Kudos to Penn State! Not for their football team, which is struggling this year and is 2-7.
Kudos to Penn State for their vision to realize that students want music for free and the only way they are going to stop the illegal downloading is to help them pay for it. In a stroke of brilliance, the school has decided to take some of the $160/year each student pays Penn State for "technology" and pay it to Napster so that each and every student can have all the music they want, when they want it, LEGALLY. See the story in the NY Times this morning for more detail.
This is a win-win-win-win deal.
The students get to keep downloading but don't have to come out of their own pockets and don't have to worry about being sued.
The school eliminates a big legal worry about their networks being used for illegal activity, and gets to offer a great new service for the students.
And the music industry gets a new business model to explore - bulk sale of music to a large enterprise - in this case a university. And the music industry gets to train students that they can get music online legally. And hopefully they'll keep buying it legally once they leave school.
And Napster scores a big win coming right out of the box.
Brilliant. It gives me some hope that we'll all figure this digital music thing together.