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Mashboxx appoints music industry insider as CEO

Rosso becomes chairman

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Mashboxx, the legal P2P software provider, has appointed a former Napster and Universal Music Group executive as President and CEO.

Wayne Rosso, the colourful current incumbent, will become chairman, handing over the running of the company he founded to Mike Bebel, The Register has learned.

Bebel is a something of a music-industry insider. He has been a senior VP at Universal Studios, and co-founded Universal Music Group's elabs venture. He went on to run Pressplay, the digital music distribution business set up by Universal and Sony, as CEO.

Pressplay was later acquired by Roxio, which subsequently bought the Napster name and used Pressplay as the foundation for its licensed music download business. Bebel became the Napster division's President and COO, a role he quit last year.

Despite his move to offer a legitmately licensed peer-to-peer operation, Rosso, as one-time head of P2P software provider Grokster, isn't exactly one of the music industry's best buddies. With so many P2P services now going offline in response to the Recording Industry Ass. of America's cease-and-desist requests, Rosso undoubtedly reckons it's now time to give Mashboxx a public face untarnished by the first file-sharing era and one the major labels will feel confidendent in dealing with.

Someone, in other words, who is 'us' not 'them'.

Rosso's goal with Mashboxx was to create a legal P2P service that would nonetheless co-exist with the questionable ones. The RIAA's actions, fueled by the US Supreme Court's judgement against Grokster and StreamCast, leaves Mashboxx's as-yet-unlaunched network in a vacuum, at least until other legal P2P services come on stream. Indeed, Mashboxx itself may yet prove Grokster's saviour, and we can't help wondering if that's not, at least in part, behind Rosso's change of role.

"I am completely confident that Mike will not only take us to market successfully, but build Mashboxx into a long term meaningful entity in the digital entertainment delivery realm," Rosso told The Register by email today. ®

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