Scour Play

Two young companies hope to score big by reviving the popular file-sharing software, but will video still be part of the picture when they're done?

Before there was Napster, there was Scour. was founded as a media website in 1997, when Napster co-founder and poster boy Sean Fanning was still in high school. This past spring, it launched a media file-sharing platform that went beyond just music, gaining about 5 million users

Many of them college students, these users swapped songs in MP3 format, television episodes, full-length movies and other forms of entertainment.


However, faced with a lawsuit that drained its financial resources and scared away potential investors, Scour was recently forced to file for bankruptcy, striking a blow to peer-to-peer enthusiasts and the future of video on the Internet.

But while students bemoan the loss of the Scour Exchange platform, at least two companies are now bidding for Scour's assets, hoping to revive the company's software and tap into the revenue potential they say still exists in the online digital media sphere.

Rags to Riches to Rags was founded in 1997 by five students at the University of California at Los Angeles. Within a year, the company attempted to tap into the growing popularity of the MP3 music format by developing a multimedia search engine.

Using the Scour Media Agent, users could gain access to a wide range of media hosted by other servers and websites. The program, however, was less reliable than those based on the peer-to-peer paradigm--such as Napster--which allow users to download files directly from other clients who were also logged into to the service.

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