Monthly Archives: September, 2006

Is it a copyright issue or a business model issue?

The “art” of recording, re-authoring and redistributing digital content is one that perplexes many in the content industries. The tool that they have for protecting their product is copyright – but when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Is copyright the problem or is it the lack of a business model to fit this new digital age?

I fear people are getting too caught up in the copyright issue and not
enough in the business model issue – trying to persuade those, who live in fear of losing their livelihoods, that they are holding on to an outmoded legal concept will lose you both the argument and the attention of those who want to listen.

This is an exciting time to be involved in digital media because the
opportunities are there for those who are bright enough to
come up with the new ideas.

People will listen because their livelihoods depends on it.

There are new business models which will drive the new digital age – we just have to sell them properly to those who have a vested interest in buying into them.

Just……Too…..Funny! – Revisited

Sorry Comedy Central – I really wanted to do the right thing by you and get people to go to the source – but you don’t support Opera – so here is the YouTube embed (it’s from 02:15 on for the CNN stuff):

Guardian article on the BBC and Microsoft’s “Memorandum of Understanding”.

Here with comments – the comments are even better than the article.

As I work for the BBC and am trying to get them to think of digital rights management in a whole new light, I’m going to let this slide other than to give you a pointer to the article.

British Council – Unbounded Freedom

Lawrence Lessig has a post on this book, Unbounded Freedom, being released by the British Council and Counterpoint.

The Register has an article on it with some excellent links to other articles dealing with the copyright field.

And so it begins….

Just got my first spam comments. Deleted one, marked the other as spam and got on with my life.


Jon Stewart from The Daily Show reports on CNN’s I-Report website.

And CNN have the good humour to have it on the site! Comedy Central have it online also.

Kudos all round.

A voice in the wilderness…

A posting by Chris Lightfoot from 2002 entitled – Content providers and content consumers: a cynic’s view.

To quote:

“This, to my mind, is the core point of this dispute: the majority of content consumers don’t care about free software, cryptography, the availability of general purpose computers, the power of large corporations or the principle that `it’s my stuff, I’ll do what I damn well like with it’. These are minority issues. But everyone likes to get something for nothing. The status quo makes doing this illegal, but so what?”

Mac and Unix Fun

Software to sniff the network packets for images.

Mac software:

Unix software:

Article by Cory Doctorow on HD DRM et al.

Cory Doctorow’s Information Week article on HD. Page 2 excoriates the various DRM technologies being touted for HD.

Depressing but essential reading.

Absolute gold!

No idea of a date for this article but it has the feel of the early days.

Classic quote: “Unix and C are the ultimate computer viruses. “

A digital rights site for Ireland

Digital archiving.

Press release from the British Library about archiving web pages as part of the IIPC.

Public domain and DRM

Good article  from Bill Thompson on DRM and the public domain.

To quote:

“But the real danger of enforcing copyright through technology with digital rights management systems is that it replaces the messy application of a human-made law with the rigid determinism of a rule-based system. “

Steve Jobs is a moron!

First this and now this!

I have never assumed Podcasting meant creating content for an iPod – in fact I assumed the opposite. Anyone creating a podcast would be creating an MP3 file by default, as far as I was concerned, so it could be listened to by anyone, anywhere and shared as and how they wished.

Apple are dumb!

Microsoft sues over source code theft.

Story here.  Quote:

“Our own intellectual property was stolen from us and used to create this tool,” said Bonnie MacNaughton, a senior attorney in Microsoft’s legal and corporate affairs division.

This is a very dangerous path for Microsoft to go down, not only because they have offered, in effect, to ciminalise anyone who works with them, but also because it could mean having to look in their own backyard quite carefully.

My alma mater supporting Creative Commons for Ireland.

Creative Commons is working with University College Cork to create Ireland jurisdiction-specific licenses from the generic Creative Commons licenses.

Digital Rights – Part III

The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group’s (APIG)  report into Digital Rights Management. PDF available here.
Key points of the report:

  • A recommendation   that   the   Office   of   Fair   Trading   (OFT)   bring   forward appropriate   labelling   regulations   so   that   it   will   become   crystal   clear   to consumers what they will and will not be able to do with digital content that they purchase.
  • A recommendation that OFCOM publish guidance to make it clear that companies distributing Technical Protection Measures systems in the UK would, if they have features such as those in Sony-BMG’s  MediaMax  and  XCP  systems,  run  a  significant  risk  of  being prosecuted for criminal actions.
  • A recommendation that the Department of Trade and Industry investigate the single-market issues that were raised during the Inquiry, with a view to addressing the issue at the European level.
  • A recommendation  that  the  government  do  not  legislate  to  make  DRM  systems mandatory.
  • A recommendation that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport review the level  of funding for  pilot  projects that  address  access  to  eBooks  by  those  with visual disabilities and that action is taken if they are failing to achieve positive results.
  • A recommendation that the Department of Trade and Industry revisit the results of their review into their moribund “IP Advisory Committee” and reconstitute it as several  more  focused  forums.  One of these should be a “UK Stakeholders Group” to be chaired by the British Library.
  • A recommendation that the Government consider granting a much wider-ranging exemption   to   the   anti-circumvention   measures   in   the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act for genuine academic research.
  • A recommendation that having taken advice from the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel,  the  Department  for  Culture,  Media  and  Sport  hold  a  formal public  consultation,  not  only  on  the  technical  details,  but  also  on  the  general principles that have been established.

Digital Rights – Part II

The British Library has launched a manifesto on Intellectual Property. PDF available here. My thanks to Paul Brown from BBC R&D for this.

Main points:

1 Digital is not different – Fair dealing access and library privilege should apply to the digital world as is the case in the analogue one.

2 Contracts and DRM – New, potentially restricting technologies (such as DRMs /TPMs) and contracts issued with digital works should not exceed the statutory exceptions for fair dealing access allowed for in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

3 Archiving – Libraries should be allowed to make copies of sound (and film) recordings to ensure they can be preserved for posterity in the future.

4 Term of copyright – The copyright term for sound recording rights should not be extended without empirical evidence and the needs of society as a whole being borne in mind.

5 Orphan works – The US model of dealing with orphan works should be considered for the UK.

6 Unpublished works – The length of copyright term for unpublished works should be retrospectively brought in line with other terms – life plus 70 years.

Digital Rights – Part I

Copyright holders have used copyright legislation to try and tie down rights to their works.

Digital technology has lowered the barriers to entry for accessing, manipulating and reproducing these works.

Excellent timeline here from Bill Thompson on copyright and technology and the resultant conflicts and legislations.

So, in terms of digital rights, my question is:

Is this a digital problem in a copyright age or a copyright problem in a digital age?

A free tip for online music etailers.

Let me post a request for content!

Backstory – I wanted to give someone an introduction to an Irish singer – Mary Black – and the album I wanted to recommend was one from 1990 called The best of Mary Black. Well – what started off as a simple task, blossomed into a quest which then transmogrified into an obsession to get this content online.  And I failed!

I spent hours trying every online avenue to get this and was utterly defeated. The thing that got me mad though was the digital download sites that kept telling me what they had but not allowing me to tell them what I wanted!

Listen music people – I have money and I’m not afraid to spend it!

But not one single online site asked me the most basic of retail’s rules – ask the customer what it is they want.

If a download site had a button on their site that said – “Can’t find it? Click here and we will get it for you.” – BOOM – you got me.

So there you go online music etailers – a double header – put something like this on your site and you will get both my money and my loyalty – minus my consultancy fee, of course.