Archive for April, 2009

Pirate Bay Verdict

April 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The much awaited verdict on the Pirate Bay trial has finally arrived, and the four defendants are now facing some jail time and monetary fines for their roles in abetting copyright infringement. Perhaps this is the expected outcome but what does it really achieve?

The cynic in me thinks that nothing has really been gained either way, because it remains to be seen if this verdict will serve as an effective deterrent to all the other Pirate Bays out there, given that similar high profile cases in the past (e.g. Napster or Grokster) did not stop the rise of other services (e.g. Pirate Bay). So this could well turn out to be just another chapter in the eternal dance between the envelope and those that seek to push it (well its Friday and I like my metaphor cocktails…). On the other hand, if this results in the unlikely cessation of content piracy, I would be keen to see if / how it will affect the bottom line of aggrieved content industry plaintiffs.

Perhaps the problem is not just Pirate Bay or digital piracy at all, as they are probably just mere symptoms of a more fundamental shift in consumer behaviours triggered by the digital revolution. If that is the case then, it may be more sensible and effective to support the content industry and the whole copyright framework in adapting to these changes, rather than engaging in the weary process of other high profile lawsuits which only move the game to another playing field.

On the same theme of litigation, the register reports that the European Commission has called for a change in UK laws to better enforce confidentiality of communications. This in response to the “lack of action” by the UK government over the secret BT / Phorm trials some years ago. It also reported this week, that some companies and organisations, notably Amazon and Wikimedia, have requested for their domains and websites to be excluded from further non-secret trials of this service, in order to protect the privacy of their customers. It would seem that people are indeed paying attention after all.


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


Blog on Bloggers: The Top 3 Qualities Of Great Bloggers.

April 6, 2009 2 comments

Last week I attended an informal Bloggers Meetup event in London’s West End, mostly out of curiosity, and to see what some of our fellow bloggers looked like in real life. From observing and conversing with a few of the attendees, I started to pick out some of the key qualities that make for an excellent blogger.

First of all, I can gladly confirm that bloggers are real people too, and given the right amount of drinks and nibbles, they can be very talkative indeed – just like everyone else I’m sure. So if like me, you wish to become a great blogger, below are my top 3 list of attributes that should help you on your way:

  1. Be Topical – Great bloggers challenge and stimulate their audience with thought-provoking takes on issues (both online and off-line). For example, during a conversation with two Computer Weekly bloggers (i.e. Phillip Virgo and Tony Collins) at the event, it did not take very long to dive into controversial IT / Government topics-du-jour like: The impending Digital Economy Bill; the general elections (and the role of IT); as well as various spectacular IT disasters which you’ll find mentioned on their respective blogs. Result: A very informative and entertaining conversation.
  2. Be Experienced / Accomplished – How else can you hope to have an informed opinion on your subject matter? The fact is that most blog audiences are probably quite well informed already, and they are more likely than not to be after some added value, or a different perspective, on topics of interest them. So if you don’t know it, don’t blag it, or else you’ll lose them pretty fast.
  3. Be Passionate – Somebody once said that a truly blessed person is one that actually gets paid for doing what they enjoy, (and might perhaps otherwise do for free). So the third key attribute is all about having an emotional connection with your chosen subject, be it about technology or chocolate, and not being afraid to show and share it with your audience. The rewards can be self evident in the higher levels of engagement with that audience.

The above 3 qualities may be observed in any one of the really great blogs out there, and I believe that with these, and a dash of other optional attributes (e.g. style, humour and originality), it won’t be long before you too are on the road to blogging greatness. In any case, the Bloggers Meetup provided an interesting opportunity to meet / network with other bloggers and to see how they look, sound and act like in person. Thanks to the organisers and sponsors for an excellent evening, and I hope they’ll do more of the same in future.

Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog.  You can see the original post, including comments, at: