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Sony BMG, Grokster Join Forces

(reg. req.): This is certainly an about face for the labels, or at least one of them: Sony BMG is cooperating with the Grokster file-sharing network on a venture that combines free music sampling with paid downloads.

Dubbed “Mashboxx,”, the application would probably work like this (the details are sketchy for now): When users search for a Sony BMG track, the system will allow them to download only authorized versions of the song.

Some of the technology for Mashboxx probably will come from Snocap, a start-up launched by Napster founder Shawn Fanning. Mashboxx is being run by Wayne Rosso, a file-sharing firebrand given to rhetorical flourishes about ignorance and evil in the entertainment industry.