, a start-up based in Westlake Village, Calif., has launched an Internet site that instantly time-stamps songs, scripts, business plans, MIDI files, and Internet-site contents to protect them against infringement. The service is not a substitute for patents or trademarks, but it claims to provide a good "first step in protecting your intellectual property," according to CEO Craig Honick.

Does it provide real legal protection? Stephen Barnett, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, says, "This sounds like a more efficient and scientific way to establish that you had a particular document on a particular date."

Published on: May 1, 1999