A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate, as chair & speaker, at a BCS Entrepreneurs event discussing the role and value of Intellectual Property for start-ups and entrepreneurs. As you might imagine this was a well attended event with so many different questions foremost on the minds of various attendees.
Given the focus on my favourite topics of IP and entrepreneurship, it didn’t take much persuasion for me to sign-up and chair the event. Furthermore, I was in the company of two legal experts on: EU IP law (Jonathan Exell, from William Powells) and employment law (Bob Fahy, from Veale Wasbrough Vizards) respectively. Also the attendees were certainly not shy to engage and they took some delight in systematically dissecting the trickier aspects of entrepreneurship and the start-up vs. IP challenge in a changing landscape.
As introduction and kickoff, I provided a quick overview of some of those key challenges facing startups with respect to IP. This was mainly based on a previous post and article I’d written and published about this same topic.
The first speaker followed through with a thorough recap of the legal position on IP particularly with regard to the EU and Brexit. Key message: it’ll likely be business as usual for IP in post Brexit UK, at least in the near term. Also, it is highly unlikely that the UK will deviate too radically from the increasingly aligned position on IP which most of the world enjoy today.
The second legal perspective provided some insights on key challenges and opportunities facing anyone trying to manage the IP risks and issues associated with employees, disgruntled or otherwise. Here the lines become somewhat blurred between contract vs. employment vs. IP laws. It was interesting to observe the number of questions relating to how founders should approach the challenge of establishing who has what IP (and / or portions thereof) when their start-up fails, flounders, or even flourishes!
To say this event was informative and enlightening would be an understatement because the second part of the seminar consisted of 1-to-1 mentorship sessions, with experienced BCS mentors exploring attendees individual circumstances in order to provide specific guidance based on the topic at hand. Pure value delivered, if you ask me. As an exercise in giving back, I can think of no better way to spend an evening than by learning, interacting and exploring various start-up IP challenges with enthusiastic entrepreneurs, mentors and experts from within and outside of the BCS.
One thing I love about my work is how it affords me unfettered opportunity to give back, by providing dedicated time (and a measurable objective) to undertake pro bono activities, such as this one, which is aimed at helping others in need of expertise or guidance for projects, worthy causes or personal development. Pure Ohana!
…despite the recession, and along with the usual fanfare of a demo / presentation that set alight the whole infosphere, (i.e. blogosphere / twittersphere / and-all-other-web2.0-spheres). However, the one thing that sticks out the most for me is the fact that I will soon be able to “Cut, Copy and Paste” stuff on my iPhone, (which really should have been a standard feature from the outset), so what’s with all the hoopla?
For one thing, Apple sure knows how to push out the (new) media envelope, by inviting journos, bloggers and twitterazzi of all shapes and sizes to cover the event live on the net (e.g. see Wired’s Liveblog coverage). PS. I also learnt a new word on Twitter as this event topped the list of Trending topics for most of yesterday (Fyi. “Trending” gives an indication of the most twittered topics). As our US colleagues might say, go figure.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, numbers really do say it all. For example: Apple has sold circa 30 million iPhones and iPod Touch devices since launch. Also there are some Fifty Thousand developers signed up to the official iPhone developer program, with over 800,000 downloads of the iPhone SDK so far.
Finally, iPhone OS 3.0 promises to deliver a lot of eagerly anticipated features which include, but are not limited to:
1. Usability Features – e.g. Cut Copy and Paste and landscape editing mode for key apps
2. Extended App Support – with over 1000 new APIs that will truly extend the capabilities of future apps
3. Myriad other features – including Push notification, Search, MMS support, Stereo Bluetooth Access, to name a few.
In conclusion, it promises to be a bumper crop of new features for the iPhone / iPod touch brigade this summer, and the extended API support may also see the beginning of more serious forays into the enterprise market; but perhaps the most important thing is that at I will soon be able to “Cut, Copy and Paste” stuff on my iPhone, (like so). I say, bring on the summer!
Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog. You can see the original post, including comments, at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2009/03/iphone_os_30_unveiled.php
Certainly makes an apt title for the current and future states of the music business, because despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the recording industry and / or the credit crunch, and other similar tales of woe, it hasn’t all ground to a screeching halt, yet. So does this mean there is room for some optimism after all?
The following nuggets, and micro trend indicators, highlight just a few things that might lend further credence to this viewpoint:
- Artistes are still producing stuff, lots of stuff, and they are using every conceivable media outlet available to expose their works. This is somewhat contrary to the widely propagated perception that piracy is killing the creative artiste. It is also often held that a “true” artiste is arguably one that creates things “because they must” and not necessarily because they are paid for it. Hah!
- Music is far much easier to produce, remix and collaborate, thanks to digital technology. This supports the above point (i.e. by better enabling the creative process) and, perhaps sadly, the perception by some that music is of less value as a consequence.
- The real music business of licensing and publishing is still doing great, and will continue to do so for some time to come; especially with the regular entry of other / new and innovative players into the game. There is still money to be made here, without a doubt.
- The games and music combo is big, and will get even bigger. This is obvious given the explosive growth of music based games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band and other derivatives of the genre
- Virtual worlds are going to be huge for the music industry – faint glimmers of this potential exist with the likes of Habbo virtual music festival, and other in-world, band-to-fan direct interactivity facilitators.
- Oh, and don’t forget mobile music. The returns from mobile music can only increase along with the various; always connected, fully mobile, all-you-can-eat models, services and supported devices that could very well spell the end of iPod’s dominance.
- Music usage and tracking technologies will play a major role in accounting, reconciliation and royalty distribution, among other things, and they could be used to lead the way towards a more robust method for implementing legal music-as-a-service propositions
- Evolving online music distribution and pricing models – Nothing is off limits, not even Apple, because Artistes can now use iPhone Apps (wrapped around a track or album) to get around the 99 cent per track limitation on iTunes (i.e. just when you think you have it cracked, someone always finds a way to do it differently).
The current and future horizon of the music industry is replete with these and other, perhaps even more innovative, developments. Therefore I’ll boldly say that the future for music is indeed bright, (not necessarily Orange), but bright nonetheless. The main reason behind all this, in my opinion, is that music and technology have always been very closely intertwined; ever since the first acoustic instruments (e.g. sticks and stones) provided rhythmic accompaniment to the song and dance of our early cave ancestors, (perhaps in celebration of a successful hunt, with said sticks and stones), to the very latest ultra-techno-whizzo, uber-kool, online / in-world jam session simultaneously happening in both real and virtual worlds. Finally, technology innovation in music always brings great opportunities right alongside the more immediate and disruptive consequences, therefore a time invariably comes when the former exceeds the latter, and it appears that time is at hand for this particular episode.
Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.
…at last, and all Apple faithful / fanatics, gadget freaks and otherwise normal people, of every shape and description, have had a chance to get this sleek super-sexy-cool device which have been on sale since last Friday. So where is the fly in the ointment?
None it would seem – yet. This electronic Swiss army knife may be the ultimate personal electronic device, because it has got everything you could possibly want in this age of convergence. As a phone it is basically ok, but it really excels as a multi-talented media/ communications tool that leaves other competitors in the dust.
It simply goes to confirm Apple’s position as the poster child of market disruptors. The iPhone is positioned to do to the telephony device market what the iPod did to the music industry, and they both work with iTunes in a complete package.
But enough of this unabashed lust for all things Apple. My main interest lies, as ever, in what this means for the digital content stakeholders and the ‘Stakes Pie’ below just shows my opinion on the impact that this device will have on the major stakeholder groups.
DISCLAIMER: The included ‘Stakes Pie’ chart is intended only to convey an individual opinion.
The winners are:
- Commercial stakeholders (represented by Apple, O2, Carphone warehouse and content owners)
- The Consumers (i.e. purchasers of the device and services)
- Technology stakeholders (i.e. Apple / component manufacturers)
I’ll be interested to know if you think any different, and just in case you were wondering, No, I don’t own an iPhone or any shares in Apple!