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University Tests Legal File Downloading System

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the another-one-that-is dept.

Media 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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260 comments

Good idea (5, Interesting)

NG Resonance (794484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053219)

I'd pay for a service like this. Not too expensive, and keeping me safe from RIAA/MPAA attacks.

Re:Good idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053299)

Why pay when you can get it for free? Especially: if you are a European, there is really no reason to stuff the fucking American movie studios with money. *does the ed2k://-dance*

Re:Good idea (-1, Troll)

icejai (214906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053346)

That's exactly what people who pay gang/mafia "protection fees" say.

Re:Good idea (5, Insightful)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053451)

This is like the third time in 24 hours I've read this analogy and it's really lame.

If you don't pay mafia protection fees, then "bad things happen to you".

If you don't pay the RIAA for its monthly fee or buy it's content, then the only things that could happen to you (such as not listening to Britney Spears) are good.

If you're referring to the court cases brought against people who were file-sharing and infringing on copyrights, then I don't think a monthly college file sharing fee protects you if you continue to file-share copyrighted works that aren't part of the deal. It's safe to assume if you pay a $5 a month college file-sharing fee, then rip your copy of Lord of the Rings and put it up on eMule, you can very well still find yourself in court.

Stop with the knee jerk quip karma bait comments.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

hype7 (239530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053544)

This is like the third time in 24 hours I've read this analogy and it's really lame.


If you don't pay mafia protection fees, then "bad things happen to you".


Despite the standover tactics (and I agree they're mafia-esque), they offer a product. The grandparent post values being able to gain access to the content at $5 a month, who the hell are you to say he shouldn't get access to it?

If you don't pay the RIAA for its monthly fee or buy it's content, then the only things that could happen to you (such as not listening to Britney Spears) are good.


What happens if grandparent poster likes Britney Spears? Who are you to say it's good for him not to get access to it?

And if he feels the moral obligation to pay for access, and feels $5/all you can eat content is fair, then let him pay.

If you're referring to the court cases brought against people who were file-sharing and infringing on copyrights, then I don't think a monthly college file sharing fee protects you if you continue to file-share copyrighted works that aren't part of the deal.


It will depend on what's made available. I don't think $5 a month is unreasonable, and from what the article says it seems a lot of students agree with that point of view.

Stop with the knee jerk quip karma bait comments.


ha! That's rich coming from the guy who posted about how the RIAA is the root of all evil when someone said they might be interested in the service mentioned!

-- james

Re:Good idea (2, Interesting)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053529)

Keep ya' safe? Are you that worried about it? There are so many ways to avoid prosecution.. the sheer mass of people downloading stuff keeps ya' pretty safe. The RIAA has sued such a tiny fraction of a percent of P2P users that it is laughable. I download all day everyday without any fear from these organizations..

Yay... (5, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053223)

Force students to pay whether they want the Uni to sell their souls to the RIAA or not.

Nothing new here. Move along.

Re:Yay... (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053286)

And people wonder why record labels have been unwilling to try selling music online. When they do, people still criticize them.

Re:Yay... (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053298)

I see this less as "Selling music" and more as "blanket extortion."

"Pay us $5/student or risk being sued."

Doesn't sound like "sales" to me.

Re:Yay... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053318)

"geminidomino".

Doesn't sound like "hetero" to me.

Re:Yay... (1, Funny)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053332)

Doesn't sound like "sales" to me.
are you criticizing the respectable business of selling protection?

Re:Yay... (1)

malfunct (120790) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053521)

Its more like pay $5 a month or we will investigate your students who are probably sharing music we own the copyright to and hold your network financially accountable for the infringement. The college of course took the easy way out. If you buy that the RIAA should be enforcing copyright then they are being reasonable with the college in offering a legitimate way for the students to continue the behavior of downloading music.

Re:Yay... (5, Insightful)

ChairmanMeow (787164) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053326)

Force students to pay whether they want the Uni to sell their souls to the RIAA or not.

That's what makes me angry... The college I go to signed a deal with iTunes, which basically means that students will be forced to pay an RIAA tax in their tuition, regardless of whether the students actually use the service or not. In my case, I don't want to use iTunes, and since there's no Linux client I can't use it anyway (yes, I know about the Crossover Office story a few days ago, but I'm not going to install Crossover Office to use the iTunes software I don't want). Also, going to a private college is expensive enough without bring forced to pay for academically useless things such as iTunes. Personally, I think it should be at the most an opt-in program: that is, students who wanted to use iTunes would opt-in to the program which would be organized by the college, and the fee would be added to their bill. In that case, any student that did not want to participate in that program would not sign up, and those who did want to participate would sign up. Then again, since when was there reason in the music downloading discussion?

Re:Yay... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053345)

Why don't you people get it? Thieving is not a civil right, especially not using the tax-money payed bandwidth of your university.

Just stay in your parent's basement using their DSL if you need your 4 gay-porn movies per day.

why pay? (1)

machocomacho (760106) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053224)

again we ask, why pay, there is always gonna be something new, but free always works the best.

Legal (3, Interesting)

mobets (101759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053226)

I read the article... what makes this legal? not much in the way of details...

Re:Legal (3, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053309)

This quote from this page [ruckusnetwork.com] :

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

Re:Legal (1, Funny)

metachor (634304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053408)

i read this post... what makes this "Interesting"? not much in the way of details...

legal? not fun (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053228)

if its not illegal it's no fun.

screw it.

Cornell's Trial Download Program (4, Interesting)

crem_d_genes (726860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053230)

Cornell is giving away music downloads [cornell.edu] this year.

Good use (5, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053234)

At least we're starting to see the Industry start using the technology to everyone's advantage instead of trying to quash it. Of course I'm in Canada and I'm pretty safe right now from the letters (mind you, I haven't downloaded an MP3 in a LONG time either). Of course with Morpheus's recent win in court, this sort of 'legal' P2P system may not catch on as well as hoped. Have to admit though, if I knew I could get high quality, legal MP3's I'd probably consider paying the $5/month.

Re:Good use (1)

flakac (307921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053379)

Of course with Morpheus's recent win in court...

Morpheus? Morpheus has been dead since they (were forcibly) switched to the Gnutella network. And if you read the legal opinion of the appeals court [com.com] , it doesn't say that file sharing is inherently legal, just that the makers of the software are not liable for what their users do -- that's quite a large difference.

I must have missed something.... (4, Interesting)

marshac (580242) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053239)

How is this not illegal? If students are still downloading copyrighted content from each other... *scratches head*.... I don't get it.

And yes, I did RTFA, and the company website.

Re:I must have missed something.... (5, Informative)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053297)

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.

Paul

PS. I wrote the company to complain about the damn auto-playing music on the web site. This is no longer 1996!

Re:I must have missed something.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053325)

Good call on that music!

Their system reminded me of direct connect... why would the record labels settle for $5? The bitch and moan to apple for charging only $.99!

Re:I must have missed something.... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053316)

A quick google shows that if something is tethered then the comapny can distribute certain copyrighted material to people, they just can't take it off their computer (legally anyway, technically they possibly can). Some companies (such as Napster) use this system, but have to have an agreeance with the copyright holders to do so.

Re:I must have missed something.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053512)

I use a legal file downloading p2p system, too. It's called "bit torrent". Just lastnight, I used it to download a bunch of Gutenberg Project stuff, legally, lastnight.

This assumping always made that all p2p is illegal and must be prefaced with "a legal use" pisses me off.

Re:I must have missed something.... (1, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053563)

This seems to be an implementation of compulsory licensing [yale.edu] (the 5 dollar fee) and probably the future of P2P, unless the whole "sue everyone" method actually works in the end.

bring on the cease and desist's (3, Interesting)

joeldg (518249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053241)

Posting the following:

"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."

is the equiv of posting a target on your forehead for the MPAA and the RIAA to make an "example" out of you, especially for the elusive college market (which is the one they are always, always, always after..)

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (3, Informative)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053277)

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.

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053312)

What makes you so sure it's legal? Where did he explain WHY its legal?

I get 400 emails every day trying to sell me mortages, make-penis-fast pills, and porn. 390 of them say "This is not spam." Guess what...

Note: If you don't understand what the spam has to do with the parent post, please note that "guillible" is not in the dictionary.

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (0, Troll)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053424)

No entry found for guillible. Did you mean gullible?

From dictionary.com

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053319)

It is very sparse in the "how exactly it is legal" areas. While stating they can download music and movies they don't own.

That would be a "grey area" and the fact they are charing for general access is even more fuel for a lawsuit.

I am not a lawyer, but I do follow the P2P stories pretty close and this touts legality without offering up anything new about how it manages to skirt around the law.

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053392)

Read the site [ruckusnetwork.com] : "We are negotiating special volume-discount licensing fees for the academic community from music labels and studios"

Sure, it's a sparse on who they specifically have deals with but anyone with half a brain will make sure there's an indemnification clause in the contract.

Re:bring on the cease and desist's (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053430)

Yea, I also saw this [ruckusnetwork.com] which is about as much help.
Basically, they are going to raise money to license content so they can be almost like an college-branded "iTunes buffet" service..
In that case, yea maybe.. but with strict terms I am sure of passing around the data.
I will belive it when I see it..

bookmarked it in my HA profile to keep watch.

Think of the rhyming possibilities for 'Ruckus'! (3, Funny)

Mordant (138460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053244)

Without knowing any further details, I'll bet that'll about sum it up. ;>

Re:Think of the rhyming possibilities for 'Ruckus' (4, Interesting)

scottking (674292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053495)

that's true, also backwards it Sukur...

Don't waste my money! (5, Interesting)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053247)

Let's think this over a bit.....The downloads are "tethered", as TFA states...

But let's consider something different.....

Can't find the population of NIU...But we'll use my school's numbers....Assuming a yearlong (12-month) contract....

$5 * ~40,000 students * 12 mos. = $2.4 million

Why would I want my tuition money (which, at this campus, only pays for more construction, adminstrative wages, yet can't cover enough for class TAs) to be wasted on RIAA/MPAA/AAA-approved media? The schools are always bitching about lack of funds, yet they can somehow afford this? Bullshit...If they (students), would like to pay out of pocket, be my guest. But don't waste my tution money on it.

Re:Don't waste my money! (1)

dhoonlee (758528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053269)

Perhaps universities are concerned that the legal problems that may arise without such a program, may be even more expensive.

But.... (2, Interesting)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053317)

This has been going on for quite some time now....And no university/coporation has ever been hunted down by the RIAA/MPAA/AAA....

The universities (so far) have been more than willing to turn in a few students...The lawsuits serve only to scare people from downloading..Most are settled, and I can't think of a suit that has actually gone to court over it.

When you think about it, there really isn't a case...The U is like an ISP, and no ISP has been seriously targeted over downloading (only for not willing to turn over info to the courts)

Re:Don't waste my money! (2, Insightful)

Kiwibee (806835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053282)

I find it funny that the Ruckus Network's homepage boasts that it "puts an end to Internet bandwidth problems." I don't understand how encouraging students to download files can put an end to bandwidth problems...

Re:Don't waste my money! (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053330)

It very well could help. If enought people switched to downloading things from Kazaa to this in-house network, it would actually probably substantially lighten the load where it counts: the connection from the on campus network to the rest of the world.

(It sounds like this will just be within the university.)

In campus network is much, much, much cheaper than the backbone out to the Internet. (For example, CMU has gigabit. So downloading within the campus would be almost free.) You increase the total exchange, but decrease the volume of transfer at the bottleneck.

Re:Don't waste my money! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053301)

While I don't necessarily disagree with you on this particular issue (I waffle back and forth on the worth of such a program), there are good reasons to charge more than just those who use it. It's how almost everything works.

For instance, I go to PSU. There are organized activities each weekend night (LateNight Penn State) to try to get people to not go out and get drunk. Probably only a small fraction of students take advantage of it on a regular basis, yet the cost is subsidized by everyone.

A lot of people don't use computers much, either on their dorm connection or in the lab. Yet they pay the technology fee as much as everyone else.

I don't go to the gym, yet I help subsidize its costs, so those who do want to use it can pay only a small fee.

Granted, all of these cases are substantially different from the above in that the funds are being used within the campus, but I do think that it would be possible to argue that the value of having such a service outweighs the drawbacks of making everyone pay.

Re:Don't waste my money! (2, Insightful)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053348)

This is for dormitory students who would have access to the university's bandwidth, most likely. The money for this would likely come out of those fees. Students already pay for things like phone service, internet access, cable tv, and more.

With a total undergraduate population of 15,800, you can rest assured that the final tally will come to less than $2.4 million. But that's not the point.

The point is, this has nothing to do with academia. This service won't help you get your Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. It won't help you at all. It reminds me of that futurama episode where they go to Mars University:

Fry: I'm a certified college dropout.


Leela: Please. Everyone knows 20th century colleges were basically expensive daycare centers.


Would you send your kid to that college? Would you want to go to that college? Maybe.

Re:Don't waste my money! (1)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053369)

Because then, (if the promises that Ruckus makes are anything like true), your tuition money wouldn't have to go to adding more t3 lines, or being sued by the RIAA, or buying CD's.

pocket change (1)

lingqi (577227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053370)

2.4 mil is pocket change to a school of 40k students. when tuition clocks in at $20k per student per year (not figuring in room / board / activity fee / whatever), what's 60 bux per year? probably less than that even, as the summer / winter breaks are likely not covered.

On the other hand, if you have a huge P2P fest happening on campus, the fee the univ end up paying for simple outbound bandwidth will exceed that amount.

Anyway. On the other hand, I have never had downloaded anything from P2P *ever* (hard to believe in this day and age, probably, but iTunes radio serves me good enough), so would feel that charging absolutely everyone is quite unfair. Though, that said, for 5 dollars a month and unlimited downloads, I'd probably start getting hooked.

Why NIU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053249)

Perhaps it had something to do with Michael "The Burner" Turner?

$5/month is nothing... (4, Insightful)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053250)

$5/month is nothing compared to what they're going to be paying for the bandwidth used up by all of the downloading.

Re:$5/month is nothing... (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053266)

I know Penn State has Napster servers on the campus network that has either 90% of the media on them or serves 90% of requests, I forget which.

It's conceivable that enough people would switch from downloading stuff from Kazaa to Napster to actually save on bandwidth use where it counts, namely the backbone from the school network out into the real world.

Re:$5/month is nothing... (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053423)

from what i've read in the other comments, this service will provide a set of tunes/flicks to a p2p network inside the campus, which will then distribute them.

Re:$5/month is nothing... (2, Informative)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#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."

Working company URL... (4, Interesting)

photonagon (721776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053256)

...at www.ruckus.net [ruckus.net] .

The link in the article didn't seem to work.

I still can't find anything about what makes this legal, but the company claims it numerous times.

Re:Working company URL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053489)

Legal? Simple. The same thing that makes radio legal. Licensing.

Just $5? (2)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053257)

...so how much can you download?

"NIU pays $5 per student per month and is allowed unlimited access to the media for the testers. "

So, what exactly? $5/month for unlimited access to a student to download whatever.

Now THAT I could see take off.

With College Enrollments Down... (3, Funny)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053259)

...this is sure to get more kids to want to go off to college. "Hot damn!! I can get free music and movies if I go to college? Sign me up!!!"

Let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

hazman (642790) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053261)

These students can download or stream music, television and movies (presumably fairly recent releases in a VOD arrangement) for $5 a month? And I'm paying $70 a month for my DSS service which has nothing on demand? And it's legal?

This begs a few observations:

There is no way this service will make it into the real world at this price.

or

This service is not legal.

or

My rectum problems are NOT due to a lack of fiber in my diet.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053355)

Or...
Required capital investment by corps:
DSS -> big multimegabuck satellite and groundstation, marketing

Ruckus -> the students provide the servers and bandwidth (paid for through their uni. housing fee) so net cost to company = X*$LAWYER_SALARY+ADMIN_OVERHEAD

Not to nitpick... (2, Insightful)

nial-in-a-box (588883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053264)

"It is made by Ruckus Network, and was developed by a group of MIT students."

No offense, but WTF does that mean? Made and developed are essentially synonyms in this case. I often wonder why so many poorly worded submissions make it to the front page of Slashdot. Is it because putting anything in quotes seems to remove all responsibility from the editor? Or is it sheer ignorance. I understand that the English language is a nasty, irregular bastard of a language, but for the love of corn let's try to be professional. And if I see one more "Microsoft are developing" or "Google have updated" or any other such nonsense I'm going to have to beat the living shit out of an ignorant bastard. An entity, even if it is comprised of many individuals, should be treated as singular because it is. I'll stop with the common sense lesson, but if you want people to honestly pay attention to what's important, don't let your poor writing get in the way. Believe me, it's a distraction, and for even more close-minded individuals than myself it can be a complete turn-off. Thanks for your attention.

Re:Not to nitpick... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053362)

The people who run slashdot are NOT editors they are just moderators, they only approve submitted stories to go on the front page. The people who run slashdot make no attempt to correct typos/grammer, correct misleading stories, or remain seminutral. When one of the staff reads this they will mod bomb it to -100 so no one else reads it because they cannot take criticism.

Re:Not to nitpick... (1)

(C)0N0(R) (711519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053399)

Not necessarily synonyms, I would say; - It IS made by Ruckus Network, and WAS developed (by a GROUP.)- not sure if you have a gripe with 'group' being the object, rather than 'students'

Re:Not to nitpick... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053428)

Or is it sheer ignorance.

Is that a question?

Re:Not to nitpick... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053492)

"No offense, but WTF does that mean?"

I'm going to go ahead and assume it means that MIT students thought up the ideas and planned it out, et cetera, however, the folks at Ruckus Networks actaully went about coding/programing it.

Also, I couldn't agree with you more about treating companies like they're plural.

Court Summons? (2, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053270)

How many music downloaders has the RIAA actually brought to court? Not very many. Almost all of the RIAA's attacks against downloaders have been settled out of court. They're more of a publicity stunt than they are a legal tactic. Now that I think of it, I can't remember any case where the RIAA has brought a music downloader to trial (not that there weren't any, there may have been) almost all of their real court cases are against companies that produce filesharing software. 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. 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. We'll probably never see that though because for someone to do this they would have to have the money to front for a lawyer, not to mention the time to see the case through.

Re:Court Summons? (3, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 [com.com] .

Re:Court Summons? (2, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053553)

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.
If you actually read that article you'd realize that what is says is that cases were filed against these people without the RIAA having their names. They are in court with these peoples' ISPs trying to get their identities released, they are not in court with the peoples themselves. I think it's extremely likely that these people, like the 600 before them, will all settle out of court.
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.
That's not entirely true. If you're sharing for pay it's clearly intentional, but on networks like Kazaa, "sharing" only consists of keeping a file in the same folder kazaa downloads to. I could easily see somebody deciding to make their kazaa folder be the same as the folder in which they keep any legal rips of their own CDs that they might have. To make a real world analogy, this is like if your friend let you use his bike, you left it unlocked and somebody decided to steal it. Is it somewhat foolish for you to leave the bike unlocked? Probably. Is it your fault it got stolen? No, it's the fault of the person who stole it.

sounds good but... (1)

harshbarj (651829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053273)

This sounds good but what format are the files in? If I can't get my videos in divx and my music in ogg then I'm sticking with "other" services (like bittorrent and allofmp3.com).

Re:sounds good but... (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053467)

from the distributor's site: "Ruckus will protect copyrighted content and enforce usage rules with digital rights management (DRM) technology from Microsoft."

I dunno (2)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053278)

If I got a court summons or (more likely) a cease and desist letter from the RIAA I could put it in a nice frame and make a really cool wall hanging out of it.

Re:I dunno (0)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053447)

In litigation-happy America, RIAA certificate makes wall haning out of you!

Quote (3, Informative)

betanerd (547811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053279)

"Ruckus is “tethered” 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

Re:Quote (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053353)

You can still pipe it to a VCR (or audio tape for music) using analog connections. The quality is not optimal but it is sufficient to let you watch it again. Wanna own it? Buy it.

From what I understand (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053375)

Tethered means it's on my computer. Well let's see:
1> I have a cable connection so downloading isn't a hassle
2> I don't tape any of my shows off tv to keep for good. I'd rather support them and do the legal thing, buy the series.
3> $10AU/month is a hell of a lot cheaper then $80AU/month
4> You can get whatever you want (provided it's available).

This can be a good deal for some people. It isn't for everyone, but I know I'd be tempted to subscribe (provided non-USians can subscribe and provided I could find out what it has available before hand).

Thanks Slashot! (2, Funny)

emidln (806452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053293)

Thanks for ruining the service we sprung $5 this month for. I guess my $5 is going to pay for a new server farm. Thanks again, slashdot!

Porn? (4, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053302)

I get the feeling though that unlike most "illegal" networks, this one has considerably less porn.

Obviously, it would be worthless to me.

Here's a copy (5, Informative)

matz62 (74523) | more than 9 years ago | (#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
mgibbons@northernstar.info [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 www.betaruckus.net.

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.

Any limit on music or files? (1)

Fade_to_Blah (555601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053322)

Maybe I missed it in that poorly written article, but to make this legal one would assume that if a band/movie studio did not want their music/movie on "Ruckus Network", then they could simply say its not allowed. So in essence, for 5 dollars a month, students will be getting a potentially limited network of files.

I am really wondering if they will restrict particular files/titles/new movies or what. I wish there was a bit more info....

here's my guess on how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053323)

Ruckus has a deal with various companies to distribute the media (music/video). They list Windos media player as a program that works, but not itunes, so I'm guessing everything is DRMed. Ruckus's website also says that the media is downloaded from the school's network, so no wait.
thus, its most likely DRMed media that is useless outside of the schools network and prevents students from permanently keeping it on their computer after they leave college.
hey, I dont know much about how licensing keys and DRM stuff work, but it seems probable

Re:here's my guess on how it works (4, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053380)

hey, I dont know much about how licensing keys and DRM stuff work

This should have been your first line, and you should have stopped there.

Speculation is useless.

Re:here's my guess on how it works (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053476)

Speculation is useless.

From the Ruckus website's "How it Works" section.
http://www.ruckusnetwork.com/how_it_works.html [ruckusnetwork.com]

Content Protection:
Ruckus will protect copyrighted content and enforce usage rules with digital rights management (DRM) technology from Microsoft.

content is king (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053329)

The article seems weak on explaining exactly what you get for $5/month. One of the big attractions of filesharing software is the timely content being shared.

The most popular downloads, which also account for the greatest bandwith used, are things like the latest DVD movies, theatre camera captures, popular albums. That's a simple fact, whether it's legal or not.

I can't believe Ruckus or any other small media company is ever going to be able to offer these kinds of downloads on their networks. I mean, is WB going to make a deal with them so that they can distribute movies at $5/month right at the same time as those movies are released in theatres?

So then, what kind of content *can* they distribute? Movies that came out two years ago, or Britney Spears' very first album, I guess. The same stuff that's on free to air TV.

In that case, there is still going to be alternative "illegal" networks for sharing the latest popular media, and I suspect that the illegal networks will stay much more popular.

Meaning? (1, Funny)

emidln (806452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053343)

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

Which means exactly? The movies I download off of Bittorrent aren't officially owned, bought, or burned either....

Why is the university paying? (4, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053349)

This download network, like many other legal, commercial networks that have struck deals with colleges, is paid for by the university, not by the students themselves. I never really understood this. I mean, I know most schools feel that it is in some way their responsibility to pay for their students entertainment, i.e. concerts and other performances, fairs, etc., but this seems like going a little over the edge. I mean, NIU has 25,000 students, so if they were to pay for this program for all of their students it would be 25,000 students times $5 times let's say 8 months of school (plus whatever they pay for the kids that are there in the summer) or $1,000,000. That's a lot of money to add onto whatever they budget for student entertainment functions.

Re:Why is the university paying? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053484)

Well, if they offered it directly to students, people might start asking "hey, why can't they offer this to the general public?" I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this probably has a smaller profit margin than CDs and DVDs...

Al Capone would love this! (0, Flamebait)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053351)

This is a classic protection racket. You know, "Give me five dollars a month per student, and nobody gets sued." It doesn't matter if half the students never download anything, they still have to pay the $5/month. They should give the kids accounts and bill them, so that only those using the service have to pay.

Excerpt from their legal page (5, Interesting)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053354)

"...RUCKUS WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO ANYONE WITH RESPECT TO ANY DAMAGES, LOSS OR CLAIM WHATSOEVER IN CONNECTION WITH ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS SITE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RUCKUS BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE, COPYING OR DISPLAY OF THE CONTENT..."

So where is the guarantee that this is in fact legal, and/or you won't get hunted down by the RIAA/MPAA? How is this not breaking copyright laws?

It sounds like a nice advertisement, but might be too good to be true. The adage, "There ain't such a thing as a free lunch.", rings true. They want personal information in return. Oh, and the privacy statement reads like adware/spyware.

If institutions are to adopt this for their College networks there has to be a guarantee in writing that I won't be sued for copyright infringement. Where is the guarantee I am legally licensing this for private use?

Re:Excerpt from their legal page (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053481)

It might be possible to sue for false advertisements and recover damages that way. My torts book is packed away so I can't see exactly what's necessary for that or what damages you can claim, but that's an idea.

good idea (1)

fodi (452415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053357)

I say congratulations to Ruckus and MIT for keeping it simple and coming up with an idea just might work. I just hope they can sort out the legal mumbo jumbo and get some quality titles on the network, not just left-over music that no one else will buy. ...and it's an awesome advertising venue for college bands playing local gigs

Why? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053359)

In a few months to a year we will have secure, encrypted, anonymous networks that are impossible to track. There are a few in development, and when they start reaching popularity one will pull ahead of the others, and it's game over for the RIAA/MPAA.

Yeah, this seems like a good idea too, (3, Interesting)

meistaiwan (802173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053372)

I used to have an emusic account way back in the day, when they were unlimited. It was great to be able to download legally independent label music(the stuff worth listening to) where my money went to the artist. Of course any time you deal with a corporation, you run into problems. They double billed me for no reason and refused to refund my money(yeah, WTF). So I canceled and managed to get my music other ways. But I'm not scared the RIAA is going to come after me, I don't have their music. Because it's crap.

Or you can just use uwgo.net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053377)

The free uwgo.net has been doing high-speed LAN and campus file sharing for years. Legal... maybe not, but effective, yes.

Gather round and worship the almighty corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053388)

Forced consumerism. Lovely.

"Legal" file downloading system? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10053389)

University Tests Legal File Downloading System

File downloading services are not, in and of themselves, legal or illegal. They simply exist. What makes file downloading systems legal or illegal is what people do with them.

Much like Grokster and Kazaa were recently ruled to not violate the law, FTP, HTTP, Samba, AppleTalk, and other file transfer technologies are perfectly legal.

The title would be better stated as "University tests new copyright management system". That's what this system really is, an RIAA sanctioned music distribution system wrapped in DRM.

finally someone talks sense! (1)

krayfx (694332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053404)

yeah, students are usually stone broke by month end! the 5$ subscription is seriously good. for a change, its not the RIAA creating the ruckus!

Tether just means DRM. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053409)

Sure, it's a step in the right direction, but the tether must be cut if the students are to take this more seriously. Is the entertainment industry just wanting money(cut the tether, they still get the money), or do they enjoy sick pleasure in suing people?

Define Illegal (5, Insightful)

LuYu (519260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053427)

Dorm students at Northern Illinois University are testing a legal file downloading service.
Which is to say that all other downloading is "illegal", right?

This is the problem with the current debate. It seems that "file downloading" has become "illegal" in general because of the political campaigns by the RIAA/MPAA to change the way we think. This is more than a little wrong. Just because the *AAs say it is wrong or illegal, does not make it so. These are the same people who claimed that Spiderman [I] did not make any money so they would not have to pay Stan Lee.

All file sharing systems, yes, including P2P, are capable of and indeed to share lots of legal files every day. There is no "system" for legal downloads. All systems can carry legal downloads.

This is a system for controlled sales of *AAs products. Warning. Lanugage, when used in the wrong way, can be hazardous to your freedom.

Re:Define Illegal (1)

scottking (674292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053441)

do you have a link to the MPAA being quoted as saying they didn't make any money on spiderman? that would be a great quote to have kicking around for the next round of debates.

i heard something ..... (1, Funny)

OneArmedMan (606657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053439)

/ I heard a Ruckus.

* A ruckus, Sir? *

/ Yes a Ruckus ..

*... I didnt hear a Ruckus Sir.. Could you describe the nature of the Ruckus *

/ Dont get smart with me young man! .

True, but... (2, Insightful)

ArbiterOne (715233) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053545)

Why "tethered"? If I pay for a movie or music CD at a bricks-and-mortar store, I don't get it "tethered". I'm reminded of the Mark Twain quote when he was told that he could borrow a friend's books, but only read them in his library: "Sure, you can borrow my lawnmower, but for security reasons I cannot allow it to be used outside my lawn."

Does anyone else think this... (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053546)

Does anyone else think this is exactly what Napster should've been turned into about 4-5 years ago? A service where users pay $5 a month to get whatever content is available (with the RIAA and MPAA behind it, this would be an enormous library). Too bad they couldn't at the time accept this possibility, because it doesn't milk as much money from people as their overpriced CDs did.

Of course this legal Napster would've been opt-in for individuals, not extortion fees from the universities.

Reality Check (4, Insightful)

Kioti (593582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10053557)

If a system like this was ever supported by the MPAA/RIAA does anyone really think $5 a month would be the going rate here in the USA? More like $5 a song. The theft will never stop until the RIAA/MPAA stop alienating their customers. An amazingly large percentage of this country would actually tell you that the RIAA/MPAA are getting exactly what they deserve. The same group would then tell you that it's wrong to steal a candy bar. It has nothing to do with a misunderstanding or dis-association due to the internet. It has to do with people legitimizing the theft because they are angry and they know they have no other recourse in this country. File sharing has become a grass roots campaign to punish the music industry.
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