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Legal downloading service not an option

DAN TOLER | Tuesday, September 21, 2004

To satisfy students’ interest in music downloading, while avoiding clashes over illegal filesharing, many colleges – including nearby Purdue University – are considering formal campus-wide programs that would allow students to purchase songs legally. However, the University currently has no plans to open a similar service, said Katie Christman, help desk manager at the Office of Information Technologies. Last year, the Office of Residence Life and Housing sent emails to specific students instructing them to remove downloaded music from their computers or face possible disciplinary action. This move came as a result of the lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America against students who were illegally downloading music at a variety of universities, including Notre Dame. “The OIT doesn’t condone the use of file-sharing programs such as Kazaa,” Chrisman said, but added that the University does not monitor student computers for file-sharing programs. Notre Dame will become involved only if contacted by the University’s General Counsel, generally in the event of a lawsuit.Despite these actions, illegal file sharing and downloading at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s is still widespread. But at West Lafayette, students will soon be able to get their music legally. Purdue plans to implement a new service called Ctrax, part of the Cdigix Internet media company, which will allow students to purchase songs for 89 cents each. “We think this is a great way for students to access the entertainment resources available on the Internet, but in a legal manner that reduces our demand for Internet resources,” said Ernest Poland, director of University Residences at Purdue.The Ctrax system will have over one million tracks available from most mainstream artists. “I think it’s a great alternative for students who are averse to taking risks and would like an affordable alternative to illegal downloading,” said Purdue senior Vishal Bhandari.Teresa Healy, a senior at Saint Mary’s who spent her freshman year at Purdue, said her computer was red-flagged by Sony at the time because of illegal downloading. “They contacted Purdue about my downloading of it,” Healy said. “I was in violation of their copyright rules for students and was put on probation. … I was tracked by Sony, not Purdue.”Though student Senate has been in contact with Residence Life about possibly bringing Napster on campus, neither the Senate’s Residence Life Affairs Chair nor ResLife were available for comment.