UW + Napster + DRM

Oren writes about UW’s agreement to pipe free music into the dorms. Free as in beer, that is. Looks like an interesting approach. Of course, whatever the DRM scheme, it’s possible to record the music, even if it means sticking a microphone in the computer speakers (which it won’t). But the thing is, this is a supply side approach at stopping people from trading mp3s. Sure, it also means those living in the dorms are unlikely to be buying CDs, but I think the music industry realizes at this point that CD album sales are a lost cause.

This seems to be a relatively happy outcome, and I’ll be curious to see how the students take to it. On the other hand, it seems an ideal way for Napster to hook students on their service, which charging the University a (nominal?) fee. One wonders, at least a bit, whether this is the best way for UW to be spending their IT dollar. Then again, I am guessing it pays for itself if it gets them out of legal fees from DMCA violations. (That is, I suppose, assuming that the campus does not become the center of the DRM cracking universe.)

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