Sean Parker And Napster
Yes, he’s been played on screen before, in a little film you might have heard of called The Social Network. But those who know him have claimed that Sean Parker was a very different man to the personality embodied by Justin Timberlake.
The real-life Parker got into computers young after his father taught him how to program an Atari 800. That led to hacking, but he channelled his interests into more legal means. Well, mostly. He began setting up companies during his senior year, interned for Internet start-up Zynga and won the Virginia state computer science fair.
By the time he graduated, Parker was earning $80,000 a year from his various companies, and his parents agreed to let him skip college and become an entrepreneur. They may have regretted the decision after Parker co-founded Napster with Shawn Fanning, who he met over the Internet when he was 15 and Fanning was 14. The file-sharing service became the fastest-growing company of all time with just one teeny, tiny problem: it breached copyright all over the shop. Eventually, the Recording Industry Association of America (and metal growlers Metallica) sued to have it shut down.
Parker moved onto social networking tool Plaxo, but that ended with him forced out and private investigators hired by the other investors to follow him. He rebounded by becoming part of a little site he saw on a roommate’s girlfriend’s computer called Thefacebook, and the rest on that one is cinematic history. More recently, Parker re-entered the world of music sharing, taking trouble to find something legal and ended up investing in Spotify. He’s also been developing live video website Airtime with Fanning.
Parker, Fanning and Napster’s story is set to be told once more in Alex Winter’s documentary Downloaded, which premiered at last year’s SXSW festival and has a trailer available to watch.
We’d cast: Jesse Eisenberg, just to mess with everyone’s head.
Tone: Bit of a Wall Street clone, perhaps.