updated 7/19/2005 2:48:59 PM ET 2005-07-19T18:48:59

The University of California and California State University systems have struck deals to offer their students legal music and movie downloading services to curb rampant piracy.

The agreement with Cdigix Inc. covers roughly 600,000 students at 13 UC and 23 Cal State campuses, making it among the largest such deals to date, the company announced Monday.

“We’re doing this because we do recognize that there is illegal file sharing of intellectual property,” said David Walker, director of advanced technology at the University of California. “We felt we should do something to encourage legal services.”

Universities have been under pressure from the entertainment industry to provide alternatives to students using school computer networks to illegally swap songs and movies online.

Individual UC and Cal State campuses must decide whether to offer the Cdigix service and how to pay for it. The company, based in Englewood, Colo., charges $3 a month for the music service and $5.99 a month for the video service.

More than 50 colleges and universities in the United States offer licensed music services to their students, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

The California university systems also are negotiating with other music and video providers, including Napster, Sony Corp. and Mindawn.

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