N.C. university system starts pilot file-sharing program

Four schools in the University of North Carolina system will participate in a pilot program that allows students to download music, movies, and other copyrighted material on the internet for free.

Four providers–iTunes, Ruckus, Cdigix, and Rhapsody–are participating in the test, spearheaded by UNC system administrators who for years have been searching for a solution to illegal file-sharing on campus.

Universities are responsible for monitoring any computers hooked into their networks and are expected to remove copyrighted files that are shared illegally.

Students probably will have to pay a fee for the program once the testing phase ends, said Tom Warner, director of coordinated technology for the UNC system. Similar services nationwide charge students $2 to $5 a month, officials said.

The cost of the pilot program will be covered by a major music label, which Warner declined to name. He also would not specify the cost.

The pilot schools are North Carolina A&T State and Western Carolina universities, UNC Wilmington, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. If the pilot proves successful, the entire UNC system eventually would be included.

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