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April 2, 2007
Sacramento State Bulletin

University students ‘get legal’ when it comes to music downloads

Ruckus, a music-sharing website available to University students for free, provides a legal way for students to download music.
Ruckus, a music-sharing website available to University students for free, provides a legal way for students to download music.

College students seem to have a leg up on the rest of the population when it comes to Internet familiarity. They have proven to be the most wired and Internet-savvy demographic group in the nation, with more than 90 percent owning their own computers and spending more than 35 hours per week online.

They also can get themselves in trouble when they download music from peer-to-peer, music sharing websites. The Recording Industry Association of America has threatened to sue university students or personnel who illegally download music. Because of that, colleges across the country are promoting programs that encourage the use of legal music downloading.

Sacramento State is helping its students “get legal” by offering a free legal music subscription service. The service, titled “Ruckus” and available at, allows students to download an unlimited number of songs to their Microsoft Windows computers, where they can listen to it anytime they wish without having to stay connected to the Internet. The music will be available on the students’ computer as long as they are members of Ruckus.

The service is free to all college students with an e-mail address ending in ".edu." Ruckus currently offers a music library of more than 2 million tethered tracks.

“We refer the downloaded tracks as ‘tethered’ because they are attached to the subscriber’s computer through Digital Rights Management, a technology used on Windows operating systems to protect copyrighted media,” says Andrew Singletary, an information technology consultant in the University Union. “When music is tethered, it can’t be burned onto a CD or copied to a portable music player. Subscribers do have the ability to associate their account with up to two computers and pay a premium fee to transfer music to a compatible portable player.”

To transfer songs to a compatible digital music player, students pay Ruckus a $19.95 per-semester fee, rather than a per-song fee. 

“I’m always on my computer listening to music,” says Sacramento State student Aaron Reason. “I didn’t know of a cheap, easy way to download music until Ruckus became available. It’s easy and quick to download songs and stand-up comedians’ acts. I’ve never had a problem finding my favorite bands.”

After graduation, students can maintain their Ruckus membership as alumni. An $8.99 monthly fee will apply for members who wish to download songs.

For more information, visit or call Singletary at 278-3347.



California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
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