "Power Downloader" was under the influence of some "Kryptonite". But "Power Downloader overlooked some "Other" Pages too!
( Link Above) Start at the page BOTTOM! Look at "Wanted" and "Personal Collection" Start clicking links! Lots Still work just fine to the original crawled pages at the time. The "Internet Wayback Machine Archive" is AMAZING! as CNET has said MANY TIMES regarding file sharing "Sharing is Caring"!


The next CNET article, just below, was published in March 1999, months before Napster's birth! This will show you how CNET was promoting Piracy before anyone ever knew it existed. What is CNET really saying in those first few lines?

"CNET's MP3 Essentials"

By CNET staff

"If you love music and you're not hip to the MP3 beat, you're missing out. The next audio revolution is right outside your front door, or rather, right in front of your face.
The Net is the ultimate music resource--thanks to the burgeoning technology MP3. Short for MPEG 1, Audio Layer 3, MP3 is a digital audio format for quick-downloading files that sound almost as good as CDs. With an MP3 player, you can listen to free or very cheap music that you download from the Web. With a ripper and an encoder, you can create your own MP3 files from CDs that you own. Then you can transfer the MP3 files into a portable player and take the music with you anywhere you go."


REMEMBER: CNET is a Billion Dollar Corporation! CNET is not that "Cool Guy" that tells you it's okay to download music. This is a Billion Dollar Corporation engaged in a big money making venture. Think about that, and look at the NEXT part of this article published months before anyone knew what Napster or MP3's were.

CNET QUOTE: "But before you tune in to MP3, you'll need some software. We rounded up a virtual Circuit City's worth of MP3 downloads: players that let you listen to MP3s, search tools that help you find the MP3 files you want, rippers and encoders that let you make MP3 files from your own music collection, and, finally, all-in-one suites that let you do all of the above. Plus, we've even got MP3 downloads just for Mac users."

"If you want your MP3 now, read on."

MP3 Search Tools

CNET QUOTE: "Search tools take much of the drudgery out of hunting down MP3s."

The Net is brimming with MP3 audio files, but finding them can be a chore. Though the number of Web-based MP3 search engines is growing, real MP3 diggers need something stronger--software that scours the Net for music files.

Here are the MP3 "Search Tool" Recommendations of the CNET Staff, Four Months before Napster was Born;

MP3 Fiend "MP3 Search Tool"

(Patrick Sarnowski)
MP3 Fiend's reliability, performance, and simplicity make it our top pick in the search arena. Using simple keyword searches, MP3 Fiend queries 11 major MP3 search engines and returns a comprehensive list of results. It will even verify your search results to weed out dead links and work with automatic download managers such as GetRight or GoZilla to fetch the files. Plus, it's stable, easy to configure, and best of all, free.


( Downloaded at LEAST 367,000 times, that's just up until December 12, 2001 from CNET's
Linked to the TroubleShooting Guide RIGHT on

Another CNET Recommendation 4 Months before Napster was Released;

Mp3Leech 98 "MP3 Search Tool"

(Entropy Software)
With Mp3Leech at your side, you can simply type in the name of an artist, band, or song name, and the program will zap back a list of available MP3 files that meet your criteria. You can then retrieve files right away or schedule downloads for a later time.

( Downloaded at LEAST 135,623 times, that's just up August 28 2002 from CNET's
The Next CNET Recommended MP3 "Procuring" device;

Abe's MP3 Finder "MP3 Search Tool"

(Abe's Software)
In addition to MP3 searching capabilities, this program features support for GetRight to resume interrupted HTTP downloads, and HTTP link checking to verify the status of search results. One minor caveat: in order to download MP3s from FTP sites, you'll need to have CuteFTP installed on your system.


(Downloaded at LEAST 1,040,335 times, that's just up until Nov 17, 2001, from CNET's
The Next proud CNET MP3 Gathering recommendation MONTHS before Napster Premiered;

Planet.MP3Find (Planet Group)
Via a Windows Explorer-like interface, this program shows you what's available at a particular FTP site before initiating a connection to the site.

( Downloaded at LEAST 161,600 times, that's just up until June 17 2001 from CNET's
MP3 Wolf "MP3 Search Tool "
(Trellian Software)
In addition to MP3s, this 'bot can also find MIDI and WAV files, as well as related FTP sites and resource links. It can even learn and map out the network, and thereby become better at locating files with each use. Search results appear in your Web browser.

(Downloaded at LEAST 25,200 times, that's just up until Oct 6 2000 from CNET's
Who Knew that CNET openly promoted the downloading of free MP3 songs on the internet LONG before Napster Appeared?

MP3 Voyeur 1.2 "MP3 Search Tool"

(Jawed Karim)
Unlike other MP3 search tools that scour the Net for MP3s, MP3 Voyeur scans local area networks (LANs). While this difference no doubt limits search range, it also gives MP3 Voyeur a distinct advantage: it never comes up with a dead link. Every MP3 file it finds is actually sitting on another computer somewhere on the network, and you can either play a file directly from the host computer or open the file's source folder and copy it to your own computer.

(Downloaded at LEAST 185,892 Times, that's just up until June 8 2004 from CNET's
This blog will have several HUNDRED examples like this, but most are far worst. I'll present this evidence to you, so you may to decide what the intent of CNET was.

CNET was the conduit for well over a billion software downloads, 325 Million of Kazaa, 220 Million of LimeWire, 125 Million of Morpheus, not to mention hundreds of millions of downloads promoted openly for pirated copyrighted music. CNET promoted all of the original notorious piracy versions of Napster, Scour, Bearshare, iMesh, Grokster and over 200 others. CNET fueled and ignited the "Internet Piracy Phenomenon."

The CNET division of CBS Interactive, distributed the notorious LimeWire right up to the very day the Federal Judge ordered LimeWire closed, then CNET / CBS Interactive kept distributing LimeWire Clones like FrostWire and LuckyWire to keeping the LimeWire system alive. Right up until 2011.

Published Tests on CNET persist to this day using REAL KNOWN COPYRIGHTED Artists as test subjects to judge the effectiveness of LimeWire against other P2P software.

Here's JUST ONE!

CNET's was the "Cradle of Internet Music Piracy". The P2P Software tools were doled out like Halloween Candy, with endless advice and actual published reviews by CNET Staff Members downloading copyrighted songs, such as Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" as test subjects.

A veritable "Internet Piracy Bootcamp" for minor children as young as thirteen years old!
(CNET's minimum age to join and download.) Minor children lured into piracy by the persuasive writings of CNET Staff members. "Real Screen Shots" posted on CNET as examples of the downloadable software in use, clearly showing copyrighted material.

ZDNET actually posted their "Music Section" on their Video Game Website "" ( Look at the URL in the next image, (Click to Enlarge to full screen view, totally worth it dude. )

Online music downloading is as old as the Internet, but it was CNET that opportunistically gave P2P activity a corporate veneer of respectability. Piracy was packaged and presented as a tasty confection to the gullible daily masses of everyday families and kids. Dubious software shilled to every country in the world with more than just a "Nudge, Nudge"; Wink, Wink". . . . . . . .
(Refer to this LIVE review on CNET/CBS Interactive today: )
Shenanigans earning untold Millions of Dollars, that continued onward unabated underneath the shadows cast by the "Trusted" banner of CNET/ CBS Interactive.

Remarkably, CNET actually recommended some of these as alternate search sources to Kazaa and Morpheus ( Using Downloadable Software of Course)

Another CNET Editor speaks about Napster compared to the "Sharing" capabilities of ICQ years before.( ICQ was a Chat, Messaging and File Sharing System). Note: CNET Distributed over 50,000,000, yes FIFTY MILLION, downloads of ICQ before Napster, Kazaa or LimeWire ever existed. Over 200 million total.

ICQ FileSharing info Page from 1999 ( All Internet Wayback Machine Links)

CNET Help Center

FTP How-Tos and Tips

Use FTP to find mp3 files

ICQ Help Center

IRC Help Center

MP3 "Help" Center"

MP3 Beginners Center

CNET Message Boards
Music Forum



  1. Shared your blog on my new blog. I hope you'll keep updating this blog, we need to keep the fight alive.

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  2. I am just blown away by all this. I have posted your video on my Facebook page and sent a link to your material not only to my Member of Parliament but also to the Prime minister of Canada. We must make sure we are protected from companies like CNET and thanks to your hard work we have a fighting chance. You are not one candle in the dark any more. You have have started a blazing fire that will ignite the entire internet. Great work man. thanx ^_^

  3. As a label owner and copyright holder, I am seriously opposed to the crooks who download music for free then profit from making and selling CDs. However, I am pro file-sharing, as it is a major promotional tool for unknown and emerging artists.

    Whilst these large corporations obviously made millions of dollars from their evident promotion of file-sharing software, one can't deny that bringing their copyrighted music into the equation, was undoubtedly a very successful promotional tool for their emerging artists and could quite easily have led to expanding the profits of their music businesses. The fact that they are now seeking to make even more money from suing ordinary people for doing what they encouraged people to do in the first place, denies belief!

    I will be sharing this on my blog too. I wish you every success in your campaign to keep the Internet free.

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