File locker website Dropbox has patented a new type of sharing technology that would allow its users to use peer to peer networking to share their Dropbox files and folders with one another without sending them through the company's servers. Although ostensibly for backup purposes, this system could also make Dropbox much less legally liable for any content shared that was copyright protected.
“Peer-to-peer distributed sharing of the content items in such an online content management system can eliminate bottlenecks, thereby increasing the speed at which the content items can be shared among the individuals,” Dropbox explained (via TorrentFreak).
It went on to detail how the system could allow for users to back up pictures, media and other files to multiple devices simultaneously, which cuts out multiple uploads and downloads to and from the individual pieces of hardware. It should be a faster service too, since various seeds can be used to send the files to the different systems, rather than just the one source.
To prevent problems that arise from this system when multiple people are trying to edit the same file, each one will come complete with their own cryptographic key to prevent mismatches.
The most important part of this though isn't that Dropbox now has this technology, but that in acquiring the patent for it, it should be able to stop competitors using a similar system. It seems a little underhanded since Bittorrent Sync has offered something similar for some time already, but it will be interesting to see how other file locker services respond to this news.
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KitGuru Says: Do you use a service like Dropbox? I'll throw a few files on Mega now and again myself.