05/03/2004: More news from the Volunteer State....music: Rolling Stones: Country Honk
From The Register: Tennessee rejects Napster/RIAA tax.
More specifically, that's the Tennessee Board of Regents, which is responsible (as I see it based on my observations living here in the Memphis area for a couple years; someone correct me if I'm wrong here) for Tennessee postsecondary educational instutions except for the University of Tennessee, which is governed by its own board of trustees.
Anyway, the BoR voted not to charge students with a mandatory fee for use of the Napster music download service. A bit of history: as a pilot program, Napster cut a sweetheart deal with the University of Rochester and Penn State. If I'm understanding it correctly, in return for a fee that all students pay upfront (probably as part of their university computing facilities fee or something like that), students at these institutions get unlimited access to Napster music downloads (that's the new, fee-based Napster that has the approval of the RIAA pigopolists) during their student careers.
Apparently, Napster is offering almost the same deal to other universities and colleges, with one important difference: these colleges are being offered access to Napster at full price. So far, no college has taken the bait.
That's probably a good thing. I can understand colleges and universities wanting to offer Napster access as a marketing ploy. However, I'm reasonably sure that all students don't avail themselves of that access. If the college eats the cost itself (and in this day and age of increasing costs, I imagine there are very few colleges which will be willing to do that), that's one thing. But if the costs are passed on to the students, it makes no sense to charge them full price, and then make that fee mandatory for all students, whether they use the service or not. I suppose that Napster, even in its fee based model, is A Good Thing (I wouldn't know; I did belong to eMusic.com for a while, and I was quite happy with it during the time that I was a member; basically I paid the fees, downloaded the music and comedy albums that I wanted, and then ended my membership when I'd gotten my money's worth out of it), but in order to pass the cost to everyone they'd better cut a sweetheart deal with the college in question.
Otherwise, what's the point? Students who really want to pay Napster's fee (and can afford to) will still do so; those students who either don't want to (or can't afford the fee) aren't burdened with the "Napster/RIAA tax".
Freedom. Gotta love it.
Len on 05.03.04 @ 08:49 AM CST