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Sony to send songs via Scour

The label has gone from fighting Scour's peer-to-peer system in courtrooms to promoting its artists over the service, now revamped with copy-protection technology.

Sony Music Entertainment, one of the companies that sued Scour Exchange to the brink of extinction, will now use the service to promote some of its artists.

CenterSpan Communications, which bought Scour's assets in bankruptcy court last year, said Tuesday that Sony would promote music from Macy Gray, B2K, Five for Fighting, Flickerstick, and John Mayer through the service, which has been revamped and souped up to include multiple layers of security and digital rights management to prevent theft.

CenterSpan said that consumers can download free songs and listen to them for 30 days. However, they can only listen to the songs via their computer, and after the 30-day deadline, the songs will no longer be accessible. People can send files to their friends, but the recipient of a song must register with Scour to access the file and would be subject to the same restrictions.

Scour nearly fizzled out after the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents major labels including Sony, sued it, charging that its peer-to-peer service let people share music without regard for copyrights. But CenterSpan rescued the service with an aim toward legitimacy.

In a statement announcing the Sony deal Tuesday, CenterSpan touted Scour's "secure and legal streaming and downloadable audio."

Despite the suits seeking to crack down on file-sharing, Sony said in a statement that it "has always embraced new technology that furthers our artists' reach, and CenterSpan's C-Star One delivery network will allow music fans to share the music that they love with their friends, legitimately."

The file-sharing phenomenon led by Napster, Scour and others caught music companies off guard and led to numerous lawsuits seeking to shut them down. Music labels have been looking for ways to take advantage of file sharing's wild popularity among consumers without losing control of their music.