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Napster Strikes Deal With GWU 234

ParticleMan911 writes "In an attempt to thwart illegal music downloads, GWU has struck a deal with Napster to allow every student living on campus a free subscription to Napster's streaming audio service. Every one of the 700,000 songs on Napster will be available to stream on each students' computer. GWU is not disclosing how much the streaming service, available to all users at $9.95/Month, is costing them, but the first year trial of the service has been donated by an anonymous donor. Will this method help get rid of illegal music downloads, or simply be a handy tool to use while your real mp3s are downloading?"
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Napster Strikes Deal With GWU

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  • One in the same (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quinxy ( 788909 ) * on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:06PM (#9727703) Homepage
    "while your real mp3s are downloading?"

    Given the availability of various stream ripping software (not sure if something is currently available for Napster particularly, didn't see any in a quick search) it would seem reasonable to expect that the Napster streams could become your real mp3s. Surely something could do the DirectSound dumping (as other programs already do) and then slap on the MP3 tags based on text grabbed from Napster's Windows handles.

  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig DOT hogger AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:06PM (#9727705) Journal
    The real question is "are the students going to share their 'legit' mP3s with Kazaa"????

    Or simply will they "take orders" from outsiders???

  • by Puls4r ( 724907 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:09PM (#9727722)
    Of course this won't help.

    The university will not continue to purchase licenses once the "free donor" leaves. Other universities will not follow their lead.

    It's pretty simply - eventually, we will all be tied to an IP adress the same way we're tied to a street address, a telephone number, a license plate, and a credit card number. We will "own" that IP address through the use of our login / password so that we can be tracked just as we are in every other aspect of life.
  • Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArsonPanda ( 647069 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:09PM (#9727723)
    Napster uses DRM'd .WMV files. If it wasn't for that I probably would subscribe to their service. And I'd be pissed if I went to school there. I'm already tired of all these fees I'm paying at my school, like parking fees when I don't drive, athletic fees when I don't play any sports here, etc etc... now an MP3 fee? bah.
    • school fee's... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:27PM (#9727816) Journal
      i agree with you. and some of those fees should not be allowed. for example, the athletic fee. doesn't the athletic department make money off the football games and sports? why pay a coach millions of dollars at the college level? is it a sports vocational school or a university?

      my school had a $1 charge per credit hour, that went to a scholarship fund for minority students. nobody bothered to ever ask about it. so i decided to ask, and the school said it went to black and hispanic students to pay their tuition. i had to work a job while in college. i told them i did not want to pay that fee, and they looked at me like i was a racist. why don't they not automatically charge those fees but ask if you are interested in contributing instead.

      while i understand that collective buying by the entire student body can drastically lower prices of certain services, should students have a right to say if they want to be included? or is there some special payment made to school officials, some dirty agreements? i can't help but wonder as i walk down the halls of a college that only offers pepsi products in vending machines, at the cost of $1 a can, $1.35 for a plastic bottle? i guess they need the revenue to pay the administrators their $200,000 a year salary.

      • You're forgetting profs - in Canada at any rate, professors with tenure start off with ~$70,000 CAD, and there's a heck of a lot more professors than administrators. Otherwise I completely agree with you - why pay $1.75 for a 600mL coke when I can go to Walmart and get 2L for $0.94?
      • Re:school fee's... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tfoss ( 203340 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:24PM (#9728304)
        why don't they not automatically charge those fees but ask if you are interested in contributing instead.

        Because 90% of those you ask would say no.


      • Re:school fee's... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dtungsten ( 445338 )

        my school had a $1 charge per credit hour, that went to a scholarship fund for minority students. nobody bothered to ever ask about it. so i decided to ask, and the school said it went to black and hispanic students to pay their tuition. i had to work a job while in college. i told them i did not want to pay that fee, and they looked at me like i was a racist. why don't they not automatically charge those fees but ask if you are interested in contributing instead.

        Anyone that would expect someone to give

        • I very much agree. It's amazing how many people have become so completely entranced with whatever notion of equality that's worked itself into their heads that they do become racists themselves.

          For instance, I was going through the archives of my university's student newspaper, and came across an editorial claiming that an advocate of tougher academic standards at my school was racist. The implication? The writer of the editorial had to believe that minority students were intriniscally not able to meet hi
    • Re:Too bad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BWJones ( 18351 ) *
      I would think that being pissed would include the fact that the donor was anonymous. It seems to me there could be a great deal of conflict of interest here with an "anonymous donor" underwriting the first year of this service. What do you want to bet about who the "anonymous donor" is? How much do you want to bet that there is a significant conflict of interest?

      • Chances are, the "anonymous donor" is the company providing the service. I don't think there is a conflict of interest here. Companies are allowed to give away their services/products if that's their wish. The reason the transaction is kept anonymous is so that the company can pretend the University is one of its customers.
  • by fordgj ( 522469 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:10PM (#9727726)
    Go walk around a college campus. Count the the people with iPods. OK, now tell me if this is really going to solve the 'problem.' They'd be better of getting a discount rate for students at the iTMS.
    • by ryochiji ( 453715 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:23PM (#9728078) Homepage
      In my dorm, everybody put their music into iTunes and turned on sharing so we had some 70,000+ tracks available for streaming on the network. In that kind of environment, I don't think a paid streaming service like the one GWU plans on offering will be appreciated.
  • gwu/linux? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:10PM (#9727728) Journal
    I can't be bothered to RTFA. What's a gwu?
  • by INMCM ( 209310 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:12PM (#9727743) Homepage
    This will have no affect on the massive amounts of Divx movies and warezd Software. After living "on campus" in the dorms for three years now, I'm pretty sure that movies and warez are a way bigger bandwith issue than mp3s. Albums are small and quick to download in 20 mins. Movies and software (games especially), on the otherhand, are often gigs and gigs of data to have to pull down and can take hours. This will help very little in the long run.
    • Actually, what i've seen in a college campus is that the movie ripping / softwarez scene is almost always done by a few students, who then setup shares that the rest of the campus access, here at Bucknell, students will pass around smb paths and watch the movies from that, and of course, there is the pre summer ritual of downloading every movie off of everyone elses machine and burning them to cds so they can watch them over the summer. We even had a file server local to the university run by the students t
  • Addictionware... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:16PM (#9727761)
    Hear all the music while you're enrolled... then lose access to everything you downloaded unless you pay full rate when you leave.
    • And there's the hook. Not only do you lose access to everything unless you start paying (genius on Napster's part, BTW), but since you can get all this music easily, quickly, and for free, you won't bother to download actual music while you have a fat pipe.

      And by actual music I mean music without DRM.
  • Bit or a waste (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:16PM (#9727762)
    If I was going to donate something to an institute of education a music downloading service would not be it.
  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mindjiver ( 71 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:16PM (#9727764) Homepage
    I persume the students at GWU pay tution (as many US students do). Do they really want their money to go to a commercial company distributing music over the Internet? Shouldn't that money go into making their education the best that their money could buy?

    I think that if GWU have a problem with illegal downloading of music they should use traffic shaping instead.

    This message was brought to you from a drunk fart from Old Europe.

    I apologize for my spelling mistakes.
  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:17PM (#9727767) Journal
    but the first year trial of the service has been donated by an anonymous donor

    i would not be suprised if this anonyous donor was napster itself, trying to set a precedent so other schools will subscribe. i can't help but think of the stripped down version of windows microsoft is peddeling in asia, or how they give out free copies of its operating system once a government decides to go open source.

    But GWU officials are turning to the Napster service less as a means of wooing prospective students than as a way to tackle the technological and ethical crises posed by the downloading revolution

    since when did this turn into a "crisis"? once again, the rhetoric is being rased by the same people who want to take away your right to back up music, share music, or make copies. the same people who illegally inflated the price of cd's, to which they were sued and lost. since they lost in the courthouse, they have been buying politicians in the congress. am i wrong? didn't they hire senator orin hatch's son?

    Although the subscriptions will allow them to listen to as much music as they want for free through their computers, they will have to pay 99 cents for any song they copy onto a compact disc or portable music player

    are you kidding me? can't people already buy music for 99 cents a song anywhere else? what are they paying for?

    it looks like GWU got raped.

    • want to take away your right to back up music,

      share music, or make copies.

      I love how you slip the questionable one in between the two that aren't.

      am i wrong? didn't they hire senator orin hatch's son?

      What relevance does this have to anything? Even if that's true, did the senator have anything to do with this deal?

      what are they paying for?

      Uh -- they're paying for a way to recieve legal music that they can play on their computers. Your objection doesn't make much sense.

      • What relevance does this have to anything? Even if that's true, did the senator have anything to do with this deal?

        senator hatch is the one who sponsered the legislation to take away everyones rights to share music. hiring his son is a valid critisism. there is a conflict of interest. we don't let senators work for lobbying firms when they leave congress for the first few years, so why would we let their children work as lobbyists. seems unethical. who would be a greater influance in how a senator votes?

        • First off, hiring somebody's son does not neccessarily indicate a conflict of interest. (I'm assuming that it's true, but I can't find any evidence with a google search -- so I remain doubtful.) His son is an adult, and has the right to work for whoever he wants. If you want to claim that there is a conflict of interest, you have to show a stronger connection. Vague claims won't cut it.

          Secondly, I still don't see a connection between anything Senator Hatch has done and this deal. Unauthorized distribut

    • The monthly subscription is just for streaming audio and downloading tracks for offline listening while you are still a member.

      It's definitely a trade-off (which is why they let you purchase music without being a member). However, if you don't use a portable player (when every student has a laptop, the need for portable players drops a bit) and you listen to more than one new album a month, the subscription is worth it. You have the choice of unlimited content for a limited time ($10/month) or limited cont
  • SSH tunnel to a connection less likely to be monitored.

    It's what I'm gonna do.
    • But then you're paying for bandwidth twice, assuming you're talking about SSHing to a cable/DSL ISP off-campus. That, and if your school really does have Network Nazis (TM) running the show, do you really think you're going to be able to move gigabytes of encrypted data without having your activities scrutinized, and even your machine looked over?
      • > That, and if your school really does have Network Nazis (TM) running the show, do you really think you're going to be able to move gigabytes of encrypted data without having your activities scrutinized, and even your machine looked over?

        Yes. Their little protocol analyzers have trouble peering into SSH connections. So they don't get a little email saying that you're doing something illegal. And if they do get to your machine (which they can't; they're not the police), they're not going to have the
        • Your little "I have a god given right to ship gigs of traffic over the campus network" rant is made all the funnier by the fact that your ~jrockway link is now 404...

          Encryption is real, and it's powerful.

          Certainly is, but sysadmins are more powerful. If you're shipping gigs of encrypted traffic around then prepare to find yourself with a bandwidth cap if they're feeling nice, and a rumor that you're distributing child pr0n and using encryption to cover your tracks if they're not so nice.

          I suspect yo
  • Quality? Access? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by izx ( 460892 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:17PM (#9727771)
    Is this high-bitrate, CD-quality audio that will be streaming? If not, then this scheme will have limited effect, particularly among the non-Britney listener crowd. Besides, unless the university has Napster servers onsite or something, or maybe uses bandwidth shaping to give the Napster streams the highest priority, with people downloading other stuff all the time, the stream will probably be interrupted from time to time. To me, and to others too I'm sure, there is nothing more annoying than a stream that breaks up...even if it's only once every 10 songs.

    Also, what about those who'd prefer to use their own "system" to listen to their music? This covers the gamut from those using alternative OS's to those who simply prefer a particular player (Winamp, Foobar2000, etc.). If this is a Windows-only, WMP/Proprietary Player-only scheme, it definitely isn't going to be all that popular.

    Lastly, what about portables? Can you put one copy of a song on a portable of your choice?

    There's too many imponderables with this scheme, and if it's typically restricted streaming (which I think it'll be, with Napster the source), then the best this thing can hope to be is a very fast preview for songs that people will want to buy/download.
  • Yeah freakin right (Score:5, Informative)

    by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#9727783) Journal
    I go to Penn State, the first of the schools to strike a deal with Napster and bend over and let the RIAA take them up the...well, you know. Anywho, you get like, no songs. If you like -anything- other than what's on the radio, and sometimes even that, then your tracks will be marked "buy only" even with a Napster Premium account. Napster sucks. They claim to have 700k tracks...too bad I've had the service for half a year and only found 24 worth downloading.
    • Off-topic but check out the new kiosk machines in the hub, they replaced 3 perfectly functioni iMacs with 3 dual 2.0 GhZ G5s with 17" Apple monitors. Just another example of our school wasting money, that is $6k in excess of buying 3 eMacs easily.
      • And if they didn't replace them, someone else would be bitching that they're collecting technology infrastructure fee money and not giving the students anything for it.
  • Very good idea . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaffanator ( 677358 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#9727786) Homepage
    While some technically savvy students (read: /.ers) will continue to use other means to get DRM-free mp3's and movies, most college students would be content to listen to their favorite music off the Napster streaming service. Once the administration tells them it is okay and even probably helps them install the software the ease of use trumps everything else for the average college student.
    • I'm not sure it will help that much, if you have to be at the computer - I think college kids are mostly out and about and not often glued in front of a computer.
    • Um, do you actually know any current college students? They may not be able to install linux blindfolded, but they are sure as hell savvy enough to install kazaa and download tunes. They also know how to share tunes over AIM file transfers. And if some don't, it's enough of a basic skill that others will teach them.
  • by Gogl ( 125883 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:30PM (#9727834) Journal

    ...this seems to be almost exactly the same as the deals Napster has made with Penn State [] and the University of Rochester []. As such, this story in and of itself doesn't really raise any truly new questions, it just proves that this Napster-university deal thing is likely to keep expanding.

    And the reason is quite simple: universities are just covering their collective legal asses. It may not be the best way to do it (I go to UR and let the administration know that I felt a deal with iTunes would be superior, although even then I'd be skeptical that it would be used), but they're not doing this because they think it's really right or a good idea in and of itself. It's a simple cost/risk sort of calculation: the cost of this deal is like an insurance policy against the risk of lawsuits. Simple enough.

    • by BoFiS ( 185779 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:04PM (#9727990)
      Yeah, I go to the University of Rochester also, and the only reason they, and Penn State even struck these deals is because UR's Provost, Charles Phelps, and PSU's president, both serve on the Technology Task Force of the Joint Committee [] along with members of the MPAA and RIAA. Oddly enough, Dave Lambert, Vice President & CIO of Georgetown University, is also on this committee (see link).

      The Napster offering is lame, the students cannot use it from home, nor can they play the teathered tracks without being connected to the network and logged into Napster. The streaming quality of 96kbps is pathetic, and most new albums and additions are buy-only, making the service almost completely useless. I'd rather listen to internet radio at a higher bitrate. As far as limmited network traffic, it probably does work, because those people who would use Kazaa anyway would maybe like it, and since each school then buys a RAID array Napster Server to host the service on-site, less people will be wasting my bandwidth :-)
  • by oostevo ( 736441 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:36PM (#9727875) Homepage
    But what happens after the introductory period? I remember another university that tried to have students pay a mandatory "MP3 Fee" with their tuition for access to Napster because they figured that they'd download music anyway. Needless to say, that wasn't very popular with the students there. I hope GWU doesn't follow suit.
  • Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by telstar ( 236404 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:37PM (#9727883)
    Anybody else see the irony in all of this? The education market used to be Apple's bread and butter when it came to Apple IIe's and other computers. Looks like Napster is trying to adopt that strategy when it comes to the music industry. Personally, I don't think the same strategy will work.
  • For a minute there I thought Napster had struck a deal with GNU!
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cavio ( 217880 ) <> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:00PM (#9727972) Homepage
    How on earth does this contribute to the academic experience? Or are universities just turning into semi-adult daycare with toys and music and diversions to keep the MTV generation from having to actually THINK for a change?

    Shoot me, shoot me NOW.
    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ky11x ( 668132 )
      That is not the fault of the universities, you know? It's the students who are demanding these things and acting as if they were "customers" of their education experience. The universities, in order to compete, will have to cave in and provide "entertainment." That's what happens when you make everybody go to college, they turn into daycare.
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pmh009 ( 232990 )
        I don't think it was the students that demanded to have to pay for something that none of them wanted in the first place. At PSU this was done without students even knowing until the deal was already done. After the deal most of the news stories were about how none of the students wanted to be forced into paying for (on tuition bills) something they never asked for or wanted. How fair is it for a person who already has a subscription to iTunes or something else, to have to pay for another, crappier servi
    • From what I understand, colleges are competing with each other now more than ever to offer better residential settings for their students. This is an attempt to get more students to choose their college specifically. The admissions people can tell students "You get free streaming music just for being a student!" I bet it'll work pretty well, too.

      I do agree that colleges are losing focus from academics, though.
    • Well, especially when you're dealing with smaller, more expensive private schools, they are competing for the students dollar (or rather the parents dollar) but the students have a large influence on the decision anyway. Most of the people who go to these schools are gonna be either rich kids or kids with parents who are gonna put them through wherever they want to go. So it comes down to offering the best individual experience, which i think comes down into two categories: luxury items (dorms, computers
  • What?!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sockonafish ( 228678 )
    How is this going to help any University with their p2p related issues? Schools aren't legally liable for the trading of illegal files any more than any other ISP would, their only concern is bandwidth costs.

    Streaming music is going to cost more bandwidth than a downloaded music collection (a legally, unshared collection), that's a no brainer.

    Why is it that no brainers are so difficult for some people to understand, anyway? Do they have negative brains?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    where commercial companies come into schools and market their products directly to children, is there anywhere left in America free of sales pitches ?

    kids should be suing companies for exploiting minors, still i guess as far as control is concerned better to have a society uninformed than informed, who else is gonna fight rich peoples arguments in Iraq/Iran et al
    lemmings come to mind

  • by skrysakj ( 32108 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:23PM (#9728074) Homepage Journal
    And I went to the engineering school too (CompSci.) Sad to see they went with Napster instead of, say, iTunes or something better. The engineering school knew better, looks like they never consulted them though. Streaming audio? Ugh...
    Is it me or did this come out of nowhere?
    I guess donating money really has influence (no, it wasn't me who did it).

    Then again, GW has done this before. They aligned Pepsi, can't find a single Coke on campus, have to go to the nearby Watergate or even further to get one. They also put fridges and microwaves in every freshmen room, and you had to ask to remove it or they'd automatically charge you. Not sure if they still do that, it's been 5 years or so since I was there.

    The network on campus was quite good, they even had fiber optic installed in most dorms. So, I don't doubt the sharing of files in campus is quite rampant, and it will no doubt continue.
    • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:07PM (#9728246)
      "Sad to see they went with Napster instead of, say, iTunes or something better."

      It's because Apple isn't offering the schools anything. If you think Napster's taking advantage of them, you should see Apple's offer:

      "Let us advertise on your campus and you can bear our bandwidth costs with an on-campus server! FREE!"

      I was _at_ the meeting with Apple when they were talking to our school. The non-techies at the meeting had a similar opinion of the proposed offer. If you think Napster2 is screwing schools, you've never seen what Apple is pushing - something that gives them free advertising, costs the school money, and has zero chance of doing anything about the overall problem.

      • It's because Apple isn't offering the schools anything. If you think Napster's taking advantage of them, you should see Apple's offer:

        "Let us advertise on your campus and you can bear our bandwidth costs with an on-campus server! FREE!"

        I don't doubt it. But.... but, what's the deal with an on-campus server? Apple's iTunes is over the internet, as any other data stream, and needs no dedicated streaming server like Napster does. Moreover, the people in the dorms trading movies & music illegally are ALR
      • Also keep in mind that nothing is stopping anyone, right now, from using iTunes. No need to make a deal with Apple, no need to host a streaming server on campus, no need to pay anything.

        Let the students bear the costs IF they choose.
        But, when an organization purchases such an account (Napster) for all of its associates (students) it's portraying it as the option they endorse. Moreover, nothing is for free, and eventually those costs for EACH student will be paid by the students themselves. They, after all,
      • Are you sure it costs the school money? Our internet pipe is quite a bit more expensive than on campus bandwidth. Getting them to download the stuff from a local source instead of from Apple probably helps. Honestly neither the iTMS nor Napster2 seems like a great idea for a school (for the reasons discussed previously in this thread).
      • It's because Apple isn't offering the schools anything. If you think Napster's taking advantage of them, you should see Apple's offer:

        "Let us advertise on your campus and you can bear our bandwidth costs with an on-campus server! FREE!"

        Ok, no offense, but you really don't understand the network architecture of most top universities if you're making this statement, nor do you understand Apple's distribution network. Let me enlighten you as to why Apple offering to put a on-campus server at your school was
        • I wish I had mod points, somebody please mod this up.
        • That's one way to look at it.

          The other is that most of the P2P sharing going on on campus is using DirectConnect anyways, and thus there's no difference bandwidth-wise. Additionally, RUNNING the server requires support time from OIT, which costs money.

          The fact remains that their option was going to actually cost us money, if not in bandwidth, then in support (and possibly hardware).

          • The other is that most of the P2P sharing going on on campus is using DirectConnect anyways, and thus there's no difference bandwidth-wise.

            We havn't seen this kind of trend on any of our residential networks. Suffice it to say that all the network statistics from our infrastructure, as well as the statistics I've seen from other similar schools, show up with P2P as a significant source of off campus traffic.

            And yes, I am a network admin at one of the top schools in the country.
  • by ThousandStars ( 556222 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:29PM (#9728108) Homepage
    But I suspect that the downsides of Napster will quickly become apparent. The service will be practically useless at home, on airplanes or during travel, and it will also not be transferrable to portable music players, particularly the most popular portable player [].

    In addition, I think a fair number of students use p2p applications to find songs they can't find elsewhere -- live cuts, unknown bands and other miscellaneous tracks they can't find anywhere else. The GWU officials may misunderstand the very demographic they try to serve.

    Then there's the problem of alternative platforms. From the Napster website: "PC only, Windows XP/2000, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.1 or higher, Windows Media Player 7.1 or higher..." No thanks. I'll take my Powerbook and find music elsewhere.

    Add to that the lack of ability to burn songs to CD and the ease of most p2p networks, as well as simply ripping CDs, and I think that GWU is burning its money.

    Others have pointed to the availability of stream ripping software, and I suspect that such software will quickly become widespread and popular. I'm sure students, particularly the Comp Sci ones, will find ways around the system.

  • by Paulrothrock ( 685079 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:02PM (#9728231) Homepage Journal
    The big issue with downloading at my alma mater (PSU) was that it ate up bandwidth. (Or at least that's what they claimed.) Students doing real research didn't have the speeds to do it with.

    Streaming doesn't solve this problem, it just exacerbates it. Would you prefer a kid downloading 100 MP3s in 2 hours or streaming those MP3s for 5 hours?

    Is this supposed to cover the university's ass? I don't see how. If they make the kids sign agreements not to use the connection to break laws, they've effectively absolved themselves from any liability. And without forcing kids into DRM-hell.

    So what problem does this solve, exactly? The problem of finding money for pay increases.

    • The problem it likely solves is that when the jack-booted RIAA thugs come after the university, they can show that they paid their protection money ... er ... subscription to Napster and say "See? What else can we do?" Expensive? Sure ... Less options for the students? Sure ... A huge waste of bandwidth? Debateable but the case can be made. But I suspect this is more about making sure the University doesn't get sued than anything else. Someone likely crunched the numbers and said "If we do this, we c
  • I'd be furious. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pendersempai ( 625351 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:07PM (#9728243)
    If I were a student at GWU, I'd be furious at the administration.

    It's not the college's job to enforce the law. They don't have to follow me when I walk into a store to make sure I don't shoplift. They don't have to monitor my financial transactions (even if I make them on a university computer) to ensure I don't commit securities fraud. And they certainly don't need to spend MY TUITION DOLLARS so that I don't infringe on some corporation's copyrights.

    Add into the mix that they're spending my money on proprietary formats with proprietary DRM, supporting companies and causes I universally revile, and I'd frankly prefer they spent the money dumping feces in the center of campus.

    Oh -- and a college education is DAMN EXPENSIVE these days. We're talking $40,000 every year. For four years, that's $160,000. And it's increasing steadily by about 5% per year. College tuition absolutely drains all but the very wealthy. It's only barely tolerable when you can convince yourself that that money is being spent on education. But the idea of spending my family's sweat, blood, and tears on nothing more than MAKING COPYRIGHT BARONS HAPPY is just insane. I'd be furious.
    • You might feel that way, but look at what schools see when the RIAA comes knocking. The RIAA calls the CTO and says "IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX, belonging to you is sharing our copyrighted material. Remove it or be held accountable." Now, administrators don't really want to "rock the boat", so they will try to track down the culprit.

      Now, here's where the problem begins. Most schools have a very limited number of IP Addresses...few certainly have enough IP Addresses to give every dorm room, every wirel
  • I see loopholes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DuctTape4Windows ( 796638 ) <> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:24PM (#9728302)
    yeah, actually, i don't think stream ripping is illegal. Because when VCR's came out, they were worryed that it would used to break copyrights, but the supreme court said they were ok, so you can record whatever you want from TV or Radio, so i guess stream ripping is legal.

    Was GWU one of the collages that had students that the RIAA sued?
  • Law Schools?

    A law student recently told me that when testing for the bar, one of the more popular questions to test your ethics is to ask if you've ever downloaded music illegally. If you say yes, you're cooked. Since GWU is in DC I'm going to take a wild guess and say they have a law school. If that law students story really was true, this could keep every half intelligent law student from perjuring themselves as their first act of BECOMING a lawyer ;)
  • by MacWiz ( 665750 )
    I'm glad to see that the college students have learned the RIAA lesson about the evils of downloading music without paying for it, with the reward being that now they get to download as much as they want and not worry about paying for it.
  • Cflix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OneFix ( 18661 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @01:32AM (#9729187)
    This is the same thing that Cflix [] is offering. Only, it leverages the gigabit networks installed on most campuses. They use a Linux box located on site to provide video-on-demand, music-on-demand, music downloads, campus video libaries, and student films.

    The advantage of the Cflix service is that popular movies/tracks don't eat up expensive internet bandwidth and are stored on-site.

    One other advantage to the Cflix service is that it can be seen as a teaching aid (with the online campus library) instead of a purely entertainment oriented solution.

    I don't really see the advantage of Napster/iTunes over the Cflix service...besides brand recognition.
  • I'm a GWU Student (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pheit ( 517422 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:08AM (#9729532)
    I'm a current GW student and I can't believe that the administration, constantly bitching about how strapped for cash they are despite the $40,000 a year tuition, have decided to even bother with this. Hell, the administration was going to cut the free newspaper (NYT, WaPO, WaTimes) program because of it's costs. In summary, the administration is retarded. If I can, I'll have this taken off my tuition if I'm billed for it. Besides, the GWU Newsgroup feed is far better than Kazaa and takes up less bandwith. :)
    • They just figured they cant stop people doing it on their network so they either pay off the mafia COUGH sorry i mean RIAA, or they get sued for 10 times as much, then they really will be bitching.
  • Why didn't this happen before a graduated!? Sheesh, I've got all the luck.
  • Unless they're providing an on-site server, GWU's office of IT will probably start blocking access to it in order to limit bandwidth usage. Some recent OIT antics on other campuses have included cutting off access to port 6667 (Claim: "30% of our traffic was occuring on that port."), dropping Usenet support (Claim: "No one was using it, and it was tying up too much bandwidth."), and blocking all forms of P2P, including bittorrent.

    My only conclusion: OITs like having huge, tall towers of unused bandwidth.

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.