Snocap Profile in NYTimes

Putting the Napster Genie Back in the Bottle

[Shawn Fanning’s] new company, called Snocap, has produced software that can enable music services to fulfill the original promise of Napster – a community of dedicated fans exchanging a wide selection of music – while monitoring the file-trading for copyrighted works. The new Grokster will still use peer-to-peer technology, which lets users download songs directly to one another’s computers. But when a user tries to get a copyrighted file, Snocap can block the download or force the user to pay for it, depending on what the artist and label want.

IF Snocap catches on – still a very big “if” because only one file-sharing service has signed up to use the software – it will vindicate Mr. Fanning’s passionately held belief that if Napster had been allowed to live, it would have become a legitimate and profitable sales outlet for artists and music companies. After the original Napster closed, the name was sold to a new company that sells licensed music under paid subscriptions and does not use peer-to-peer technology.

“Nobody has ever built a reliable peer-to-peer service, where people can really access all the music they want in one location,” Mr. Fanning said. “Once I got it into my head, I couldn’t imagine the media space without one.”

[…] His new company, called Snocap, has produced software that can enable music services to fulfill the original promise of Napster – a community of dedicated fans exchanging a wide selection of music – while monitoring the file-trading for copyrighted works. The new Grokster will still use peer-to-peer technology, which lets users download songs directly to one another’s computers. But when a user tries to get a copyrighted file, Snocap can block the download or force the user to pay for it, depending on what the artist and label want.

IF Snocap catches on – still a very big “if” because only one file-sharing service has signed up to use the software – it will vindicate Mr. Fanning’s passionately held belief that if Napster had been allowed to live, it would have become a legitimate and profitable sales outlet for artists and music companies. After the original Napster closed, the name was sold to a new company that sells licensed music under paid subscriptions and does not use peer-to-peer technology.

“Nobody has ever built a reliable peer-to-peer service, where people can really access all the music they want in one location,” Mr. Fanning said. “Once I got it into my head, I couldn’t imagine the media space without one.”

Slashdot’s Harnessing the Power of P2P, Looking Back