More than one third of US colleges will block students from accessing Napster, the controversial music swapping site, as the new academic year begins this week.
According to research from Gartner, 34 per cent of colleges have banned Napster including fee paying colleges Yale, Notre Dame and Seton Hall, and the universities of Arizona State, Georgia State and Texas.
Those that will allow access to Napster include private colleges Duke and Stanford, and the universities of Florida, Michigan and Oregon.
Gartner also found that the campuses of some university systems do not agree on whether to ban access. The University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles will allow their students to download music, but authorities at San Diego will not.
According to a survey of 50 US public and private higher education establishments, log jams are no longer the chief reason for banning the technology as universities become more concerned with the legal and moral issues.
"This is a real-world class lesson on campuses nationwide," said P J McNealy, a senior analyst at Gartner. "This is where the school policies must address the student or consumer behaviour, and national copyright and censorship laws will help shape the outcome for the music industry."
Robert Labatt, a principal analyst at Gartner, said legal liabilities should also be a major consideration. "I would not want to be the university president who neglected to update the school policy regarding music downloads this year. Long legal battles can be costly, and one school could easily be singled out to set a legal precedent this year," he said.
Hank Barry, chief executive at Napster, said: "We are pleased that two thirds of the schools polled in the survey will allow their students to participate in the Napster community."
"On the bandwidth front, Napster is working in a variety of ways to manage bandwidth issues at college campuses. Our Bandwidth Management Resource Guide, which has been in place since June, is designed to help guide IT professionals to product-based solutions for various network architectures," he added.
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