Universities have been known to forbid illegal file sharing on their campuses, but the University of Oxford has decided to ban a music-sharing program that’s perfectly legal. Spotify, a popular music-streaming service that uses peer-to-peer technology, is now prohibited on the campus network because it was simply consuming too much bandwidth.
Ruth Collier, a spokeswoman for the university, explained that while students on campus have free Internet access, it is intended primarily for educational purposes. Ms. Collier said that although the Internet holds a range of recreational possibilities, the university is not obliged to provide a free music service if doing so slows down the entire network.
“I think students wish they could [use Spotify], but they’re concious that Oxford University provides them with an enormous amount of free utilities, and hopefully they don’t take that for granted,” Ms. Collier said.
The university prohibits the use of all peer-to-peer file-sharing software on its network, but it does make a few exceptions. For instance, the university’s Web site outlines specific rules for configuring Skype, the online phone and video service, as well as World of Warcraft, the popular online game, to comply with university standards.