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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee has started the second half of a one-year pilot program offering free and low-cost Napster music downloads to UT students living in on-campus housing.

The program, which began last January, features a dedicated Napster file server located on campus to assure quick download speeds. Students can choose the free version, which gives them access to the full range of songs available on the network, but they have to listen to the music on their computers.

Students also can choose to pay $5 per month and save music files to their portable MP3 players.

The test is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Office of Information Technology, and the Student Government Association.

UT Associate Dean of Students Ron Laffitte said the test has so far gone well. “We started last January, and the response was good, but we really wanted to see how this fall goes in terms of usage,” Laffitte said. “Students can sign up for a new Napster account or reactivate their account from last spring.”

UT offered the service, Laffitte said, because of concerns over the spread of illegal file-sharing that could injure UT’s computer network.

“Downloading music is widespread among young adults, and we know there are students who have gotten viruses on their computers from illegal file-sharing programs,” he said. “This was a great way to provide what we felt was a safe service.”

Brice Bible, UT interim chief information officer and assistant vice president for information technology, said the plan was to keep student costs low, to encourage them to try the service.

“There is no cost to students who opt for the basic plan and a nominal fee for those who upgrade their service,” Bible said.

Funds from the student activities fee pay the contracted cost of $2 per student per month for the basic plan. The student technology fee paid for the computer server dedicated to Napster online traffic.

Bible said if the Napster contract is not renewed, OIT will use that server to assist other student computer needs.

“Once our office and the dean of students office evaluate the program, we will make a joint recommendation to Chancellor Loren Crabtree on whether to make this a permanent service, and whether to extend it to students living off-campus,” Bible said.

For more information on the UT-Napster service, visit

Ron Laffite (865-974-3179)
Brice Bible (865-974-0320)
Charles Primm (865-974-5180)