Penn State signs with Napster


— 4:15 AM on November 7, 2003

Penn State University has brokered a deal with Napster to supply students with the online music store's premium service. Napster's premium service includes unlimited streaming music, though users will have to pony up $1 per song to buy songs transferable to CD or portable devices. Students won't be charged directly for the premium service, which will be paid for by their yearly technology fees.

By providing students with unlimited streaming access to a vast catalog of music, Penn State hopes to provide an alternative to peer-to-peer piracy. However, some students aren't impressed with the plan and think their technology fund should be spent on new networks and lab equipment rather than a digital music service.

The issue of whether students should have control over how their student fees are spent aside, I wonder if providing students with unlimited streaming music will curb rampant dormitory piracy. I suspect that Napster's premium streaming service will be enough to satiate many students' desire for music, but if the service proves popular among students, it could consume massive amounts of campus bandwidth.

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