Students will ignore the Ruckus

All the best things in life are free.

Especially in college, when most of us don’t have much money. Free things, especially food, always brighten up

my day.

Legally downloading music for free has never been available, until now. But is the music really free?

Starting Monday, USF will offer a free music downloading service for students called Ruckus.

With Ruckus, students have access to over 3 million songs that cover artists from Lil’ Jon to Johnny Cash.

All downloads are free for USF students because the site earns its money through advertising. Ruckus is successfully in use at other universities, including Princeton, Georgia Tech and the University of Southern California.

Ruckus is a response to the music industry backlash against illegal downloads. The Recording Industry Association of America has sent over 570 complaints to USF for piracy.

Eighty of these complaints received legal action from RIAA. Some have settled out of court, but the RIAA has filed lawsuits against the 40 who refuse to do so, according to Thursday’s Oracle.

The St. Petersburg Times reported USF to be ranked 23 of 25 on the list for movie piracy, as complied by the Motion Picture Association of America; it was the only Florida school on the list. USF is also ranked 11th in the nation for piracy of music, according to the Tampa Tribune.

If you’ll excuse the pun, Ruckus is the University’s plan to stop all of this ruckus from the RIAA.

I don’t think it will work as planned, though. Ruckus does have a bad side that takes away the reason most students download music in the first place.

With Ruckus, the music is protected, so the free versions cannot be played or transported anywhere else. Like most students, when I purchase a new CD or download a new song, I immediately put in on my mp3 player or burn it onto a CD. If students wish to put music from Ruckus on an mp3 player, they must upgrade to Ruckus-To-Go for about $20 per semester. If they wish to burn the song to a CD, they must purchase the song for 99 cents.

Ruckus is not Mac-compatible, so Apple users would have to download an additional program that allows the computer to run Windows programs on a Mac. Moreover, the free subscription expires when a student graduates; it costs $9 a month afterward.

This is not enough to keep students hooked. When most students listen to music, it’s not in front of a computer – it’s when they’re on the Bull Runner, walking to Cooper Hall, making their way to the Marshall Center, or in between (and sometimes during) classes while carrying a portable device.

Ruckus will be great until it gets too annoying to handle. It will very likely become pointless for students when it cannot be transported for free. Moreover, if students have to start paying for Ruckus, what’s the difference between them and other sources with bigger libraries? iTunes offers the same prices, and their gallery is over 5 million songs strong.

The biggest thing working against Ruckus is that it is not iPod-compatible, period. Even if the music is bought to transfer to an mp3 player, it will not play on an iPod. Although I am not an Apple owner, every person I know with an mp3 player is. Many students own Mac computers, but a much bigger percentage own iPods.

According to, Apple has sold over 100 million iPods since its release in 2001. When I walk to class, it appears that most of them are on this campus. If a student has to pay for music from Ruckus, and then can’t put it on an iPod – which the student likely owns – the popularity of Ruckus will wane and USF will be back to

square one.

This is not an endorsement for illegal file sharing. Not only does that rip off money from artists, but it’s also illegal. As illustrated by the lawsuits and settlements of USF students alone, it can cost a pretty penny. Illegal file sharing shouldn’t become an alternative to Ruckus, but if an alternative is to be made to illegal file sharing, it should at least be more appealing.

Amy Mariani is a

sophomore majoring in mass