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American U. to Switch Legal Downloading Services

American University is waving goodbye to Ruckus, the music- and movie-downloading service, but that doesn’t mean the institution is giving up altogether on legal file swapping.

The university offered students free subscriptions to Ruckus this spring, as part of a semester-long test of the service. But the returns were less than favorable:  Almost half of the students surveyed by campus officials hadn’t bothered to try out the program, and more than one-third said unequivocally it should not be offered to students in the coming academic year. Ruckus’s fancier features—including movie downloads and social-networking tools—weren’t able to win students over, according to Julie E. Weber, the university’s director of housing and dining programs. "Students just want their music," she said.

And American will still try to give them that music. Over the summer the university asked a small team of students to test other legal downloading services—including Napster, Cdigix, and Rhapsody—and campus officials plan to announce a deal with one of those companies soon.

In the meantime, the university has also decided to jettison a network filter, designed by the company Audible Magic, intended to block illegal song swapping.

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