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John Fanning (born December 21, 1963) was the Founding Chairman and CEO of Napster. He founded the company with his nephew Shawn Fanning. He owned 70% of the company and represented the founders on the board of directors.
Fanning is an early Internet entrepreneur, who with Brian Moore and Tony Acero 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.
Along with John Fanning, GM Roman Dzindzichashvili and Napster developer Shawn Fanning, Brian McBarron was also leader developer and very active in launching Chess.net. Brian went on to develop Picasa which was sold to Google.
John Fanning has introduced such net-related innovations as client–server game play, audio chat, and auto-upgrading/authentication. He has patents for Real Time Search Engine, and Use Sensitive Distribution of Data Files Between Users.
- Menn, Joseph. "Napster was ill-managed as much as it was illicit". Reuters.
- 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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