Universities and iPods now

Another post on Slashdot on universities and digital music– this time on Duke University handing out iPods to its entire freshmen class. Like we need to give prospective students more reason not to come to Stanford.

I wonder though if this kind of stuff continues, whether the RIAA and the MPAA will make a stink that universities are just encouraging illegal downloading of copyrighted materials. I mean, unlike the recent Napster deals, giving out iPods doesn’t discourage illegally downloading music. Duke is distributing the portable digital music players as “part of an initiative to encourage creative uses of technology in education and campus life.” Which makes me smirk because that’s what many of us have been saying is the reason for college campuses to have liberal computing and network usage policies— to promote the university’s educational mission by allowing experimentation and self-learning, especially the exploration of “creative uses of technology.” And many people would consider file-sharing, breaking DRM systems, and experimenting with what you can get on and off portable storage devices like iPods certainly as “creative uses of technology.”

Or maybe the next big iPod security risk will be violation of the Honor Code. I’m assuming that even though Duke will encourage iPods to be an integral part of coursework, the powers-that-be will have to ban them from exams (much like how many have had to ban cell phones and in a previous generation, graphing calcultors).

Links:
Slashdot post
Duke News & Communications release