By Richard Menta 11/30/05
In the Netherlands the courts have ruled that it is legal to download music and movie files from the Internet, it is just not legal to upload. It is the act of uploading the constitues copyright infringement according to the court's interpretation of Dutch law. To call the LamaBox a file sharing appliance, therefore, is really incorrect. It is really a file taking appliance as it complies with Dutch law and only downloads, not uploads.
The LamaBox is a stand-alone appliance that connects directly to the Internet, allowing users to download all the content they wish without the need of a PC. The device connects to your home entertainment system allowing later viewing or listening of the content you download.
What also makes the LamaBox unique is that it does not limit its queries to one network or another. When a user plugs in the specific song or movie thay are looking for the LamaBox searches through the FastTrack, Gnutella, eDonkey networks. It also utilizes BitTorrent technology allowing the unit to poll various torrent sites. Details are sketchy as to what sites, important as many are being shut down by the major media conglomerates. Networks like FastTrack are also under legal pressure to make changes to their technology so future firmware upgrades will be needed for the LamaBox to stay current.
This brings up the obvious point that while the LamaBox may be officially legal in the Netherlands, no such clear cut rulings have been made in this country (No file sharing case has ever gone to full trial in the US as accused users - unable to afford high court costs - always settle). The base LamaBox with 40GB hard drive sells for $325 US and US citizens are part of their target market, but expect legal action to eventually try to prohibit sales of the unit here.
LamaBox offers the unit in various flavors. Along with the base unit there is the LamaBox 420 with a DVD burner to go with the 40GB, the LamaBox 820 with DVD Burner and 200GB, and the LamaBox 900 with DVD burner and 400GB hard drive.
Call it Tivo for file sharing. The LamaBox site says that there is presently a five week wait for the unit.
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