Apple has introduced an iTunes on Campus program, offering a license to educational institutions that lets them distribute the software for download or on CDs to their students.

The move is Apple's reaction to MusicNet's recent deal with Yale and a variety of deals reached between Napster and US educational institutions that offer similar rights.

Notes on Apple's site state: "Over the past year, the illegal downloading of music by students has emerged as a top ethical, economic, and political issue for universities and colleges across the country. The iTunes on Campus program enables universities to provide students with a legal option for downloading music from the Internet and managing their digital music collection."

Authorized representatives from HE institutions can register online. Apple will then send them everything they need to distribute the software, and supporting material – such as graphics for newspaper ads and leaflets – to let students know about the service. They must also sign a site license agreement.

More information is available from Apple.