Snocap, the new copyright management and content filtering system from Napster founder Shawn Fanning, makes its official debut today (Nov. 3).
The San Francisco-based company bows with $10 million in new venture-capital funding. Snocap has deals in place with Universal Music Group and Mashboxx, a new legitimate peer-to-peer offering in development from former Grokster boss Wayne Rosso.
Besides co-founder Fanning, who is serving as chief strategy officer, Snocap’s management group includes co-founders Jordan Mendelson and Ron Conway, COO Ali Aydar and business-development chief Alex Rofman.
The financial backers are led by private equity firms WaldenVC and Morgenthaler Ventures, and Angel Investors LP.
The Snocap technology seeks to broadly expand the amount of music available for sale online, while keeping unauthorized works off of P2P networks.
While existing digital music services claim catalogs in the vicinity of 1 million tracks and combined annual download sales in excess of 100 million tracks, Snopcap is envisioning a more ambitious commercial landscape that monetizes the existing P2P universe, which boasts unlimited content and delivers 100 million tracks daily.
Snocap’s solution digitally fingerprints all tracks in a P2P network and helps guide users toward commercially licensed copyrights registered with the system. It also blocks song swappers from distributing or accessing unlicensed/unrecognized files. However, it aims to expand content catalogs by capturing fingerprints of live, rare and unreleased works that users are attempting to share, and reporting the results to content owners. The goal is to help labels to prioritize what music they should be clearing for sale.
Snocap uses audio fingerprinting technology licensed from Philips Royal Labels. The system is expected to fully deploy in 2005.
Labels have long contended that content filtering solutions like Snocap are the key to legitimizing P2P networks.