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Media Education

University Tests Legal File Downloading System 260

philospher writes "Dorm students at Northern Illinois University are testing a legal file downloading service. It is made by Ruckus Network, and was developed by a group of MIT students. NIU pays 5$ a month per student, and the students can get music, movies, TV shows, local content and community features. Sounds a lot better than having the RIAA sending you a court summons."
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University Tests Legal File Downloading System

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  • by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:05AM (#10053277) Homepage
    From the same exact article you got your quote from:

    "It was better than other programs because it's legal," Ajuluchukwu said. "This is a good idea for the university to do for the students so we have some entertainment."

    It's legal.
  • Quote (Score:3, Informative)

    by betanerd ( 547811 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:05AM (#10053279) Homepage
    "Ruckus is &#147;tethered&#148; so students can still download music and movies without officially owning, buying or burning downloads, said Marone"

    Wow on demand cable without the abialty to record the shows. Thank you MPAA/RIAA for this generous outporing of stupid liscense fee media. Yes, these are the best times of our lives/ /Sarcasm
  • by paulthomas ( 685756 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:09AM (#10053297) Journal
    It looks like they are partnering with individual labels and producers to get a (likely meager) cut to the copyright holder so everything is kosher. Otherwise they're probably just banking on Sound Exchange and paying flat royalties for Sound Exchange to distribute later on. This is how most radio stations work (Pay to a big holding group that redistributes based on a variety of factors like album sales).
    Also, it looks like the P2P part may only be a mechanism to locally cache and distribute content that they've licensed to reduce their overhead. The files are also Windows Media and "tethered" according to the article.


    PS. I wrote the company to complain about the damn auto-playing music on the web site. This is no longer 1996!
  • Re:Legal (Score:4, Informative)

    by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:11AM (#10053309)
    This quote from this page []:

    "We are negotiating special volume-discount licensing fees for the academic community from music labels and studios"

  • Here's a copy (Score:5, Informative)

    by matz62 ( 74523 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:12AM (#10053313)
    Monday, August 23, 2004

    Ruckus starts in Grant with new downloading tool for students
    Network may expand to other residence halls if it is successful

    Article by:
    Michelle Gibbons - Staff Reporter [mailto]

    Bryan Ajuluchukwu, a freshman economics major, is one of more than 170 students living on the third floor of Grant Towers who is testing a new downloading service. The service, called Ruckus Network, allows for those students to download music and movies.

    Ajuluchukwu, who heard about Ruckus from his roommate, said he would definitely recommend the program to other students.

    It was better than other programs because its legal, Ajuluchukwu said. This is a good idea for the university to do for the students so we have some entertainment.

    Ruckus is a digital entertainment and downloading service that will provide music, movies, TV shows, local content and community features to students free of charge, said Joseph Marone, Ruckus account representative for NIU. NIU pays $5 per student per month and is allowed unlimited access to the media for the testers.

    On Thursday, Ruckus will be available for testing to residents in the third through sixth floors of all Grant Towers, said Keith Kruchten, president of the Residence Hall Association.

    Marone said NIU is very important to Ruckus development.

    This is the first time weve opened this program up to a school. We want to make sure students enjoy it.

    Still in the pilot testing process, the program is not only tested by students, but also developed and designed by graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Marone said.

    From Aug. 12 to Aug. 19, more than 20 NIU community advisers and Grant Towers staff tested Ruckus, and on Aug. 19, 170 students were added to the testing. By Aug. 26, a total of 700 NIU students will be linked to Ruckus.

    On Sept. 1, about 2,500 students in all Grant Towers will have limited access to the network. The full model of Ruckus will be open to all Grant students in October, Kruchten said.

    The network is located at

    Ruckus is tethered so students can still download music and movies without officially owning, buying or burning downloads, said Marone.

    He said students can share playlists and compare theirs with other students likes and dislikes.

    Kruchten also said even though the program is limited, students have been very impressed with what has been available thus far.

    © 2004 Northern Star. All Rights Reserved.
  • Re:Court Summons? (Score:4, Informative)

    by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:23AM (#10053376)
    The reason, I believe, for this is that there is a big legal distinction between downloading somebody else's content and making money from other people downloading that content.

    Yes there is, but that's not relevant. The RIAA doesn't go after downloaders, they go after sharers. And there is no legal difference between sharing for free and sharing for pay, with the sole exception of the amount of damages that can be awarded.

    I'm pretty sure that if someone accused of downloading music actually proceeded to go into court that they could have a reasonable chance at getting off

    Luckily for them, the people being served are retaining actual legal council who don't talk out of their ass.

    Oh, and for the record, only about 600 people have settled as of June. The rest of the 3,249 are still going slowly through the court process [].

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:47AM (#10053476) Journal
    Speculation is useless.

    From the Ruckus website's "How it Works" section. []

    Content Protection:
    Ruckus will protect copyrighted content and enforce usage rules with digital rights management (DRM) technology from Microsoft.
  • by name773 ( 696972 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @01:47AM (#10053477)
    ok, that was wrong... from the distributor site:
    "Ruckus solves campus bandwidth issues by storing frequently requested music and movies on campus-based servers located within the campus intranet. The campus servers will regularly receive updated files from the Ruckus Media Library, a network of redundant central servers storing terabytes of music, movies and other content. Students will access content via the Ruckus client application. If a student requests a file not found on the campus server, it will instantly make a request from the Media Library and deliver it to the student."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @02:21AM (#10053596)
    I am an NIU student.

    We had approximately 23k students last year, and given our growth, that figure is probably closer to 23.5k-24k students now.

    Personally, I believe this Ruckus Network thing is a fucking waste of my money. But that is all NIU does -- steal our money via student fees and spend it on shit I couldn't care less about [].

    Our school is run like a socialist government on crack, except that our uni is in the red like our state budget and for a while was considering laying off some NIU profs, meanwhile giving John Peters (our school President) a substantial series of yearly raises until 2010. []

    NIU is as corrupt as the famously-corrupt IL state government [] that funds it. And yes, sadly, I really am a student here at this shithole. I have a regular UID here on /., but I'm too ashamed of my school to post using the UID here...

    Needless to say, the alumni group won't be getting money out of me.
  • Re:content is king (Score:3, Informative)

    by tater86 ( 628389 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @02:34AM (#10053634)
    "The same stuff that's on free to air TV."

    I'm not sure if that's just a typo, but there isn't much that's free to air on TV. TV stations pay for the right to show movies and syndicated TV shows. Radio stations pay royalities to BMI and ASCAP which distribute the royalites to the copyright holder. Ruckus is no different, once they work out licensing deals with various groups they will be able to show their copyrighted works.

    I would expect that the selection initially on a service like this would be quite limited. However, if companies see that the copyright holders are making money off this arrangement they would be more inclined to license their bigger name properties.

    I would expect that a lot of independent music labels and filmmakers would like a chance to distribute their creations this way. Who knows, maybe this will, in the long run, get more people interested in independent music and movies and lessen the influence of the RIAA and the MPAA,

  • Re:Good idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by ziggy_zero ( 462010 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:23AM (#10053907)
    I download a shitload (have Overnet and/or Soulseek on 24/7) and I listen to/watch all of it. I don't really feel I should have to justify my downloading habits, but I DID spend over 70 bucks at a music store yesterday on records and CD's. I also go to a lot of concerts, where the artists get more money.

    Also, they're not suing the big downloaders, they're suing the big UPLOADERS.

  • by EaTiN cOfFeE bEaNs ( 513655 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @12:25PM (#10057508) Homepage
    I go to Northern Illinois University, and I could be able to shine some light onto this. The way it's working apparently (I don't know first-hand because it's only being tested out in one dorm--not mine) is that you can download as much as you want, but if you want to transfer the file onto a portable player or burn onto a CD, you have to purchase it. I'm hoping the TV selection is good on there. Our cable sucks ass here...

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson