The rights to Scour's technology and much of its engineering talent were sold to the highest bidder in a Los Angeles bankruptcy court. Also bidding were Liquid Audio and Listen.com.
The final price tag on the service was $9 million--more than enough to pay Scour's reported $4 million in debts, but far from the price the once-prominent service would have commanded just months ago. The bid consisted of $5.5 million cash and stock worth $3.5 million.
CenterSpan has said it plans to create a legal file-swapping service, a kind of second generation Napster that will operate within legal bounds set by explicit relationships with the record companies. CenterSpan is moving into the peer-to-peer world after years as a gaming technology.
"The Scour Exchange represents an opportunity to accelerate the introduction of a secure and legal capability into a large existing peer-to-peer channel," said Frank Hausmann, chief executive of CenterSpan, who said the acquisition would be accretive to earnings.
Scour had been one of the stars of the file-trading world, with investments from Hollywood powerbroker Michael Ovitz, and budding distribution relationships with movie studios. Good intentions and high-powered legal advice didn't serve to ward off copyright infringement lawsuits from the record and movie industry associations, however.