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Music lessons for the real estate industry

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Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that highlights pressing data issues for the real estate industry. This article details some challenges and successes relating to digital music, and draws parallels between the music and real estate industries. Napster was the turning point. The online peer-to-peer file-sharing service was founded in June 1999, and the music industry was forever changed. The service allowed anyone to share what turned out to be millions, if not billions, of digital music files for free. Almost immediately, the Recording Industry Association of America filed a lawsuit against the company for copyright infringement. As a result, Napster shut down the service in its original form two years after its founding. But there was no turning back the clock. "Napster set off a (chain) of events that has led to where things are today," said Mike Masnick, founder of the Techdirt blog, which focuses on how government policy, technology and le...