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UC Berkeley Press Release

Students offered online discount to encourage responsible music downloading

– Students at the University of California, Berkeley, will have discounted access to an online music service under a deal announced today (Tuesday, Aug. 24).

Students will have unlimited access to RealNetworks' Rhapsody music library of more than 725,000 songs for $2 a month instead of the standard $9.95 a month. They will continue to pay 79 cents per song to download the music.

UC Berkeley began offering the service on Saturday to its 32,650 full-time students. The service is free through October 31 for undergraduates, while graduate students who want to use the service will immediately pay the reduced $2 a month fee.

"Students get a great deal and it will save the university a lot of money if it is successful," said Cliff Frost, director of Communication and Network Services. The Rhapsody service is efficient and its use is less likely to clog up the university network, Frost said.

RealNetworks reached a similar arrangement with the University of Minnesota, company officials announced Tuesday.

The deal comes in the wake of a crackdown from the entertainment industry on illegal downloads of copyrighted material.

Last year, UC Berkeley officials received about 300 notices that students were illegally downloading material on the residence hall computer network, up from 263 notices in the 2002-2003 academic school year, according to Dedra Chamberlin, senior information technology policy analyst for Residential and Student Service Programs. The Recording Industry Association of America sued four UC Berkeley students as individuals.

The 6,000 UC Berkeley students who are part of the on-campus residence hall computing network will be briefed on the new Rhapsody agreement as part of the orientation session they attend before receiving a free Internet connection.

The orientation session also covers the legal aspects of file sharing and the limits placed on Internet traffic, such as downloading music. Students are required to stay within a 5-gigabyte-per-week limit on uploading and downloading files. That's an amount roughly equal to downloading four movies, 200 songs and 1,000 e-mail messages.

If a student goes over that limit more than one time within a week, the student forfeits his or her Internet connection for the rest of the week. After that, they lose the connection as soon as they go over the limit.

"We will continue to focus on education and policy enforcement to discourage illegal file-sharing of copyrighted material in the residence halls. Unfortunately, we know that some students will continue to take risks and engage in illegal file sharing. To deal with these students, we will continue to be diligent in enforcing our copyright policies," Chamberlin said.

Students who wish to read more about Rhapsody and/or sign up for the service can visit the page http://rhapsody.berkeley.edu.

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