UK File-Sharing Service Gets Label Backing

from the pay-2-play dept

Record label Sony BMG has licensed its catalog to UK “music service provider” Playlouder to include in its file-sharing network. Playlouder, which says it will commercially launch next month, has been developing a label-friendly P2P system that works by it becoming a broadband ISP — charging users a comparable rate to normal ISPs for a 1-megabit pipe — and keeping (or attempting to keep, anyway) all P2P traffic within its network. It’s unclear exactly how the system works, but reports say there aren’t any restrictions on file types or formats, and the company says each file will have a fingerprint that allows for tracking and control, as well as the payment of royalties to the labels. There are still some unanswered questions about the service: what happens to a user’s music if they switch to a different ISP? How will the service prevent the swapping of files they haven’t licensed? And biggest of all, if they’re blocking P2P traffic, what else will record labels lean on them to block? Another “legal” P2P network, Mashboxx, will also launch soon in the US. It, too, is working with Sony BMG and is pitching its founder’s relationship with the label’s CEO Andrew Lack as a pairing of two visionaries — though this is the same Andrew Lack that said just five months ago he’d rather sue P2P companies than try to figure out how to use the technology to adapt his company’s failing business model. Update: Cory Doctorow’s done some back-and-forth with Playlouder and has some more details on the system.

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