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Archive for October, 2007

The Book Has Launched!

October 26, 2007 Leave a comment

And I am glad to report that Tuesday’s event was a success, judging by the level of audience engagement, and the lively debate that ensued during the Q&A session afterwards. You can even see picturesvideo clip and blog coverage of the event by fellow BCS author, Mark Kobayashi-Hillary.

Jude Umeh Book Launch Lecture

It is encouraging to know that DRM, and the wider issues it touches, is far from dead as a subject of intense discussion, with opinions that range from a wide variety of personal and altruistic perspectives. The press release for the book also exhorts the need for engaging the end user in any future development towards a fair solution to the quagmire of Rights Management and the evolving digital content economy.

By the way, it would be interesting to get your opinion if you made it to the event. What did you think?

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The CTO has spoken!

October 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Those of you that attended yesterday’s CTO talk by Capgemini’s Andy Mulholland will agree with me that it was well worth it. And for those that couldn’t make it there will be an opportunity to download the whitepaper and slides when they become available on the BCS North London Branch’s website. Who says you can’t get value for nothing these days?

And that is the crux of the matter. The fact that much valuable information and knowledge has now become readily and ‘freely’ available means that we have to rethink how much emphasis we place on controlling access and restrictions to it. This is where mash-ups come into its own, because those individuals and organisations that understand and seize the opportunity to dynamically connect and repurpose content across several domains will effectively open themselves up to limitless possibilities in their connected future.

However there is something to be said for taking pains to explore these opportunities in an organised and coordinated manner. This would explain the emerging trend for MBAs to include enterprise architecture course choices in the leading business schools, according to Andy.

So what has this got to do with DRM? Why, everything. I like to think of DRM as an early recognition of the need to translate extant content business models into a content rich digital environment; however as we all know, this does not work if the business models are out-of-step with the times. Just ask Radiohead and the music industry!

Anyway I’ll leave that discussion for my upcoming talk next Tuesday (23rd of October). I hope to see you there.

How far is far enough?

October 10, 2007 Leave a comment

In today’s digitally hyper-connected world it can be extremely difficult to tell when enough is enough, or indeed where the boundary lies for most activities and trends. For example, it is not yet clear where and when the decline of the recording industry will stop but I’ll make some provocative predictions on the outcome.

In the next few years we shall most likely arrive to the following conclusions:

  1. File sharing was great for the music industry after all!
    It just depends on your point of view (e.g. who is sharing what, and who is getting paid for this activity). The early indicators are that music tracks/files are increasingly being used as hooks to other products, services and experiences
  2. Those lawsuits against ordinary music users / file sharers were a bad idea!
    It is always a bad idea to sue potential customers, and it just kept getting worse in the first decade of the 21st century (e.g.: PRS sues workers for listening to radio and RIAA wins legal challenge). However this practice also provides the resistance which proves the rule that true change is unstoppable.
  3. Record labels are no more!
    Not surprisingly, they have either become a ghost of their former selves, or turned into bona fide production companies that fund music related ventures / enterprises. Artistes have become mostly independent and ready to exploit direct-to-consumer channels along the lines of RadioheadPrince andNine-Inch-Nails.
  4. Record charts and satellite/digital radio are the new record shops!
    And we can initiate music downloads directly from the radio, singles/album charts and even TV programs. (An early indicator of this could be the rumoured planned link up between Apple iTunes/iPod and Satellite Radio)
  5. DRM is history!
    Instead it goes by another name, and no longer brings up an automatic mental association with ‘evil controlling <insert your favourite swear-word here>!’ (Ah well, we live in an age of hope and porcine aviation!).

It would be interesting to watch out for the above or similar headlines within the next 5 – 10 years time (You heard it here first!). So go on, don’t be shy, tell me what you think, and I’d particularly love to hear your own predictions on this topic.

RIAA wins round one of many – Read it and weep!

October 5, 2007 Leave a comment

According to a BBC News article, a US court has found against a woman in the first case of an individual contesting the claim of illegal file sharing by the RIAA. It would seem that the birds are finally coming home to roost for the recording industry’s legal truncheon against this activity, but the question remains as to who really wins/loses out in the deal?

The initial impression is that this outcome would deter others from contesting similar claims in future, instead seeking to settle out-of-court by paying the few thousand dollars demanded by RIAA. It certainly seems better than the threat of having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars should they lose their legal appeal as in the case of the above defendant (She has been ordered to pay over two hundred thousand dollars in damages).

However some analysts are of the opinion that this could very well be an own goal by the recording industry for several reasons:

  • Major labels may now wish to rely more on these lawsuits to protect their profits instead of fully focusing on creating more innovative and profitable business models for their music content.
  • Customers are being further alienated by their possible exposure to this type of legal threat, especially where they cannot prove they did not download the content. It was the neighbour’s cat. Honest.
  • Finally the lawsuits do not seem to have had any significant impact on the rapid decline of the recording industry’s CD centric business models, nor has it provably reduced the sharing of files by consumers.

In the words of Paul Resnikoff, Editor of DigitalMusicNews, ‘time is running out’ for the major labels, therefore they should focus their dwindling resources on more constructive initiatives than individual infringement lawsuits, if they are to survive this seemingly terminal market disruption.

Categories: BCS, Music, Piracy Tags: ,

Mashups incorporated

October 2, 2007 Leave a comment

A major forthcoming event in the BCS North London Branch’s calendar is the CTO Talk by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO of Capgemini. This event provides a unique look at the concept of Mashups in the corporate world. Baffled? Read on to find out more…

First of all, a definition of the term ‘Mashup’ is in order. For those two readers who do not know the meaning of the phrase, a mashup refers to ‘a mixture of content or elements‘ that are combined to create a new (and often innovative) service from multiple sources. The application of mashups in the corporate world is so very ‘2.0’ (amazing how everything now gets that label don’t you think?).

Anyway, this talk will focus on how the rapid evolution of technology and business models are now making it imperative for corporations to make bold decisions in order to adapt and survive ‘the end of business as usual’.

Andy Mulholland is co-author of the book Mashup Corporations, and an expert with many years experience in this field. I will be attending this event with an eye to understanding how this mashup concept can be applied to the use of DRM in the corporate environment.

(Disclosure: I am a consultant and architect in Capgemini, and also a committee member of the BCS North London Branch as well as coordinator for this event!)