Students jam online

Music downloads are now free and legal for UK students, after UK became part of Ruckus Network Inc. earlier this month.

As of Sunday, 4,775 UK students registered and made more than 260,000 legal downloads. Student Government Director of Constituency Services Tyler Fleck said SG started working last year to bring the service to campus.

“Four student were subpoenaed (last year) for illegal music downloads,” Fleck said. “So we were looking for different routes for students to legally download music for free.”

SG heard about Ruckus from the SG president at Louisiana State University, Fleck said.

Chris Utah, director of campus sales for Ruckus, said the company started out as a subscription service similar to Napster, but now it is free and legal because Ruckus is funded by advertisements. Ruckus pays record labels a fee, which makes the music legal to download for students, Utah said.

“We have great relationships and great deals with the major labels and with thousands of independent labels,” Utah said. “We see a trend these days with students leaning toward independent music.”

SG did not have to pay to bring Ruckus to campus, Fleck said.

“It’s important to let people know that it really is completely free,” Fleck said. “It doesn’t use student fees, and it didn’t cost anyone a dime.”

It does cost money to transfer songs to an MP3 player, however. Utah said students can pay a flat fee of $20 per semester and download an unlimited amount of songs to any MP3 player except iPods.

Ruckus only operates under Windows and the downloads are not compatible with iPods. One problem Fleck said students have had is that Ruckus does not work on Macintosh computers. Fleck and Utah said Ruckus is working on that problem and hoped to have it fixed soon.

More than 200 college campuses use Ruckus, Utah said, and students can also use the Ruckus Facebook application. Facebook users can download the Ruckus application, and their profile will show “recently downloaded music” lists and playlists. Ruckus users can download songs from their friends’ Facebook profiles that have the application.

Students can create a Ruckus account using their UK e-mail at the Ruckus Web site (