TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Sony BMG Inks Deal With P2P Firm Mashboxx

Sony BMG Inks Deal With P2P Firm Mashboxx

Lisa Minter (
Wed, 29 Jun 2005 10:39:00 -0500

Music giant Sony BMG has finalized its deal with the legal
file-sharing network Mashboxx, two days after a U.S. court dealt a
blow to Mashboxx's unauthorized rivals such as Grokster.

Mashboxx, headed by former Grokster president Wayne Rosso, is a
peer-to-peer file-sharing network that requires users to pay for
copyrighted songs.

The companies said on Wednesday that Sony BMG songs will cost $0.99
each, in line with the price charged by Apple's market-leading iTunes
online music store. Unlike iTunes, users will be able to preview
entire tracks for a limited number of plays for free.

Mashboxx is designed to work closely with the technology company
Snocap, headed by Napster founder Shawn Fanning, which identifies
songs by their digital "fingerprint" and determines if they are

The efforts of Snocap and Mashboxx got a boost from the U.S. Supreme
Court this week. The court ruled that Grokster could be held liable
for copyright infringement, in part because it had taken no steps to
prevent users from sharing copyrighted music and movie files.

Sony BMG Chief Executive Andy Lack told Reuters after the Grokster
ruling that he had hopes that unauthorized peer-to-peer services would
change their tune by utilising technology like Snocap's.

"There's an opportunity to employ lots of different technologies that
legitimise these file-sharing services," he said. "A lot of them
didn't want to come to the table until this ruling."

Snocap has deals in place with all four major music labels --
Vivendi's Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music. Rosso said
on Wednesday that negotiations are under way with the other music
majors as well as a number of independents.

Sony BMG is a 50-50 joint venture between Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news) and

(Additional reporting by Derek Caney in New York)

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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