PSU, Cornell & Napster

I’ve been following what is going on with the Napster program at other Universities … As most of you know, there’s been the program going on here at PSU for about 12 months now. It started as a limited pilot to take a look the impact on bandwidth, if students liked it, and how the press would react to the whole thing. The Dean of the School of IST even taught a course last year looking at the issues. All in all it’s been a fairly well received program (although initially there were a few angry students). I say that with a little angst for a couple of reasons — one being that it is a service provided by a commercial entity that has a questionable reputation (even if it is by name association only) and that it isn’t compatible with Macs. I know that doesn’t bother most people out there reading this post because you’re using a Windows-based PC. But, it might surprise you to know that LINUX and Macs are actually picking up some market share on our campus — let alone campuses across the country. As a side note, I’ve invited Sam Haldeman, PSU’s project manager for the Napster initiative, into class to talk about its impact and the main reasons behind investing in it. I’ll save the reasons of why for later … education is one, but there are some other interesting things out there.

Cornell University recently announced it too would be rolling out a Napster program for students. It’s a little different there because they have actually come right out and said that about $20.00 of the student fees would support it across the board. To my knowledge PSU hasn’t put a price tag on the project and really haven’t said how much of student fees go towards paying for it. Cornell has a slightly larger percentage of Mac users on its campus — 7% vs. about 4% at PSU. Seems the student run newspaper has picked up on this and is crying foul!

I’m really wondering why more students here haven’t stepped up and said anything? Maybe we are just more complacent here at PSU … or is it that the University hasn’t laid out the cost structure? Don’t get me wrong, the dorms have cable and that has to be paid for, right? Just thought I’d throw this one out there for your thoughts … anyone have anything to say here? Love to hear your impressions of the PSU Napster deal and your reaction to the debate going on at Cornell–>

18 thoughts on “PSU, Cornell & Napster

  1. I just want to say that PSU NEVER tells us how much anything costs… there is NO price structure, its just all accumulated under different fee headings. If any of the student body actually knew what percent of our money actually went to anything, things might be different, but as of now I think it’s more of the fact that ignorance is bliss.

  2. I’ll keep my mouth shut about how PSU spends their money, but as for the Penn State Napster issue, I certainly do have an opinion. First of all, the streaming downloads are horrible quality and if you could play those songs in any decent music player, such as an ipod, or winamp, then you might realize that. Users cannot use the best player to play their music, and obviously users cannot choose which operating system to use. Personally, I don’t hate windows, windows has its place in the world, but so do Macs, and other Unix based operating systems such as the many distributions of Linux. Let users choose. I look at the Napster program as an attempt for further dominance by Microsoft, an attempt at dominance by Napster, and the last hope for the record companies, as we know them. If Napster fails in this format, the outdated music industry will be forced to change. Maybe the copyright laws will change, or maybe record companies will fold up shop all together because, the artists won’t need a middleman, they will be able to distribute their music directly to their fans.

  3. What a coincidence that PSU board memebers are also board members of record companies. Are they lining their own pockets or am I misunderstanding somthing about this deal? I would have used the funds for something a little more educational like computer labs and equipment. When the annual tuition costs increase by hundreds, I really do not think they care about a measley ten dollars per person for Napter downloading.

  4. Although I can not speak for the rest of the student body as for why they haven’t spoken out I believe it is because we do not know exactly how much we are spending on Napster. Also, there are ways around it so Napster isn’t our only source of music. Personally, I feel that Napster is poor, yet it is a step in the right direction. The music industry and artists have lost millions of dollars because of illegal downloads. As a musician myself, I feel that all music downloads should have to be paid for. I know that most of you probably think that I’m crazy for saying such a thing. However, how would you like it if all the work you did could be downloaded for free and you didn’t see any benefits of it? The reason why I chose not to say anything about Napster is because I feel that if I’m paying $20 a semester so that musicians can get some money for their work, so be it. They get ripped off enough by the rest of the world.

  5. While i really disagree with the whole interpretation of illegal file sharing, i do agree that artists get ripped off. But it has nothing to do with people downloading their music… If anything, that has helped them make more money (if i never had the first version of napster way back when, i never would’ve found out about and bought many of my favorite cd’s of the past four or five years). I live at home, so I’m pretty sure that i can’t even use this napster program if i chose to, which makes this seem like even more of a ripoff. If this money they are using comes out of everyone’s technology fee, than it’s not fair to people living off campus. It should probably be included in the housing fee, if anything. But like everyone else said, since penn state won’t really say where it’s coming from, we’re just left to speculate.

  6. Ok yea i definilty have an opinion on the napster thing. I mean ok so basically napster sucks it never has anything you really want to listen to and its all stream so really were not getting anything out of this. I really hope our money isnt going for this since I mean MAC users are getting shit and if they have to pay too then I would create hell. I heard that MAC was creating a project like napster that we could stream music so mabye PSU could look at that as a better offer. Haha yea right our board basically has ruled that one out because there on the same board as the record companies. Just seems kinda fishy how it all worked out…

  7. Don’t quote me on this but I believe I heard last year from somewhere that Napster was being payed for by everyones Information Technology bill that they have to pay each year. I think that is supposed to go towards funding that computer labs and whatnot. I also heard that last year the amount owed was $160. I think this year it went up to $175. I could be totally wrong about this, but who knows thats where some of our money could be going.

  8. I think that Napster at PSU is great if we aren’t paying for it. That is a big “if” since we have no idea what we are paying for with the “tehcnology fee”. Although it is unfair to MAC users, at least they aren’t paying for it here at PSU as far as we know. If I were a Cornell MAC owner however, I would be very angry if I knew that I had to pay $20 for something I couldn’t use.

  9. Penn State spending, I have no clue where all that money goes that people put into this school. I decided to do IST as a minor. The new building ran over budget right? Is that why I had to pay an extra $500 to take IST as a minor when no other minor has an extra fees. I am paying for Penn States mistakes. As for Napster, do get me started. I can get better quality and more of it if I do it without paying for it. The napster idea is just another way for Penn State/Napster to make some bank. If Penn State really wanted to help students get away from illegal file sharing they would either create their own free legal files sharing, or not pay napster so that the student get it for free. I personally hope the Napster deal goes under.

  10. Napster has to charge these universities so much because I don’t think the students buy the songs off there to burn. I have used the radio function but that can be annoying and ever since downloading the napster software, I have never considered buying a track. I would rather just go out and buy the whole CD. I think the company makes itself appealing to colleges because it can help limit bandwidth issue and it makes it seem like students can get their music in a legal way.

  11. I have to admit that I did try Napster last year…and it only lasted about a whole 5 minutes on my computer. I absolutley hated the service. They advertised that Napster would have all these streaming songs, come to find out that half of them were only partial clips and that the music i was looking for was not there. Honestly, it sucked and I don’t think I will use it again. I think it is a littlw wrong that all Penn State student should have to pay for the Napster service despite not all students use the service and it is not compatible with MACs. Last year I also stumbled over Apple’s iTunes. The experience with Apple’s program was better than that with Napster, but I was still not completely satisfied. Either way I don’t think it really matters what service the University goes with because people are still going to download on peer to peer networks…nothing major is being done to stop people from using p to p, so why should they stop?

  12. Last year I used the Napster program when it was first released, but was not very impressed with their services. I don’t believe that what their service does will curb the illegal filesharing. Why would an individual choose to pay for a song that they wanted to transfer to a personal device when they could do the same thing for free. It’s like going to a car lot and buying a car without shopping around. You wouldn’t buy a car that you knew you could get cheaper at another dealership. The university “claims” that we do not directly pay for the Napster service, but there’s an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Considering that Napster is optional, I feel that those who choose to use it should be charged, but the rest of the student population should not.

  13. ^^^ I have a feeling if they gave an option like that, the entire napster program would go under. I see about 1 percent of the school actually agreeing to pay for this service seperately. Likely the reason there will never be such an option, and we’ll just have it thrown into our tuition somewhere without ever being told.

  14. I’d really like to know if and how much we are paying as students for Napster. I’ll admit, when we first got it, it seemed like a great idea. Then I saw that I’d have to pay to listen to the songs anywhere other than on my computer. Now I do in fact listen to music on my computer, but not nearly as often as I listen to it on my iPod or in my car. I haven’t touched my Napster program since about April and I’m sure I’ll use it again, but I’m not in any rush…it’s good, but it’s not great.

  15. I think it is wrong to make the small few pay for something that they don’t benefit from but in my experience so far this is life. Although unfair, it’s going to happen so someone who is affected by this should come up with away to accomodate those apple users. They shouldn’t have to pay for a service that they can’t use.

  16. Personally, I think Napster has its ups and downs. I mean it is free, but yet you have to pay in order to burn audio files to a cd, so yeah that kinda sucks. Mac users then are left out of everything, so I am sure some are really upset. I am a Windows user myself, but I really don’t use Napster all that much.

  17. It’s funny because I don’t really care. Being as though I only pay a fraction of the cost to attend PSU, I believe it’s almost not my place to question fees the university puts out. Maybe if I were an out of state student I would be pissed. But being as though I’m not (and I don’t really use the service) it’s not such a big deal what the cost is unless it’s extremely outrageous which I highly doubt.

  18. Like I said in earlier posts, I don’t believe that file sharing should be illegal. With that being said, lets start on Napster! Napster can only be used on Windows 2000 and XP… Well I belong to that 1% of students that use linux. I don’t really want to use the program, but I was curious about how it worked and the quality of the music. When I spoke with representatives from Napster regarding the availability of Napster for a linux machine, I was told that it will not be made available due to security reasons. What security reasons are there! Anyways, I used it on my gf’s computer and its definately not worth it. The stream quality is crappy at best. Anyways, I know the university hasn’t announced how this ‘service’ will affect us financially, but I know for a fact that I’m going to flip when they say that i have to pay for a service that I want absolutely no part of!

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