Finally, an Answer to the Age-Old "I’m Bored of My Music" Problem

Some of you are probably already laughing at this post. You’re probably thinking: “Hahaha, Jacon, please. I’ve been listening to Pandora for ages.” Well, I too am a Pandora addict (for you virgins: www.pandora.com – all is explained), but recently Pandora’s #1 failing, the inability to bring it along, has begun to bother me more than usual.

Wesleyan, in its infinite wisdom, offers the solution. You may or may not have heard, but last fall Wesleyan subscribed to the Ruckus music service, an online
library which licenses its content to universities and the like. Check it out here: http://www.wesleyan.edu/its/ruckus/

Now you’re probably thinking: “Jacon, this is stupid. It only works for PCs, I can’t burn CDs and it won’t go on my iPod.” Well, unfortunately you are right about it only working for PCs. (If you’re a Mac person, consider running Windows through Boot Camp or Parallels Workstation – I honestly think it would be worth it just for the access to this music.) The bright side, however is that you’re WRONG about being unable to do what you like with the music. All you need is a little tool called FairUse4WM. It will strip the Digital Rights Management crap that’s attached to all the Ruckus music downloads. Get it here.

Now, this all probably seems really complicated, but actually it’s not at all. A one-time installation of FairUse4WM will allow you to strip all the music you download from Ruckus, and with a fairly simple user interface to boot. Afterwards, iTunes will automatically convert the WMA files when you add them to your library.

“What’s the catch?” you ask? It’s LEGAL. That’s right – as long as you are stripping the DRM so that you can listen to it by yourself, on your iPod, with your earbuds – it’s legal. If you do it so you can share the music, or play it loud enough for your roommate/RA/local squirrels to hear, well that’s when you may want to watch out for the RIAA. Think of it this way: Wesleyan is paying for this service, which means you are paying for this service. Make use of it!

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32 thoughts on “Finally, an Answer to the Age-Old "I’m Bored of My Music" Problem

  1. Anonymous

    “There’s no way Ruckus can support itself with ads.”en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruckus_NetworkThat’s exactly what it is doing. And exactly what so many similar services are doing. Companies will pay a lot of money for ad space that specifically targets students at over 80 colleges and university. A lot of money.Yes Wesleyan faculty and alums need to pay money to access the service, but none of that cost is transferred to the students.Wesleyan, as an institution, is not paying for this. Ruckus is not touching our endowment or causing any spike, however small, in our tuition. This service is free.

  2. Anonymous

    “There’s no way Ruckus can support itself with ads.”

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruckus_Network

    That’s exactly what it is doing. And exactly what so many similar services are doing. Companies will pay a lot of money for ad space that specifically targets students at over 80 colleges and university. A lot of money.

    Yes Wesleyan faculty and alums need to pay money to access the service, but none of that cost is transferred to the students.

    Wesleyan, as an institution, is not paying for this. Ruckus is not touching our endowment or causing any spike, however small, in our tuition. This service is free.

  3. Jacon

    Well, like you said, I think it is an extremely gray area. Certainly it is a violation of Ruckus’ EULA, but whether that is legal or not is another question. My understanding is that such an adaptation does not become illegal until it is used to share the copyrighted work.And to the other question, I obviously don’t know precisely, but I have to agree with Noa – the “math,” as I phrased it (which includes Wesleyan “subscribing” to this service, and faculty/staff paying while students get it free) seems to add up to Wesleyan paying something for this. Nothing else really makes sense, I think.

  4. Jacon

    Well, like you said, I think it is an extremely gray area. Certainly it is a violation of Ruckus’ EULA, but whether that is legal or not is another question. My understanding is that such an adaptation does not become illegal until it is used to share the copyrighted work.

    And to the other question, I obviously don’t know precisely, but I have to agree with Noa – the “math,” as I phrased it (which includes Wesleyan “subscribing” to this service, and faculty/staff paying while students get it free) seems to add up to Wesleyan paying something for this. Nothing else really makes sense, I think.

  5. Anonymous

    Jacon, your last line is still intensely misleading. Your comment just said faculty and staff can pay out of their own pocket for Ruckus, and it’s free to students.In that case, “The math” is quite simple, and it points to me (and you and all students) paying nothing for ruckus.

  6. Anonymous

    Jacon, your last line is still intensely misleading. Your comment just said faculty and staff can pay out of their own pocket for Ruckus, and it’s free to students.

    In that case, “The math” is quite simple, and it points to me (and you and all students) paying nothing for ruckus.

  7. Anonymous

    The legality is, at best, questionable. While RIAA and other copyright holders do overstate their claims somewhat (Those FBI warnings at the beginning of movies are mostly scare tactic bullshit), I’m pretty sure this is at least a violation of Ruckus’ EULA:”License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Ruckus hereby grants to End User a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicenseable license during the term of this Agreement to use the Product during each academic year solely for End User’s use. End User acknowledges that no right is granted to End User to modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works or distribute the Product.“Which is probably in keeping with Title 17 of the United States Code, which basically stipulates that any duplication of a copyrighted work be made strictly for archival purposes, and that adaptation of a work should not circumvent technological barriers to copyright infringement as they were implemented by the copyright holder.So while I personally believe that copyright law needs some reform, and that the risk of prosecution for such a crime is low, DRM removal is not entirely aboveboard. Then again, a lot of RIAA’s lawsuits are of a similarly dubious legal standing. (Microsoft’s suit against the authors of FairUse4WM was more legitimate, although they were forced to drop it when they realized that they were never actually going to be able to serve the suit to a bunch of anonymous hackers living overseas.)

  8. Anonymous

    The legality is, at best, questionable. While RIAA and other copyright holders do overstate their claims somewhat (Those FBI warnings at the beginning of movies are mostly scare tactic bullshit), I’m pretty sure this is at least a violation of Ruckus’ EULA:

    “License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Ruckus hereby grants to End User a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicenseable license during the term of this Agreement to use the Product during each academic year solely for End User’s use. End User acknowledges that no right is granted to End User to modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works or distribute the Product.

    Which is probably in keeping with Title 17 of the United States Code, which basically stipulates that any duplication of a copyrighted work be made strictly for archival purposes, and that adaptation of a work should not circumvent technological barriers to copyright infringement as they were implemented by the copyright holder.

    So while I personally believe that copyright law needs some reform, and that the risk of prosecution for such a crime is low, DRM removal is not entirely aboveboard. Then again, a lot of RIAA’s lawsuits are of a similarly dubious legal standing. (Microsoft’s suit against the authors of FairUse4WM was more legitimate, although they were forced to drop it when they realized that they were never actually going to be able to serve the suit to a bunch of anonymous hackers living overseas.)

  9. Noa

    Wait, what? There’s no way Ruckus can support itself with ads… unless they get music pretty damn cheap. Is there something I’m missing?

  10. Noa

    Wait, what? There’s no way Ruckus can support itself with ads… unless they get music pretty damn cheap. Is there something I’m missing?

  11. Anonymous

    maybe i’m just an idiot, but how does it actually work? i keep getting messages about it not finding keys.

  12. Anonymous

    maybe i’m just an idiot, but how does it actually work? i keep getting messages about it not finding keys.

  13. Anonymous

    i’m trying to install fairuse4mw and it says i have to close all media windows but i don’t have anything else opened

  14. Anonymous

    i’m trying to install fairuse4mw and it says i have to close all media windows but i don’t have anything else opened

  15. Jacon

    Right… but it also said that faculty and staff members need to pay $5.99 to access the same service. You do the math.Also, I’m looking for updated download links.. I found fix-2 successfully the other day, and Fix 1 is available if you scroll to the bottom of the link I posted and download FairUseCommander (the commander part doesn’t work, but the FairUse4WM does). Will update.

  16. Jacon

    Right… but it also said that faculty and staff members need to pay $5.99 to access the same service. You do the math.

    Also, I’m looking for updated download links.. I found fix-2 successfully the other day, and Fix 1 is available if you scroll to the bottom of the link I posted and download FairUseCommander (the commander part doesn’t work, but the FairUse4WM does). Will update.

  17. Jacon

    Yeah I can’t find a reliable link to FairUseCommander, but FairUse4WM does allow you to do as many files as you like. Commander is just a nice front-end with some file-renaming features. And yes, the RIAA sued the creator but had to drop the suit because the program is perfectly legal.. again, it’s how you use it. As for borderline/questionable legality: try not to focus on what Ruckus wants you to pay for (everything.) Focus on the law: copyright infringement only occurs with the sharing of single-licensed music or the possession of unlicensed music. Hence the beautiful gray area created here.

  18. Jacon

    Yeah I can’t find a reliable link to FairUseCommander, but FairUse4WM does allow you to do as many files as you like. Commander is just a nice front-end with some file-renaming features. And yes, the RIAA sued the creator but had to drop the suit because the program is perfectly legal.. again, it’s how you use it.

    As for borderline/questionable legality: try not to focus on what Ruckus wants you to pay for (everything.) Focus on the law: copyright infringement only occurs with the sharing of single-licensed music or the possession of unlicensed music. Hence the beautiful gray area created here.

  19. Sam

    I wouldn’t say it’s legal, per se. I would say it’s of borderline-questionable legality. Especially if you’re putting music on your music player, which Ruckus wants you to pay for to do otherwise. And the RIAA, et al have done their best to sue the creator of FairUse4WM.By the way, there’s also a program called FairUseCommander which allows you to do multiple files at once, instead of one at a time. It’s also kind of hard to find, and there are lots of dead links to it. I may put it on the network.

  20. Sam

    I wouldn’t say it’s legal, per se. I would say it’s of borderline-questionable legality. Especially if you’re putting music on your music player, which Ruckus wants you to pay for to do otherwise. And the RIAA, et al have done their best to sue the creator of FairUse4WM.

    By the way, there’s also a program called FairUseCommander which allows you to do multiple files at once, instead of one at a time. It’s also kind of hard to find, and there are lots of dead links to it. I may put it on the network.

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