Another University Napsterized

from the do-students-care? dept

Penn State made a big splash when they announced plans to offer Napster music streams (not downloads) on campus. Apparently, the new Napster sees this as a potential market, and has announced yet another university will be offering very limited music streams to students. The announcement is a bit misleading. First, they hype the fact that it's the first agreement between Napster and a private university (University of Rochester). Does anyone actually care that the deal is with a private or a public university? This is just twisting the "market" so that someone can claim they're first, when they clearly aren't. Second, they talk about Napster's "popular" service. While they might have had a claim to the original Napster being popular, the latest version is anything but popular. Of course, this deal was brokered by the University's Provost Charles Phelps, who just happens to chair a Task Force on Technology for the national Joint Committee on Peer-to-Peer File Sharing - which is a committee made up of folks from the entertainment industry. There are the typical quotes about pushing forward "legitimate" online music, but even they're questionable. They talk about how wonderful it is to "put the world of legitimate digital music in the hands of college students." Of course, the students don't get their "hands" on anything. They just get streams of music which don't last (we used to call that radio). If they actually want to get copies of the song, they're expect to pay $0.99, which is the same price they'd pay if they went to any other online music download store.

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