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There is magic behind Penn State's Napster deal

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Letters re: Penn State trustee and RIAA lawyer denies conflict of interest and Penn State's pigopolist pork is not smelling sweet

Penn State's President Graham Spanier is a magician. He has managed to conjure up the funds for the Napster music service at his university seemingly out of thin air.

The model set by Penn State may be followed by a number of schools, as the U.S. education system appears ready to enter the music business at the RIAA's behest. Are tethered downloads coming to a school near you?

Take a peek down at the bottom of the list here to see which ones might be next.

Ashlee,

You've made that interesting connection there. The president, the board of trustees and our massive alumni organization (www.alumni.psu.edu) effectively run this university. Based on the administration's connections with RIAA we, as students at Penn State, are really along for their ride and little more. I don't see us as having ANY say in the matter or getting much of the music we want. For publicity's sake, this one really counts. It makes the school look good and impresses our alumni as Penn State takes a leading role in something new.

-Brian


Biased reporting can kiss my ass. In other news you forgot to mention that our $160 activity fee will not be increasing due the Napster deal. Nor is that fee, as you imply in your article, solely devoted to feeding the RIAA's coffers. Personally, it seems to me that PSU is providing a valuable service on the order of cable television to our dorms for a pittance. With the risks of legal action by the recording industry increasing, it feels like my university is addressing real issues with potentially effective solutions. If news media really wishes to bitch about PSU misusing our activity fees I can certainty suggest some more pertinent transgressions rather than a service designed to keep students out of the debtor‚s prison.

Sincerely,

Douglas "Not a Communist" Williams


"The total of 83,000 students pulling down millions of tethered downloads is sure to pump up bandwidth costs."

Not to mention being a hell of a stress test for the DRM protocols. I take it nobody has considered that re-encoding the files might work? Digital-Analogue-Digital copying?

So far the Industry response to the technology involved has been...um...'crap'...they seriously consider that Penn State doesn't have some students talented enough to ask 'what if...?'

I'm going to be interested in this one.

James


After reading your articles both yesterday and today concerning the decision by Penn State faculty to subscribe to Napster and taking the costs out of the students' IT fees and therefore making Penn State yet another lapdog for the RIAA, I have to ask one question; "No conflict of interest?!!" Barry Robinson, who do you think you're kidding?!!!

The RIAA yet again has managed to weasel its way into yet another cash cow, compliments of Napster. I suppose it wouldn‚t be so bad if in fact the monies it collects from everyday citizens, say a twelve-year old girl or naval cadets, actually went to the artists themselves. But why kid ourselves; the money they collect is for the most part for their benefit, not for the artists themselves. And God forbid someone out there in cyberspace starts tipping these sacred cash cows.

Maybe I‚m just too damn out of date, but if I purchase a compact disc, I have the right to use that disc any way I desire to, provided I use it for my own use. I don‚t share music files, but I do rip them because frankly, it‚s a lot easier to set up a jukebox on my PC than it is to go out and buy a Wurlitzer. When Sony and the other firms go out and create copyright protection for CD's, then cry foul when somebody says "Hey, this is how you beat this." I irritates me to no end the extent that we allowed this group of extortionists to go.

I am all for fair usage, and paying for it. But the extent that the RIAA has gone to brow beat little girls, college students, students of military institutions and 66-year young sculptors who use Apple machines is inexcusable. There has to be some common sense out there. All we have to do is try applying some.

BTW, please don‚t print my name or email address; the last thing I need is to have RIAA storm troopers at my door. It's sort of difficult to explain to the neighbors and a real mess on a job application.

Regards,
The Ratcatcher


One thing the pundits at Penn State hasn't considered: As an I.T. professional, I will in future consider Penn State alumni to be underqualified for any job under me, because they have not been exposed to open standards technology as part of their education, but rather subjected to a carefully-controlled "lab experiment" using closed-standard proprietary technology. Ergo, they will not be prepared to handle any emergent issues that don't fit into their proprietary mold that their "education" at Penn State has trained them to expect. And I use the word "trained" in the same sense as I would if the student were a horse, or a guide dog for the blind.

Richard

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