March 2, 2000 10:40 AM PST

Students fight Napster bans

College students bent on maintaining access to the popular Napster music software on campus networks have circulated a petition online urging administrators to lift their bans.

Already some 7,000 students have signed the petition posted on the newly formed Web site called

The site was established by an group of Indiana University students calling themselves SAUC, or Students Against University Censorship, after administrators banned Napster on campus networks, saying that it was hogging bandwidth.

CNET TV: Napster demo
CNET TV: Napster demo

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The Napster software allows students and other users to easily swap digital music recordings, called MP3s, across the Internet.

College students are arguably the most active digital music collectors. When Napster came out last summer, it was an instant hit among young people.

But the software's popularity is causing headaches for administrators across the nation.

At Oregon State University, administrators said Napster was eating 5 percent of the university's bandwidth, so more than 3,500 students connecting to the Net through the school's network were permanently shut off from using Napster's software.

The student movement to "free Napster" has gained momentum in the past few months. Already the group is claiming victory after the State University of New York overturned the ban, reinstating Napster with a cap of 5 mbps.

Napster gained notice recently when the Recording Industry Association of America sued the music software company, charging that it helps foster a black market for illegal copies of digital music.


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