Penn State Will Pay to Allow Students to Download Music

Pennsylvania State University has agreed to cover the cost of providing its students with a legal method to download music from a catalog of half a million songs, in a departure from punitive efforts to curtail music swapping on college campuses.

The deal between Penn State and the newly revised Napster online service is expected to serve as a model for other universities. It comes as the music industry applies pressure on students and colleges in its antipiracy campaign.

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The service will allow students to listen to an unlimited number of songs as often as they want. They will be able to download the music to use on three personal computers as long as students are at Penn State. If they want to keep the songs permanently or burn them to a CD, though, they will have to pay 99 cents each.

Dr. Spanier said the university will pay for the Napster service out of the $160 information technology fee students pay each year. The cost to the university is "substantially less" than the $9.95 fee that individual subscribers pay for the Napster service, he said, though he declined to disclose the precise terms.

Sounds innovative, if nothing else. Details here from the New York Times.