Ruckus Network, a company that boasts a collection of more than 2.5 million digital music files, began offering free and unlimited downloads to anyone with a “.edu” e-mail address Jan. 22, 2007. The service can be accessed at www.ruckusnetwork.com.
p. According to a Feb. 1 article on Podtech.net, major record labels such as Jive Records have authorized Ruckus to offer their music in order to reach college students. The record labels hope this preemptive action will reduce the music piracy that runs rampant on many college campuses.
p. Ruckus acquires its music collection from record labels and distributors. Each time a track is played, Ruckus pays the record label, making downloading legal according to the Ruckus website. Ruckus supports itself through paid advertisements.
p. Students are able to download full-length tracks and albums to their computers. To gain access, students have to register on the website and download the Ruckus Player.
p. Once registered, students can create and post playlists, see which songs are most popular on their campuses and comment on albums through the Ruckus login page.
p. The downloaded media, whether visual or audio, is not permanent and cannot be copied onto a CD or MP3 player without a paid membership.
p. According to the Jan. 31 online edition of the Arkansas Traveler, Ruckus contains a variety of movies, television shows and music videos. The site offers a “Ruckus-To-Go” option for $20 a semester, and a deal for unlimited movie access, “Video-On-Demand,” for $15 per semester.
p. One complaint commonly noted in articles on Ruckus is its incompatibility with iTunes and iPods. This is because Ruckus does not have a contractual agreement with Apple and the existing software does not support the security features that Ruckus requires, according to the official Ruckus Blog.
Ruckus also became the center of an advertising scandal on the social networking site Facebook.com last fall.
p. According to an Oct. 7, 2006 article in the Washington Post, a Ruckus marketing employee allegedly used the fake persona “Brody Ruckus” to create the group “If this group reaches 100,000 my girlfriend will have a threesome” as a ploy to create the largest group on Facebook.com. After 100,000 students had joined the group, “Brody Ruckus” added a new promise to post pictures of the encounter if 300,000 people joined.
p. The Washington Post reported that at the group’s peak, before Facebook.com shut the group down, Ruckus had access to the e-mail addresses of the more than 300,000 students who had joined the group. Potentially, the group could have served as a platform for the company to advertise itself to hundreds of thousands of students. Ruckus has declined to comment on the alleged incident.