Napster founder Shawn Fanning has reached a deal with Sony BMG that allows the music company to use his Snocap copyright management system.

Snocap has previously been described as "the first end-to-end solution for online music licensing and copyright management".

The deal means Snocap will provide identification and copyright management technologies, with database services, to Sony BMG.

When Snocap launched in December 2004, Fanning said: "By giving record labels and artists what they need to deliver their music over any digital platform, including peer-to-peer networks, we are finally realizing the full potential of the Internet as a source of music for fans everywhere."

The BBC describes the system as a "range of tools that lets songs be identified as they are swapped online". These tools also enable labels to charge for those swapped songs.

The company has already reached an agreement with the Universal Music Group to provide technology and database services to distribute that company's entire catalogue. The BBC reveals the company to be in discussion with EMI.

In a statement, Sony BMG global digital business president Thomas Hesse said: "We're very happy to be working with Snocap as we develop an infrastructure that will enable us to further expand our presence in the digital arena, while at the same time protecting the rights of artists and copyright holders from digital piracy."

Fanning said: "This is an important step toward the growth of a digital marketplace where consumers can discover, share and purchase music from massively deep, almost infinite catalogues."

In a statement he added: "The Internet will become a much richer resource for music fans everywhere. We're very pleased that they see the benefit of what we have to offer, and we look forward to working with them."