Free music not university responsibility

Despite Ruckus shutting down, education institutions shouldn’t waste money on providing free music.

Ruckus officially shut down last week, putting an end to university-sponsored free music downloading for Penn State students and bringing to a close four-and-a-half years of shortsighted thinking. The university first announced its plans to use student technology fees to provide music downloading software when it launched free Napster service in 2004. Then, in 2007, Penn State broke ties with Napster and began promoting Ruckus. Now that Ruckus has closed shop, Penn State should not give any thought to signing a contract with any other music downloading service. Penn StateâÄôs job is to educate its students, not provide them with entertainment. We pay money to come here for the education, not to hear T.I.âÄôs latest dope track. While the idea of trying to curb music piracy is commendable âÄî it is stealing, after all âÄî providing students with a free music downloading service is not the way to do it. Instead, Penn State should educate students about the problems of breaking copyright laws and the possible consequences. As one Penn State professor put it, giving students a free downloading service to prevent music theft is comparable to students shoplifting from a Uni-Mart and, instead of being charged, getting checks from Penn State that allow students to continue that action. It was simply a way to brush the problems of copyright violations aside and was never really an effective option to fight piracy. The Recording Industry Association of America has decided not to pursue new lawsuits against file-sharers. Instead of going after illegal downloaders in the courtroom, the RIAA hopes to join with Internet service providers to warn file-sharers of their illegal activity and then potentially shut off their Internet service. Instead of trying to find a new music downloading service for students, itâÄôs time for Penn State to make a shift and begin teaching students why music piracy is such a big deal. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Daily Collegian at Penn State University. Please send comments to [email protected]