Ruckus service offers students online library of more than 3 million songs, videos
The nation’s most advanced statewide network for education and research – OSCnet – now provides many Ohio college and university students access to an online service that allows downloading of millions of songs and videos legally and for free.
Students at participating OSCnet-member institutions can use their valid campus e-mail addresses (ending in .edu) to access the advertisement-supported, virus-free Ruckus service. To date, a total of more than 21,000 students at the University of Akron, Ashland University, Heidelberg College, John Carroll University, Marietta College, The Ohio State University and Wittenberg University are using OSCnet to access the service and have downloaded more than 7.3 million songs.
“Ruckus requires a minimum number of subscriptions to their service to justify installing a free music server directly on a campus,” said Pankaj Shah, senior director of technology infrastructure at the Columbus-based Ohio Supercomputer Center. “Some smaller institutions are interested in the service, and in some cases a college’s total enrollment isn’t enough to meet the minimum. Also, some of our large-enrollment members aren’t sure how quickly subscriptions from their institution will rise to warrant installing a free Ruckus server on their campus.”
“Several of member-institutions approached my staff for a collaborative solution that would allow them access to the service. We secured a co-location agreement for Ruckus to place one of their free servers in Columbus directly on the high-speed OSCnet backbone so that several campuses could combine subscriptions to meet the minimum. This arrangement provides participating campuses with the benefits of access to legal content, faster download speeds, and decreased commodity Internet usage.”
Ruckus music and video content is downloaded to servers and updated regularly, allowing students to access fresh content directly from a local server over a campus network or OSCnet.
“Campus Internet usage for music downloads, during peak times, is reduced,” said Jim Miller, lead network engineer for the University of Akron. “Actual download of music from the OSCnet server is extremely fast, since it occurs at our network speeds and is not limited by commodity Internet bandwidth congestion.”
Students can sign up at the Ruckus website (www.ruckus.com), install the Ruckus music player and then browse, play and load songs from more than 3.2 million selections onto their computers. Ruckus also offers free movies, videos and television shows and hosts an online social networking site (like MySpace or Facebook).
Students can listen to music on up to two different computers for one month before being prompted to renew songs by logging into their Ruckus account. For a small fee each semester, students can transfer songs from their computer hard drive to a portable MP3 player, and Ruckus also allows students to buy songs for 99 cents apiece.
Some large institutions – including the University of Toledo, University of Dayton, Kent State University and Ohio University – generate enough campus subscriptions to host their own free Ruckus servers. Others started out accessing the OSCnet Ruckus server until their subscriptions surpassed the minimum number and then had a server installed on campus.
Ruckus has subscribers at more than 1,000 schools nationwide, but has exclusive partnerships with 187 affiliated schools.
More than half of college students in the U.S. frequently download music illegally, according to the Recording Industry Institute of America's Web site. The site quotes an analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year.
In August, the Recording Industry Association of America sent 2,400 pre-litigation letters to 58 colleges across the U.S. The letters offer students the option of paying a settlement fee based on the number of tunes the student allegedly downloaded illegally or taking the risk of a potentially more expensive lawsuit.
"As of February 6, 2009, RUCKUS is no longer in business and no longer active on the OARnet network.