Microsoft researchers in Cambridge are developing a file-sharing technology to make its easier to distribute large files such as films, TV programmes and software apps over the internet.
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The technology is codenamed Avalanche and is set to rival existing peer-to-peer file distribution platforms such as BitTorrents.
Microsoft said the system ensured that all content distributed was legal, preventing users from illegally distributing copyrighted material.
Using peer-to-peer systems to distribute content and products can reduce bandwidth and server costs as the distribution network is streamlined by providing direct links between users.
Avalanche is currently being used as a prototype solution to distribute software, but the platform could eventually be used to distribute media content on behalf of entertainment companies.
The BBC is currently trialling a peer-to-peer content distribution system from Kontiki.