Open source boffins are jumping on the peer-to-peer (P2P) and content distribution bandwagon in what could be the next copyright nightmare for the music and movie industry.
Following the rise and fall of file share systems such as Napster and Gnutella, open source pundits have announced a distributed-content equivalent on a grander scale.
The Open Content Network aims to be the world's largest content delivery network, based on P2P technology known as the Content Addressable Web (CAW) which, in turn, relies on individual contributions to the open source movement through donations of spare bandwidth and disk space.
By implementing "a set of simple, yet powerful, extensions to the HTTP protocol" users of the Open Content Network will be able to perform secure, distributed downloads.
Integrity checking for content pulled from distributed sources will be carried out by the Tree Hash EXchange format, a technology set to be released by the CAW developers this month.
The proposal for the project reads: "Content distribution networks such as Akamai have shown that significant improvements can be made in throughput, latency and scalability when content is distributed throughout the network and delivered from the edge.
"Likewise, P2P systems such as Napster and Gnutella have shown that normal desktop PCs can serve up enormous amounts of content with zero administration."
The proposal reads like a bootleg hunter's dream. Policing such a system for copyrighted material is impossible and would allow for the copying and sharing of content illegally on a much greater scale.
In fact, one of the main selling points of the Open Content Network, which aims to be up and running this summer, is that "users will soon be able to download open source and public domain software, movies, and music at incredibly fast speeds from this global, distributed network".
It doesn't take a genius to work out that 'open source' and 'public domain' will become less than exclusive content on the network once Joe Public gets in on the act.
More information and specifications can be found here.
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