More than 180,000 students will be free of a Napster/RIAA music tax thanks to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The group has rejected a proposal to slap students with a mandatory fee for the Napster music download service. The agreement with Napster would have kept the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) off the backs of the 45 schools represented by the Tennessee Board of Regents but add to already massive uni costs. Despite bullying by the RIAA, Tennessee has decided that a $9.99 per student/per month fee is too high a price to pay to solve a not terribly important problem.
"The mandatory fee that was part of the Tennessee plan, coupled with the perception that illegal downloading doesn't pose a specific problem for the schools, prompted system officials to table the idea, said Bob Adams, the Regents' vice chancellor for business and finance," according to the Associated Press.
So far, not a single school that we are aware of has agreed to pay full price for a music download service, as an option to push students away from downloading copyrighted files on peer-to-peer networks.
This fact eludes numerous media members who have been attracted to Napster's deals with Penn State and the University of Rochester. The two schools provide Napster at no cost to students, giving them unlimited access to tethered downloads or "rented music." (The students have to pay 99 cents per song to burn music onto a CD, put it on an MP3 player or keep it after their university time is done.)
The trick is that Napster has cut a sweet deal with Penn State and University of Rochester in order to promote the schools as models for others to follow. Both schools, because of their pilot status, receive Napster at massive discounts - close to free. And still, they warn student IT costs may go up in the future as a result of the service.
Other schools, such as those in Tennessee, can expect to pay much more for Napster or similar services.
The Register calculated that the 14 universities with students sued this week by the RIAA could well pay $23m per year in music costs.
The students in Tennessee would pay $1.8m per month for Napster - money likely better spent on nurturing young minds rather than Britney Spears' next vacation. ®
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