BBC News Website.
Did you see it?
I wonder what new feature they have?
Can you tell what it is yet?
Is it really what I think it is?
EWHHHHH! I feel dirty!
The BBC is JAWS (Just Another WebSite)!
And the websites “featured”:
Wonderful. It’s been around a while – but worth remembering the value of creativity.
Next Wednesday the BBC is hosting a conference entitled “Combating Piracy In The Digital Age.“:
On 6 May the BBC is hosting a conference, bringing together people from across a wide range of creative industries to examine common approaches to combating online piracy.
Rt Hon David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, will make a keynote address. Media analyst Mathew Horsman will present the latest analysis of how piracy is affecting music, TV, film and other sectors including computer games, business software and publishing. Senior figures from these industries will discuss the right legal approach to tackling piracy; the role that media literacy and consumer education might play; and how new business models could create attractive legal alternatives to what the pirates offer.
I will be going along and I am hoping it will prove to be a productive conference.
My vision and advice for the industry:
- The content producers in a digital media world have lost their ability to guarantee the uniqueness of their content.
Content owners have sought to lock their content down with Digital Rights Management (DRM) techniques. These DRM techniques have imposed much greater restrictions on content reproduction and distribution than those present in a non-DRM world. This has led to a desire for those who wish to have their content as free as possible to seek to circumvent these DRM techniques. The past ten years, since the introduction of the DMCA act in the United States in 1998, has seen a clash of cultures between those who believe that content owners have a right to manage the distribution of their product and those who believe that this content is part of culture and should be freely available. The advent of faster network access, improved coding techniques, more powerful computers, new protocols allowing for decentralised, distributed digital media delivery architecture, the rise of Open Source computing and the convergence of consumer media products has created seismic shifts in the digital media landscape. This has resulted in content producers starting to look at distributing their content DRM-free – but without having an alternative system which allows them to maintain some control they recognise that they are in a business model which is doomed to extinction.
- The infrastructure owners, the people delivering digital media content, have no incentive to deliver unique content.
Online delivery methods have developed which are decentralised and open. These have facilitated the free sharing of digital media – where the marginal cost of copying is almost zero. This has resulted in more people wanting greater infrastructure access, faster broadband, uncapped limits, etc. The infrastructure owners have benefited from non-interference in the traffic flowing across their network. Hence there is no gain for them, at the moment, in having one digital copy more valuable than another. They also have no desire to do the content owners job for them. The infrastructure owners recognise that the content producers have painted themselves into a corner with their doomed policies on DRM. They also recognise that by adopting the “do nothing” approach they can continue to benefit from the explosion in digital media content without having to get directly involved in negotiating access to it. There is a lack of trust on both sides. There have been efforts by both sides to legislate and sue the other into compliance. Neither side is enamoured with the other at the moment.
- The key is to develop a Digital Media Exchange to put trust back into the ecosystem and give both content producers and infrastructure owners the benefits of a unique digital media product.
This will require the will of the content producers to try something different – which they are more than willing to do at the moment – and a big carrot for the infrastructure owners. This we can give them as there are a lot of complementary services they could develop, which is what they will need in their competitive market where margins are low and churn rate is high.
The plan would be to digitally watermark content as it enters the Digital Media Exchange to allow for a unique identifier to be attributed to each piece of content. The content will also be in the highest quality format. You can then implement a system which will allow the people who wish to have access to this content – primarily focusing on businesses wishing to sell advertising (and using the content as a vehicle) to begin with – to specify what format they wish to get this in and how they wish to place their logos/messages on the audio/video.
The advantage this gives to the content owner is that they now have a unique product which can be redistributed in multiple format but always with a unique identifier and so therefore with a full audit trail. The advantage to the infrastructure owner is that by having access to a legitimate source of content they can build services around this which they can use to differentiate their offering from their competitors. The advantage to the advertiser is they get access to a whole new world of legitimate content – an untapped market which the content producer now can bring their product to, thus delivering them another benefit.
The input of digital media is the advantage for the content producer. All they need to provide is one high quality copy of the product with appropriate descriptions of the content. After that the system within the Digital Media Exchange assigns the appropriate coding to the file to indicate who it originated from and when and then proceeds to transcode multiple copies in multiple formats – each with its own unique code to identify it.
Within a Digital Media Exchange advertisers can choose the individual files, categories, user profiles, genres, etc. they wish to market to and upload appropriate branding to go with the formats and different market segments can get the same content with different branding, also diffent market regions can get different products targetted at the same demographic.
The digital media buyer can browse the Digital Media Exchange online and choose both file format and branding they would like on their output. If they would like to brand the file with their own specific identity then that facility also exists. So they can have the choice of:
This leads to a world where content producers and broadcasters stop thinking in terms of units sold or ratings achieved and more in terms of relationships formed.
Content producers target specific broadcasters for their market reach. Broadcasters deliver specific content to specific channels for specific market segments. People become fans of certain programmes/genres and they place a certain value on a programme based on the channel they receive it. These are the relationships that exist already between the various parties in the entertainment chain. These relationships get measured currently by specific metrics and these metrics give a value to a distribution chain.
By allowing users to store content centrally, the broadcaster becoming the facilitator of access to that content and the content producer being the primary source for renewal or upgrading of that content then you begin to build a new ecosystem that allows digital files to become unique as they begin to have a value that comes from the relationships.
This may not be to everyone’s liking – or people may want more immediate results – but if you begin to accept the realities of digital distribution then you recognise the need to think and act differently!
I have been meaning to post this for ages.
This sums up so beautifully how the Intertnet is such a positive medium.
What is happening?
- IRMA, the Irish Recorded Music Association, wants to block Irish Internet users’ access to certain websites.
- They have written letters to Irish Internet providers telling them, under threat of legal action, to allow IRMA to tell them what websites to block. Eircom has already agreed to this. They will settle every application for website blocking out of court.
- No sites have been blocked yet. We have limited time to act before the bans are set.
- A copy of the letter sent out to Irish ISPs has been kindly made available by Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions. Read it here.
IRMA believes that by blocking websites like thepiratebay.org it will reduce piracy in Ireland and preserve some of its profits.
What’s the problem?
- Blackout Ireland does not think that this will be effective in combating piracy. Furthermore, we think it is a serious breach of civil liberties and that it constitutes censorship.
- There is no certainty in what sites IRMA will include in their requests for banning. Will they seek to ban websites that merely link to copyrightable content, without actually hosting it? Proxy websites that could serve to circumvent the ban? Sites like riaaradar.com that promote boycotting members of record label associations? Blogs that criticize IRMA’s actions? This very website? There is no telling where IRMA will draw the line. This is a very slippery slope.
- Blocking websites never works. It creates free publicity for the site in question. Pirates will always be able to circumvent blocks with ease. Legitimate paying users will be once again be the ones most inconvenienced and have their freedom of communication restricted the most.
- Censorship is not a solution. It is avoiding the issue. It does not pay artists for their work.
- Blackout Ireland thinks the solutions proposed by the EFF and the European Green Party Free Alliance are much more effective. Their respective solutions benefit both artists and music fans. They embrace new technology rather than shunning it.
What can I do?
Please contact your Internet service provider (ISP).
- A list of emails addresses to contact can be found here.
- Make it clear in your email/letter that you are, as a customer, very concerned about this issue.
- Tell your ISP that if they implement IRMA’s threats you will consider changing to a provider who does not cave in to demands for censorship.
- Be polite and clear.
- A sample letter may be found here but please personalize it to reflect your thoughts and opinion
- Please contact the TD for your constituency.
- Contact details may be found here.
- Tell your representative that this is an important issue to you, as a constituent.
- Ask them if they are willing to stand up for the right of Irish people to communicate freely on the Internet.
- Tell them why you think giving third-party companies the power to ban websites is a bad thing and is setting a dangerous precedent.
- Tell them that their actions relating to this issue will strongly affect your voting preferences.
- Please contact Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan TD
- He can be phoned at 01 – 618 3097
- He can be emailed at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tell him you are extremely worried about IRMA’s desire to censor Irish communications.
- Tell him Ireland’s image will be damaged internationally if we gain the reputation as a place with restricted Internet communications.
- Remind him that in Italy, a very similar blocking of The Pirate Bay was overruled in court citing European Directive, 2000/31 CE which is also applicable in Ireland.
- Ask him if he is willing to implement any of the solutions proposed by his party?
- Take part in Blackout Week
- To demonstrate your feelings about this issue online you can make your avatar black on any websites you have a presence on.
- This is inspired by Creative Freedom New Zealand’s blackout campaign.
- From Black Thursday on the 5th of March, for one week, set your picture on sites like Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, MSN, etc black to raise awareness for Blackout Ireland.
- On that Thursday we encourage you to express yourself publicly about this issue. Whether by blog posts, letters to newspapers or any form of communication you can think of.
Who are Blackout Ireland?
Blackout Ireland are a group of Irish Internet users who are concerned by the prospect of Ireland having a censored Internet. We do not think private companies should be allowed dictate what websites the Irish people are allowed to visit.