July 23, 2004

The Register on Napsterized Colleges [3:02 pm]

What went wrong at Wright State when Napster arrived

You’ll find that almost every Napsterized school - all 8 of them - is using dot-com era methodology to justify the service. The schools receive the Napster service either for free or for a massive discount and plan to subsidize whatever costs they do incur in the short term. Then, one day, the students - or more accurately their parents - will wake up and discover they are in fact going to start paying for a service they don’t really want and that a huge chunk of students can’t even use.

“I don’t really consider us as being in the music business,” [Paul] Hernandez [director of computing and telecommunications at Wright State] said. But he is in the music business.

Hernandez admits that one of the key motivators in signing up for the Napster service was protection from the RIAA and its lawsuit machine. By targeting college students with legal action, the RIAA has managed to force a number of schools to consider opening a Napster shop. Do the schools really care about solving the long-term problem of music piracy? Not really. They just want the lawyers to go away.

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