MIT Library Access to Music Project

In November 2001 MIT Student Keith Winstein had an idea to curb illegal file sharing on the MIT campus. His proposal to create a legal library of audio recordings and motion pictures online eventually became known as the Library Access to Music Project (LAMP). To avoid legal pitfalls the system would allow only one patron at a time to access an audio or video recording, just as if the items were actually being checked out of a physical library.

LAMP originally purchased 48,000 MP3 files from a Seattle company and planned to make a remotely controlled stream from those files accessible to students over the MIT cable TV network but in the Fall of 2003 it was announced that the company did not have rights to resell the music after all and the project voluntarily pulled the music while they regrouped. The final (and current) solution was to use a series of donated SteetFire Sound Labs RBX1600 controllers which allow ten consumer audio CD jukeboxes to be programmed over a web interface.

Students can sign in to the LAMP website and program up to thirty minutes worth of music which is subsequently played over one of sixteen MIT cable TV channels. By transmitting the audio in a non-digital format the students are able to use existing licensing agreements originally put in place for the campus radio stations which makes the entire system legal. Essentially this project allows students to program their own thirty minute “radio show” on one of sixteen channels via a web interface.

More information is available at the MIT LAMP web site.

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