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File Sharing Goes Legit With iMesh

The first authorized peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing service for music has debuted in public beta form from iMesh, an existing P2P service.

The company is working the music industry to offer authorized P2P downloading and has launched iMesh 6.0 service, said to be the first and only globally active P2P service “assuring compensation to registered rights-holders.”

The development adds still another source of authorized music files for playback on portable MP3 players.

iMesh Service tiers include access to 2 million protected WMA tracks from all four major music companies and from independent labels on an à la carte and subscription basis. Another tier provides access to public domain and “other sources of unclaimed content” culled for free from the iMesh and Gnutella P2P networks, the company said. Authorized music is identified in the iMesh media player by a gold star, and “unclaimed unregistered music,” including an unauthorized file, is denoted by a gray star.

À la carte downloads cost 99 cents. The subscription download service costs $6.99/month.

The authorized service is compatible with any Microsoft “Plays For Sure” portable MP3 players.

For now, authorized downloads are coming from iMesh’s server to “seed” the peer-to-peer network with authorized files, a spokeswoman noted.