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Penn State Flunks Napster, Signs Video-Minded Ruckus

Penn State announced it would not renew its contract with the Napster music service and instead would offer students access to Ruckus, a multimedia service it said offered students greater media flexibility. Under the new contract, Ruckus will provide students downloadable access to 2.75 million songs, full-length feature films, short-form video, sports clips, and music videos, as well as access to a social network site focused on the network.

Penn State's agreement providing students free access to the Napster music service will end May 31, 2007.

Penn State President Graham Spanier acknowledged that Napster had "helped Penn State greatly in taking a bold and ultimately successful step." However administrators said they believed the Ruckus service "will provide greater flexibility for the university marketplace going forward."

With the new service, students will legally be able to download and share music, create playlists, send personal recommendations to friends, browse classmates' profiles and media libraries, and meet new friends.

Kevin Morooney, Penn State's vice provost for information technology, said Ruckus is offering more features that college students are looking for. "Penn State students have been telling us they want more movie and video content and in part that is one of the considerations we looked at in making this decision," he said.

Penn State's claims to have been the first institution of higher education in the nation in 2004 to offer a legal digital music service to its student community. Penn State students collectively access an average of 2 million songs a week.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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