Feeds

Mashboxx opens beta test scheme

Legal P2P client uses Shawn Fanning's Snocap, with added EMI

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Exclusive Snocap, Napster creator Shawn Fanning's attempt to build a legal P2P music-sharing network, has signed major recording company EMI.

Separately, Mashboxx, the first P2P software to leverage Snocap's tracking technology, launched a public beta-test programme today, calling on interested parties to sign up to express their interest in participating.

The British giant joins Universal and Sony-BMG as major-label users of the system, which allows them to track anyone sharing their content and force downloaders to cough up for the privilege.

More recently, a stack of prominent US independent labels, including Gammon Records and Absolutely Kosher Records, along with Artemis Records, Streetbeat Records/Pandisc/Kriztal Entertainment, Nacional Records, Nettwerk Records, OM Records/Deep Concentration, Reality Entertainment and TVT Records.

Snocap announced its service in December 2004, though the service has yet to go live through P2P providers. Once such is Mashboxx, the company set up by former Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso, which uses Fanning's technology to reveal which shared songs are being monitored on behalf of Snocap's label customers.

Download a track that is, and Mashboxx's software swaps in a DRM-protected version that invites you to pay to listen, to burn or whatever usage the copyright holder permits. In all other respects, it's a standard P2P app, able to access all of the major P2P networks and, crucially, trade content not monitored by Snocap just as any other P2P client does.

It's an interesting approach, in that it targets the downloader rather than the sharer. The goal is not to stamp out sharing - which is, for now, the Recording Industry Ass. of America's policy - but to tap the system as a way of reaching new paying customers.

As always, there are ways around it, but it works on the principle the most downloaders want an easy life and will find it more convenient to cough up 99 cents to hear the track they've just downloaded in stereo and without an annoying voice butting in mid-track to suggest they pay for it. And it's got to be better than sifting through countless bizarrely-titled MP3s that might be what the downloader is after, but probably isn't. In any case, Snocap is smart enough to figure most modifications of the original song and highlight it as a 'protected' track.

Snocap's approach is also different in that it puts the emphasis on labels to take responsibility themselves for the protection of their content, rather than create of closed-world sharing networks - "P2P for pussies", as one industry executive describes them - which are totally safe but appeal to relatively few folk.

The stance of Universal, Sony-BMG and now EMI suggests that major labels are now willing to engage with the P2P world and to take advantage of the opportunity to turn illegal downloaders into legal ones it offers.

With so much of their catalogues being traded already, labels are encouraged to get Snocap to track as much if it as possible, which should make it easier for them to release a lot more old and/or obscure content and still make it pay, because it's made accessible - yes, labels can 'share' their own content too - to far more potential downloaders than even Apple can offer right now. ®

Related stories

Hollywood calls BitTorrent Brits to US Court
Revamped Real music service aims at Napster
MP3 zapping malware worms onto P2P network
New wave of lawsuits to hit 'illegal song-swappers'
Intel 'backs' Bertelsmann P2P project
RIAA discovers Internet2
Wippit to gain over 1m major-label tracks
Musicians 'unconcerned' about file sharing
Shawn Fanning's Snocap touts vision of P2P heaven
Grokster, Sony BMG to do legit P2P service?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.