Despite the ongoing assault on BitTorrent from both the entertainment industry and government, Microsoft is wading into file-sharing territory with the creation of a BitTorrent alternative. The system, code-named Avalanche, attempts to improve on some of the deficiencies the company sees with current P2P systems. For example, Avalanche will allow files to be reassembled at the receiving end without requiring every bit of the file to be downloaded. At first blush, it sounds like Microsoft is only asking for trouble with the powers that be. However, Microsoft says its new system will prevent unapproved distribution of copyrighted content by sharing only files signed by the content's publisher. Sort of a BitTorrent with DRM, a concept that's been floated at least once or twice before. Even if Microsoft can make it stick this time, you have to wonder who will really benefit by it. People who do obey copyrights don't need a new system to make them do that. People who don't obey copyrights will either find a way to break or circumvent the system, or they'll go back to using and creating other non-DRM technologies. If no one else, at least the entertainment industry will like it.
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