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John Fanning (born December 21, 1963) is an Internet and technology investor and entrepreneur who was a co-founder in 1999 of Napster, an Internet file-sharing service focused on music files that was invented by his nephew Shawn Fanning, along with Sean Parker and Jordan Ritter. John Fanning served as the chairman of its board and very briefly as the company's chief executive, before it relocated from Massachusetts to San Mateo, California. He owned 70% of the company and represented the founders on the board of directors. His role in the company (and particularly the scale of his stake in it) has been criticized in the press and in a book about Napster written by author and journalist Joseph Menn.
With Brian Moore and Tony Acero, Fanning built the first Internet chess server in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That project led to the development of Chess.net, an internet chess service rebuilt from scratch, launched in 1993. Currently, Chess.net owned by NetGames, is part of the portfolio of NetCapital, a small private equity firm. Fanning is the Chairman of NetCapital.
- Menn, Joseph. "Napster was ill-managed as much as it was illicit". Reuters.
- Joseph Menn (May 28, 2003). "Napster's Rise & Fall, and its future". Forbes.
- Richard Nieva (September 5, 2013). "Napster: Oral History". CNN Fortune.
- Joseph Menn (April 20, 2003). "The Man Who Hijacked Napster". Boston Globe Magazine.
- Chess.net web-site
- The registration date for Chess.net is listed in the whois database, 
- For a list of NetCapital's portfolio companies, see .
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