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New Copyright Consultation in 2009

December 23, 2008 Leave a comment

In keeping with the festive season, this may be the perfect present for content industry stakeholders, and perhaps a sign that even this period of economic woes may also hold the seeds of future prosperity for the content industry. But only if we get it right this time.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), led by Minister David Lammy, have launched this consultation to help ensure that the UK copyright system is up to the job of supporting creativity, attracting investment and retaining the confidence of users and businesses in the challenging environments of today and tomorrow (read more at DRMWatch). Perhaps equally significant, is the stated aim of this consultation to address the increasingly global nature of copyright going forward, and this, to my mind, presents a prime opportunity for leadership in creating a more relevant Intellectual Property system for a digitally connected world. The initial consultation is planned to run until February 2009, and to conclude sometime in the summer; so definitely something to watch out for, and perhaps get involved of you can.

PS. The UK is not alone in doing this exercise, because, according to a MediaFuturist blog post, other developed countries, like Japan, are also in the throes of similar debates about copyright and their role in a super-connected world. It will be most interesting to see what they all come up with.

Other positive developments, in other areas, include the recent news about a rethink by the Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA) on their policy of suing individual file sharers. Instead, they have decided to work with ISPs to monitor and deal with illegal file sharers using an approach similar to the 3 strikes model (more coverage here). Who says there is no good news anymore?

So here is wishing you all a peaceful holiday / festive season, and a reasonably prosperous New Year (all things considered). Adios for now!

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

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Tech Predictions 2009: A more sensible approach to de-risking data loss

December 17, 2008 Leave a comment

This is one that should have happened a while back, given that all the technology pieces are in place and readily available, but fear not, 2009 will be the year for comprehensive information rights management. Yes, I said it.


The technologies that can be used to provide persistent protection for enterprise content have existed for several years as a product, or suite of products, known as Enterprise Digital Rights Management (ERM), or more recently Information Rights Management (IRM). Unfortunately, the take-up of these products has not been as robust as might reasonably be expected for such a useful enterprise capability. It quickly became clear that these types of defensive technologies, which do not generate immediate / obvious revenue, are relatively expendable in pursuit of the bottom line. Perhaps, as a consequence, the industry recently underwent consolidation, (mostly through acquisition by larger players), into a handful of information lifecycle management solution providers that offer Enterprise DRM / Information Rights Management solutions among their arsenal of products and capabilities. Key players now include: Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle (via acquisition of Stellent / SealedMedia), EMC (via acquisition of Documentum & Authentica) and Liquid Machines. 

So what has changed, and why should 2009 be any different?

  1. Well for one thing, the frequent reports of data loss incidents mean that the corporate world has had to start looking at ways to prevent future mishaps. However, even current initiatives like wholesale corporate data encryption and data loss prevention strategies are not totally fool proof; therefore many organisations are still likely to need a more effective approach towards managing and securing information, especially one that will work even after data is lost or misplaced.
  2. Secondly, there are signs that ERM vendors are waking up to the key role they have to play in creating the ecosystem of solutions required to tackle data loss issues head-on. For example, some vendors have begun integrating their ERM products with existing Data Loss Prevention systems in order to provide effective control of information, both within and outside the enterprise security perimeter, (i.e. in the Jericho philosophy of deperimeterised security).
  3. Finally, although ERM is a direct offshoot of media Digital Rights Management (DRM), and provides similar capabilities for content control, it is unlikely to face the same fate as the latter, (see more on this from my DRM blog), for the simple reason that they serve very different markets / needs. A recent study of the ERM market shows a steady increase in awareness and adoption by organisations in various sectors like finance, healthcare and IT consulting among others

.In light of the above, I believe it that we shall start to see more examples of holistic security and information management as a major step towards mitigating the risk of data loss. The solutions, like the problems they solve, are not restricted to one product, channel or strategy; therefore it would most likely be achieved via a combination of components that include: ERM / IRM solutions; DLP systems; enhanced Information Security Policies; and the traditional corporate security and perimeter defence mechanisms.

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Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog.  You can see the original post, including comments, at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2008/11/help_theres_an_architect_in_th.php

How About Some “Fair Trade” Music?

December 8, 2008 Leave a comment

And this time artistes get to be the wronged parties in the world-gone-mad state of the record industry. Ps. if you are a multi-platinum artiste, with a lucrative 360 degree deal, this may not apply to you.

Fair Trade music (thanks Dave Viney) is, to my mind, a succinct way of describing the enduring tension between labels, customers and artistes in the music industry. It conjures up an equitable division of both revenue and value between them along with clear cut responsibilities (e.g. artistes create music, labels promote it, and consumers enjoy it). But surely isn’t that the same as the original music industry model? Now I’ll go all consultant and answer “Yes & No”. Firstly, the original music industry value chain is not really broken, it just needed recalibration of the revenue slices in the digital music pie, and besides labels have always done a great job in marketing the artiste / work. Secondly, in the above scenario, the consumer does not necessarily have to pay money for enjoying the music; the fair trade system must be flexible enough to support non-monetary transactions.

In recent years, it has often been the province of music fans to come off as the injured party as a result of developments like DRM and illegal download law suites. However, it is really the artistes, especially newer ones, or the indie / alternative / niche variety, that have been the poor relation in the industry, (perhaps even more-so in recent times). The role of fair trade music, as already espoused by several examples, (you can google it here), is to ensure that all key stakeholders are equally represented / engaged in creating, and profiting from, tomorrow’s music industry, starting today. Some supporting evidence for this position is drawn from three very different events I attended in the last couple of weeks, as follows:

MusicAlly’s Mobile Music on the Dock – This event literally put mobile music on trial, in an attempt to understand if it had indeed delivered on much hyped promises (see full story here). The result was a draw by the way, but a recurring theme in the debate was that the mobile music players needed to engage better with artistes and their management.

The Future of Music – I presented a short lecture on this topic at the London Metropolitan University Business School, and some of the questions raised by attendees (which consisted mainly of prospective music business moguls and entrepreneurs) concerned the future of the artistes. They were clearly interested in ensuring that there remained adequate incentives for artistes to continue making the music that fueled the industry. This is also echoed in this blogpost about the upcoming music industry event, MIDEM, in Cannes early next year.

Leaders In London – This event, complete with a stellar cast of business gurus and thought leaders, dwelt a lot on the role of leadership during tough economic times. Jack Welsh, (legendary ex-CEO of GE), suggested, in response to a question from yours truly, that the music industry needed to innovate its way out of the current mess brought on by technology innovation / disruption. To my mind this simply spells out the need for innovative business models that must take into account the critical value of the artiste, among other things.

In conclusion, it would seem that the solution to the music industry’s woes could start with, or at the very least incorporate, the concept of “Fair Trade Music”, as a way to ensure the ecosystem of the future is both well balanced and in sync with the needs of the participants.

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

Leadership in tough times

December 7, 2008 Leave a comment

The recent Leaders in London event brought together some great business leaders (e.g. Jack Welch & Muhammad Yunus) and inspired speakers (e.g. Rudy Giuliani & Carly Fiorina) to share their thoughts on the main topic du-jour for most CxOs, i.e. how to lead their organization through the current economic crises.


This two day event, chaired by author / business guru, Rene Carayol, succeeded in delivering immense value to attendees, (ranging from newly minted MBAs to seasoned CEOs), and included additional master-class days by business thought leaders like Dan Pink and Daniel Goleman. Key messages from my attendance on day two includes:

  • The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, emphasized that the role of leadership in times of crises was about motivating people, fostering & recognizing teamwork, and remaining visibly present and optimistic even during the toughest of times.
  • Legendary CEO, Jack Welch, gave a moderated interview / Q&A session, (via satellite link), with his classic forthright opinion on a variety of topics e.g.: the current economic crisis (a breakdown in the financial industry); management theory (only pundits think new management models are the answer); and emerging markets like Nigeria (challenged young leaders to change the game). I could not resist asking if there were any applicable lessons to be learnt from the recording industry’s own crises. His answer: It was caused by technology innovation; therefore need to respond with innovation, in the business model.
  • Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks, described their journey from start-up to becoming a successful company with firm values of fun, sustainability and focus on doing one thing well.
  • Inspirational leadership helped retired US Naval Commander, Captain Michael Abrashoff, to turn his ship from the worst to best performing ship in the US Pacific fleet. His mantra: give up control, achieve command.
  • Prof. Vijay Govindarajan (Tuck Business School) stated that organizational strategies should be focused on creating “next practice”, and not adopting current best practice. Also that strategy architecture should address five key areas of: non-linear shifts, strategic intent, core competencies, growth playbook and new competencies
  • According to Prof. Gary Hamel, (London Business School), management has stopped evolving and most companies now have more or less the same management models. His hierarchy of desirable management outcomes covers traditional qualities like: Obedience, Diligence and Intellect, as well as the emerging need to inspire Initiative, Creativity and Passion in employees.

Overall, this was one heck of an event, even if only for the quality of invited speakers, but the key message from most of the sessions I attended was about the critical value of inspiration and motivation as the best way for leaders to engage people into delivering above and beyond the call of duty, particularly in these most turbulent of times.

 

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Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog.  You can see the original post, including comments, at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2008/12/leadership_in_tough_times.php