College systems seek bids for Net services

UC system sings the praises of online music

The U. of California and California State U. systems are seeking proposals from Internet music and video companies for entertainment services to be provided to their 33 campuses.

The UC system president’s office is coordinating the effort. A panel of students will evaluate the various services offered, and the best few will then be made available to universities in both systems that want to set them up for students.

With more than 600,000 students and nearly 200,000 faculty and staff as potential customers, companies such as Napster, Cdigix, Ruckus Networks and MusicNet are sure to court the university systems aggressively.

All four companies have already signed contracts with other individual colleges to provide online music or movies at a discounted bulk price for the schools and little or no cost to students. New move reps the first time an entire state university system has put out such a request, however.

“Campus culture has changed, so more and more people want these online services, and we’re also all looking for ways to deal with illegal file-sharing that’s wrong and increases our bandwidth costs,” noted Abby Lunardini, a spokeswoman for the UC president’s office.

Move is sure to please the piracy fighters at RIAA and MPAA, who have touted services that offer music and video to college students at discount prices as a way to combat illegal downloading.

Separately, UCLA and other state universities have been bowing to entertainment industry pressure by attempting to limit student usage of peer-to-peer networks.