Legal peer-to-peer music networks have taken a step forward with the announcement that iMesh has signed a licensing deal with major label SonyBMG. The interesting thing is that iMesh doesn’t haven’t any monitoring systems such as Snocap in place and also iMesh also functions as a download service, in which case the deal could simply be a download licence.

iMesh was sued by the major labels but unlike Grokster and others, it settled and subsequently is viewed as being inside the labels’ circle of trust. iMesh chief Robert Summer said: “SonyBMG was quick to recognize the commitment of iMesh to transition the power and attraction of P2P file sharing to an authorised model that would acknowledge underlying rights while enhancing the consumer experience. We look forward to working with SonyBMG as we jointly usher in a new era of music distribution.” SonyBMG digital business president Thomas Hesse added: “We are pleased to make our music available to the new iMesh as they build a service that will offer consumers a compelling experience and will respect our copyrights”.

iMesh was expected to announce a deal with Universal Music and if this still comes through then iMesh could find itself well ahead of the legal P2P pack.