Media artists worried about protection of their copyright may be pleased to know that Scour has shut down its file-swapping service - Scour Exchange - to help resolve a pending copyright infringement suit and to make it easier to sell its remaining assets in bankruptcy court.
"... (We) have come to this decision after months of litigation with the music and movie industries, a bankruptcy and a series of layoffs of our staff," the company said in a notice to users at its site.
The company said the pending litigation made it difficult to raise the funding necessary to continue its services.
Scour, an Internet search site for digital entertainment, couldn't be reached for comment. Backed by Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz, Scour allows users to simultaneously search directories of video, multimedia and music files on users' hard drives and swap them. The company, which offers services similar to those offered by Napster, was hit with a number of lawsuits over copyright infringement by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios, among others.
In a statement issued earlier this week, the company said bidders for Scour's assets include Listen.com and CenterSpan Communications.
"Scour was not able to get any (investors) to step up to the plate (and save it)," said Phil Benyola, an analyst at St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James & Associates. "And without more dollars, (their prognosis) looked pretty bleak. That's why they shut down (the exchange) and are selling their other assets."