Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Swarm Radio - "Alluvium"

Swarm Radio - a cheaper, faster 'casting tech

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco

Posted: 24/02/2003 at 03:03 GMT

The technology behind the next generation of file sharing legal battles was unveiled at CodeCon today. Brandon Wiley describes Alluvium as "Peer to Peer radio" - which it is, but it also blurs the distinction between streaming and downloading once and forever.


With distributed "swarm" downloading technologies such as BitTorrent and Tornado - which has half a million users already - it's possible for hundreds of users to download a file without hammering the server. They take advantage of the under-used uplink capacity of your net connection to upload portions of the file to another user. So when you download a file from a given location, you're actually getting it from many other users in chunks.


Now why, you're wondering, would this prompt legal issues? Well, there's an explicit distinction at the moment between streaming (which the RIAA thinks is OK, so long as the broadcasters pay royalties) and downloading (which is not OK under any circumstances). Technically they're similar in that both Alluvium and {insert your favorite streaming player here} leave stub files in the cache which they delete after the session has finished.

But Alluvium is a streaming technology that uses file downloading techniques. So some legal clarification will need to be made.