Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Here's something interesting from

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an ad hoc networking system for cars that would allow any driver to broadcast music to any other vehicle within a 30-mile radius. Developed by a group of current and former master's students at the Human Computer Interaction Institute, the Roadcasting project would allow drivers to stream their MP3 music collections by Wi-Fi or similar technology to any other vehicle within range that is equipped with compatible hardware and software. The system -- still largely theoretical -- will also feature a collaborative-filtering mechanism that compares music in a recipients' collection to that of the broadcaster. The filter will pump out a mix of songs matching the listener's tastes.

"What's really cool about this is that while you're busy (driving), Roadcasting will just pick songs that you enjoy," said Mathilde Pignol, one of the Roadcasting developers, "and then it will let you influence the songs with your music taste without you having to do anything."

...Of course, given that Roadcasting calls for a nontraditional approach to broadcasting, some worry it will cross legal boundaries; after all, broadcasters must pay licensing fees to The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

...Jason Schultz, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agreed, but said the Roadcasting team might want to prepare itself for being contacted by the recording industry's lawyers. "I'm sure the RIAA is going to have problems with this," Schultz said. "But that doesn't mean it's illegal."

..."This is the next big challenge for the RIAA," said Schultz. "If they thought file sharing over P2P networks was a threat to their business model, then this is a whole different challenge that they have to adapt to, because there's no way they can police this." [But you know they'll try their best. -jh]
I love this idea, especially if it really will allow you to hear songs that you like without having to do anything. The article compares Roadcasting with the iTunes share function, though it sounds like a combination of the iTunes sharing and TiVo, which sounds pretty great to me. But I'm reminded now how rare it is that I ever hear a song coming out of someone's car or house that I like. Oh well, nothing's perfect.

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