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Grokster to be reborn by year's end

Mashboxx merger pulls P2Per's fat out of fire

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Grokster is set to be reborn as a fully legitimate P2P service before the end of the year, The Register has learned.

Sources familiar with the service's operations revealed that Grokster 3G, as the new service will be branded, is scheduled to be released as a public beta before 31 December. Currently, the Grokster web site simply says the software is "coming soon".

The new software is understood to be derived from the code that Mashboxx is developing for its legal but as-yet-unlaunched P2P service.

Indeed, confirming earlier speculation that Grokster and Mashboxx were in acquisition talks, our source claimed the two reached an agreement to combine forces in June this year - just a month before the US Supreme Court was to rule that P2P companies who promote copyright infringement could be brought to book by copyright holders.

Mashboxx is believed to have initiated the settlement talks between Grokster and both the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) before the Supremes' ruling. That settlement saw Grokster go offline this week, its homepage replaced with a message admitting its status as an illegal operation.

"There are legal services for downloading music and movies," the page reads. "This service is not one of them."

Mashboxx, meanwhile, is working on its own P2P software, which incorporates Snocap's tracking system to detect what files are being shared and whether the musical content contained therein has been licensed for sharing. The company is nearing the release of its first public beta, the source told The Register.

For the immediate future, Mashboxx and Grokster will remain separate brands, even though both are now run by the same company and the two clients are, to all intents and purposes, the same. Grokster has the mind-share, but is tarnished by its past. Mashboxx, on the other hand, has yet to establish itself as a P2P player. Mashboxx is also in the business of providing core technology to other P2P services, and that may be how the brand is exclusively positioned in the future. ®

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