File-sharing network gives students access to music

Nikki Wee

As Katie Bissonnette walked to class with her iPod in one hand and white cords hanging from her ears, she said music is her life.

“Without it, life is unfulfilling. I get really depressed, so I’m always listening to music,” said Bissonnette, a first-year biochemistry student.

But, filling that iPod with songs doesn’t come free. Students like Bissonnette have to rely on cheap sources to not break the bank when buying music.

Cheap – not to mention legal – music will now be more easily available to students.

To provide an alternative to illegal file sharing, the University recently teamed with Ruckus, a legal music and movie downloading system for college students.

Ruckus acts as a peer-to-peer network where students, for less than the price of a CD or DVD, can legally download music or movies as well as meet other people and see what they’re listening to.

“It would not be possible without the partnership with the school,” said Chris Lawson, associate producer for Ruckus. “We actually put servers on campus, so anyone walking around campus can download music at blazing fast speeds.”

While promoting the company on campus last week, Lawson said many students were excited when they heard about the service.

“Everyone really seems to have a lot of ethics,” he said. “It seems like students really understand that artists need to get paid and that you can get viruses when sharing files.”

Bissonnette said she goes to Cheapo in Uptown because buying new CDs is too expensive.

“They have some really cheap ones there,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll even steal them from my brother and upload them onto my computer.”

Some students have relied on downloading music online, sometimes doing so illegally. Bissonnette said that if she knew how, she would be doing the same.

“I’m cheap. I have no money,” she said. “I’m a college student and I’m not going to pay to download music.”

But many students have avoided downloading music illegally knowing that there are consequences that can include viruses and lawsuits.

First-year nursing student Mia Lonke said she used to download music but kept getting viruses on her computer.

“I won’t be doing that anymore,” she said.

Like Bissonnette, first-year genetics, cell biology and development student Lexi Windhorn said she doesn’t know how to download music. If she did know how, she said, she would be cautious about doing so.

“With all the publicity involved with getting in trouble, I’d be afraid,” Windhorn said. “If I had some sort of insurance that I wouldn’t get in any trouble, I probably would.”

Ruckus is running a deal that gives the first 1,000 students who post a picture, create a profile, invite five friends and download 100 songs by 6:43 p.m. Sunday a free semester of music.