Digital Culture

Penn State and Napster

Terrible reporting from Reuters via Yahoo News concerning a deal Penn State struck with Napster. The article screams “Penn State University on Thursday reached a deal to offer thousands of students free access to the Napster music service” but then goes on to say “Students can also buy permanent downloads that can be burned to CDs or transferred to portable devices for 99 cents each…”

So…it sounds like they’ve just agreed to pay Napster to let students stream music. STREAM MUSIC. Something that they can almost certainly do from any number of websites currently. Streaming music isn’t hard to find….hell, if all students want to do is stream, they’d be better off with iTunes streaming from each others computers. That’s free…

Sometimes, I really think there’s a significant disconnect between people who get digital music, and people who don’t. And people who don’t shouldn’t be agreeing to pay money to other people who don’t….people want to own the music. They want to use it with their portable music players. And they want to burn it to CD if they wish.

Story on Wired News also about Penn State deal, where it is claimed that the service “includes unlimited streaming and tethered downloads, 40 radio stations and an online magazine and message boards.” Now what the hell is a “tethered download? I’m assuming (since again, we’re short on technical details) that it’s a download that’s DRM’d to your computer. I’m also assuming that it will have “can not burn to CD” DRM attached.

One further assumption: It will take about 3.5 minutes for someone to crack this DRM. Updates as they occur.

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