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May 25, 2005
Where the Rubber Meets the Roadcasting
Some enterprising students at Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute have put together an interesting project called Roadcasting, which appears to allow people to broadcast XML-defined playlists over Wifi from their car-based MP3 players.
While supposedly backed by "[t]he research and development arm of a major automaker," it will be interesting to see how such innovations are received. Our current copyright system has nothing to accommodate such personal retransmission capabilities. Are these reproductions, distributions, or public performances? Are they fair use? Is this essentially the same as turning up your car stereo super-loud with the windows down, or is it like running your own radio station?
Interestingly, the system is currently limited to streaming, which makes it almost identical to Apple iTunes' "sharing" feature. It will be interesting to see the RIAA's reaction. Monitoring P2P networks is one thing; spying on us in our cars and on our daily commutes would be something quite different.
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