Posts Tagged ‘Conference’

Copyright and Technology in 2013

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Last month’s conference on copyright and technology provided plenty of food for thought from an array of speakers, organisations, viewpoints and agendas. Topics and discussions ran the gamut of increasingly obvious “business models are more important than technology” to downright bleeding edge “hypersonic activation of devices from outdoor displays “. There was something to take away for everyone involved. Read on for highlights.

The Mega Keynote interview: Mega’s CEO Vikram Kumar, discussed how the new and law-abiding cloud storage service is proving attractive to professionals who want to use and pay for the space, security and privacy that Mega provides. This is a far cry from the notorious MegaUpload, and founder Kim Dotcom’s continuing troubles with charges of copyright infringement, but there are still questions about the nature of the service – e.g. the end-to-end encryption approach which effectively makes it opaque to outside scrutiny.  Read more about it here.

Anti-Piracy and the age of big data – Mark Monitor’s Thomas Sehested talked about the rise of data / content monitoring and anti-piracy services in what he describes as the data driven media company. He also discussed the demise of content release windows, and how mass / immediate release of content across multiple channels lowers piracy, but questioned if this is more profitable.

Hadopi and graduated response – Hadopi’s Pauline Blassel gave an honest overview on the impact of Hadopi, including evidence of some reduction in piracy (by factor of 6M-4M) before stabilsation. She also described how this independent public authority delivers graduated response in a variety of ways e.g. from raising awareness to imposing penalties and focusing primarily on what is known as PUR (aka ‘Promotion les Usage Responsible’)

Auto Content Recognition (ACR) and the 2nd Screen – ACR is a core set of tools (including DRM, watermarking and fingerprinting), and the 2nd screen opportunity (at least for broadcasters) is all about keeping TV viewership and relevance in the face of tough competition for people’s time and attention. This panel session discussed monetisation of second screen applications, and the challenges of how TV is regulated, pervasive and country specific. Legal broadcast rights is aimed at protection of broadcast signals, which triggers the 2nd screen application, (e.g. via ambient / STB / EPG based recognition). This begs the question of what regulation should be applied to the 2nd screen, and what rights apply? E.g. Ads on TV can be replaced in the 2 screen, but what are the implications?

Update on the Copyright Hub – The Keynote address by Sir Richard Hooper, chair of the Copyright Hub and co-author of the 2012 report on Copyright Works: Streamlining Copyright Licensing for the Digital Age, was arguably the high point of the event. He made the point that although there are issues with copyright in the digital age, the creative industries need to get off their collective backsides and streamline the licensing process before asking for a change in copyright law. He gave examples of issues with the overly complex educational licensing process and how the analogue processes are inadequate for the digital age (e.g. unique identifiers for copyright works).

Sir Richard Hooper

Sir Richard Hooper

The primary focus of the Copyright Hub, according to Sir Richard, is to enable high volume – low value transactions, (e.g. to search, license and use copyright works legally) by individuals and SMEs. The top tier content players already have dedicated resources for such activities hence they’re not a primary target of the Copyright Hub, but they’ll also benefit by removing the need to deal with trivial requests for licensing individual items (e.g. to use popular songs for wedding videos on YouTube).

Next phase work, and other challenges, for the Copyright Hub include: enabling consumer reuse of content, architectures for federated search, machine to machine transactions, orphan works registry & mass digitisation (collective licensing), multi licensing for multimedia content, as well as the need for global licensing. Some key messages and quotes in the ensuing Q&A include:

  • “the Internet is inherently borderless and we must think global licensing, but need to walk before we can run”
  • “user-centricity is key.  People are happy not to infringe if easy / cheap to be legal”
  • “data accuracy is vital, so Copyright Hub is looking at efforts from Linked Content Coalition and Global Repertoire Database”
  • “Metadata is intrinsic to machine to Machine transactions – do you know it is a crime to strip metadata from content?”
  • “Moral rights may add to overall complexity”

As you can probably see from the above, this one day event delivered the goods and valuable insights to the audience, which included people from the creative / content industries, as well as technologists, legal practitioners, academics and government agencies. Kudos to MusicAlly, the event organiser, and to Bill Rosenblatt, (conference chair), for a job well done.

Next Stop: I’ll be discussing key issues and trends with Digital Economy and Law at a 2 day event, organised by ACEPI,  in Lisbon. Watch this space.


The Open Group Conference

July 21, 2012 Leave a comment

This week’s quarterly Open Group conference in Washington DC,  featured several thought provoking sessions around key issues / developments of interest and concern to the IT world, including: Security, Cloud, Supply Chain, Enterprise Transformation (including Innovation), and of course Enterprise Architecture (including TOGAF and Archimate).

The Capitol in Washington DC

The Capitol in Washington DC

Below are some key highlights, captured from the sessions I attended (or presented), as follows:

Day 1 – Plenary session focused on Cyber Security, followed by three tracks on Supply Chain, TOGAF and SOA. Key messages included:

  • Key note by Joel Brenner described the Internet as a “porous and insecure network” which has become critical for so many key functions (e.g. financial, communications and operations) yet remains vulnerable to abuse by friends, enemies and competitors. Best quote of the conference, was: “The weakest link is not the silicon based unit on the desk, but the carbon based unit in the chair” (also tweeted and mentioned in @jfbaeur’s blog here)
  • NIST’s Dr. Don Ross spoke about a perfect storm of consumerisation (BYOD), ubiquitous connectivity and sophisticated malware, leading to an “advanced persistent threat” enabled by available expertise / resources, multiple attack vectors and footholds in infrastructure
  • MIT’s Professor Yossi Sheffi expounded on the concept of building security and resilience for competitive advantage. This, he suggested, can be done by embracing “flexibility DNA”, (as exhibited in a few successful organisations), into the culture of your organisation. Key flexibility traits include:
    • Your resilience and security framework must drive, or at least feed into, “business-as-usual”
    • Continuous communication is necessary among all members of the organisation
    • Distribute the power to make decisions (especially to those closer to the operations)
    • Create a passion for your work and the mission
    • Deference to expertise, especially in times of crisis
    • Maintain conditioning for disruptions – ability for stability is good, but flexibility to handle change is even better
  • Capgemini’s Mats Gejneval discussed agility and enterprise architecture using Agile methods and TOGAF. He highlighted the relationship flow between: agile process -> agile architecture -> agile project delivery -> agile enterprise, and how the latter outcome requires each of the preceding qualities (e.g. agile methods, and faster results, on its own will not deliver agile solutions or enterprise). My favourite quote, during the Q/A, was: “…remember that architects hunt in packs!”

Day 2 – Plenary session focused on Enterprise Transformation followed by four streams on Security Architecture, TOGAF Case Studies, Archimate Tutorials, and EA & Enterprise Transformation (including our session on Innovation & EA). Key Highlights include:

  • A case study on the role of open standards for enterprise transformation, featured Jason Uppal (Chief Architect at QRS), describing the transformation of Toronto’s University Health Network into a dynamic and responsive organisation, by placing medical expertise and requirements above the flexible, open standards based, IT delivery.
  • A view on how to modernise service to citizens via a unified (or “single window government”) approach was provided by Robert Weisman (CEO of Build a Vision Inc). He described the process to simplify key events (from 1400 down to 12 major life events) around which the services could be defined and built.
  • Samira Askarova (CEO of WE Solutions Group) talked about managing enterprise transformation through transitional architectures. She likened business transformation to a chameleon with: its huge, multi-directional eyes (i.e. for long term views), the camouflage ability (i.e. changing colours to adapt), and the deliberate gait (i.e. making changes one step at a time)
  • The tutorial session on Innovation and EA, by Corey Glickman (Capgemini’s lead for Innovation-as-a-Managed Service) and yours truly, discussed the urgent need for EA to play a vital role in bridging the gap between rapid business model innovation and rapid project delivery (via Agile). It also provided several examples, as well as a practical demonstration of the Capgemini innovation service platform, which was well received by the audience. Key take aways include:
    • Innovation describes an accomplishment, after the fact
    • EA can bridge the gap between strategy (in the business model) and rapid project delivery (via Agile)
    • Enterprise Architecture must actively embrace innovation
    • Engage with your partners, suppliers, customers and employees – innovation is not all about technology
    • Creating a culture of innovation is key to success
    • Remember, if you are not making mistakes, you are not innovating

Day 3 – Featured three streams on Security Automation, Cloud Computing for Business, and Architecture methods and Techniques. Highlights from the Cloud stream (which I attended) include:

  • Capgemini’s Mark Skilton (Co-chair of the Open Group’s Cloud Working Group) talked about the right metrics for measuring cloud computing’s ability to deliver business architecture and strategy. He discussed the complexity of Cloud and implications for Intellectual Property, as well as the emergence of ecosystem thinking (e.g. ecosystem architecture’ and ‘ecosystem metrics’) for cloud computing and applications
  • A debate about the impact of cloud computing on modern IT organisational structure raised the point that a dysfunctional relationship exists between business and IT with respect to cloud services. The conclusion (and recommendation) is that healthy companies tend to avoid buying cloud services in business silos, instead they will pursue a single cloud strategy, in collaboration with IT, which is responsible for maintenance, security and integration into the enterprise landscape
  • Prakash Rao, of the FEAC Institute, discussed Enterprise Architecture patterns for Cloud Computing. He reiterated the point made earlier about how enterprise architecture can be used to align enterprise patterns (i.e. business models) to development processes. Also that enterprise patterns enable comparison and benchmarking of cloud services in order to determine competitive advantage


The bullet items and observations recorded above does not do justice to breadth and depth of the entire conference which included networking with attendees from over 30 countries, across all key industries / sectors, plus multiple, simultaneous streams, sessions and activities, many of which I could not possibly attend. Overall, this was an excellent event that did not disappoint. Further materials can be found on the Open Group website, including:

I would recommend the Open Group conference to any professional in IT and beyond.

Innovating and Enabling Digital Futures

July 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Certain trends and observations in the use and growth of content and communication technologies make it clear that the future of digital enterprise will depend heavily on key enablers such as Mobile Infrastructure. As ever, technology is probably the least of a set of key challenges facing those that would capitalize on such clear foresight, and this was the topic of my webcast at a BrightTalk Summit earlier this week.

Mobile Infrastructure: Innovating and Enabling Digital Futures

Mobile Infrastructure: Innovating and Enabling Digital Futures

First of all, my thanks to the kind people at BrightTalk for inviting me to share some thoughts and opinions at their Mobile Infrastructure Summit (click here to view the full webcast), and despite running out of time near the end, the audience feedback was most generous. To summarise briefly, some key points of discussion included:

  • Social, technology & business trends (with particular relevance to mobile)
  • Demand, usage, fulfillment and monetisation scenarios
  • Key issues around privacy, security, and health & safety
  • Opportunities with business models, Cloud and next generation mobile capabilities
  • An overview of 5 key stakeholders, business model innovation and our approach to innovation

The one message to take away from this, in my opinion, is the clear need and responsibility of any digital / mobile enabled enterprise to engage in constant innovation and adaptation of its business model, process and customer engagement approach. The current business environment has become far too dynamic and fluid for any rigid or hierarchical approach to remain unchallenged for any length of time.

Other events and similar discussions:

Interestingly, some of the above points were either echoed, or expanded on, by speakers at other relevant events I attended this month, notably:

  1. Google Apps Seminar – This event, hosted at Google’s office near Buckingham Palace, addressed four key trends (i.e. innovation, collaboration, social and mobility) and provided insight into what it takes to migrate from hosted services to Cloud based enterprise applications services, including real life examples from companies such as Jaguar Landrover and Ladbrokes.
  1. Mobile Privacy – Another excellent Mashup Event which dealt with various privacy issues thrown up by mobile services, as well as the implication of ‘giving a user control over their data’. This session boasted a good cross section of industry players, in addition to a pretty knowledgeable panel, which made for some intelligent exchange of views on such things as the meaning (or meaninglessness) of Privacy in a mobile and global context.
  1. CW5000 Club – This was a networking event for CIO and IT leaders to discuss the Web’s Next Generation, and featured speakers from Betfair, BBC Worldwide, Net-A-Porter and Interactive Media in Retail Group. Key high-light for me was that discussions consistently returned to the theme of customer centricity. Progress, IMHO!

Copyright and Technology 2010 Conference

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week’s event on copyright and technology has led me to the conclusion that a long-overdue dialogue is slowly taking place between two vital groups in the digital content economy, i.e. the legal and technology stakeholders. However, it also raised some questions about likely winners and losers in the evolution of a digital content ecosystem.

This inaugural conference took place in in New York City, and I was lucky enough to be invited to moderate a panel session on the role and future of DRM, and other content protection technologies, that inhabit the interface between copyright and technology. Below are some key messages from this event:

  • DRM is not quite dead. If anything it is alive and well, outside of “permanent Internet music downloads”, according to event chairman Bill Rosenblatt in his opening address, which was also a master class on the trajectory of challenges and developments in the battle between copyright and digital technology.
  • “Sopranos level” commercial piracy, as operated by sophisticated / profit-oriented criminal organizations, (i.e. not your ordinary file-sharing individual) have become the key focus of attention and anti-piracy efforts by major content owners. According to Viacom’s Stanley Pierre-Louis, organizations like Viacom are making every effort to find the “right balance to take advantage of new platforms whilst protecting IP”.
  • Innovative approaches are critical for video content monetization – For example, Ads are video too, and Google’s Shalini Govil-Pai described how more brands are now using YouTube to ‘prove’ their ads before putting them out via more expensive broadcast TV channels
  • Interoperability is vital. And initiatives like the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) will help “provide users with a choice of platforms”, according to Mitch Singer (CTO for Sony Pictures Entertainment). However, one notable absentee from this 50+ strong consortium is Apple which operates its own closed content ecosystem.
  • “You can’t monetize what you can’t identify”, therefore correct content identification is a critical element in any monetization effort. Technologies like Fingerprinting and Watermarking both play a large part in making this happen, but there’s still more work to be done, and implementation can be tough.
  • Progressive Response (aka 3 Strikes) and ISP level monitoring may be flawed – A telling question from speaker Gary Greenstein, (IP lawyer from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati) was: “What if you connect to your own music collection over an ISP, would that not be a false positive for copyright infringement”?
  • Rights Management is still a major headache – An observation from my panel session was that although DRM still has a role and future (even if by another name) in digital content monetization, by far the bigger issue for content owners remains the challenge of inadequate rights management for content. This is an area that is actively being addressed by companies like Teradata, SAP and Capgemini which together can deliver even more innovative solutions for IP rights management

However, there is still a lot of work to be done before copyright and technology can claim to work well together (see my session intro slides). One attendee’s poignant observation highlighted the relatively limited availability of legal content (perhaps as a result of cumbersome content rights models, infrastructure issues or outdated release window models), versus widely available but illegal / pirate copies that can be found online, sometimes even before commercial release of the product!

In conclusion, this was a very useful and timely conference given the high level of engagement and interaction (including the customaryTwitter commentary) between audience and speakers, right from the start. However it could have done with mixing up the legal / technology streams a bit more, but the overall feedback was positive, and I suspect many attendees, and the entire content industry, would benefit from more of this type of event and dialogue in the future. Hopefully the next one might even be held right here in London – aka the birthplace of modern copyright!

Copyright and Technology

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

These two mostly work hand in hand especially as a change in one typically brings about a change in the other, think P2P file sharing and DMCA or Digital Economy Act. So why is this the case, and will it ever change?

It is hard to think of a scenario where copyright is not tightly related to technology, for the simple reason that even the act of copying (at least to any economically significant scale) is highly dependent on having access to an appropriate copy technology. Interestingly, the UK’s Statute of Anne, which is widely regarded as the first fully fledged copyright law, came into being after the introduction of print duplication technology, aka the printing press. Given where we are today, with ubiquitous and massively available digital duplication and dissemination technologies, copyright has become even more intertwined with everyday technology; from early music players to broadcast receivers and shiny new mobile / media / communication devices. As a result, it has become even more urgent to find ways in which to make copyright and technology work better together.

These and other pressing topics will be up for debate at the inaugural / eponymous Copyright and Technology 2010 conference which will be taking place this Thursday in New York City, and yours truly will be there to participate and hopefully get some indication of where things are heading in the near-mid term. The two tracks of this conference are divided equally between technology and legal aspects of copyright, which should make for some interesting cross-fertilisation of ideas and potential insight to the future of copyright. Watch this space.

Translating Music Technology Innovation into Real Opportunities

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Music 4.5 event in London will try to show how this can be done, by combining the main ingredients of: “music tech start-ups, serial entrepreneurs, investors, artists, band managers and key industry players” in a programme of events designed to enable them to share, exchange, inspire and network ideas with each other, and with you the audience.

It often seems like the first few months of each New Year are overrun by a veritable smorgasbord of major Events, Conferences and Summits that demand attendance (and / or attention at the very least). Presumably it’s a good way to kick-start the year and take stock of what the other guys are up to. It also helps companies to generate major buzz around new products, services and other hypeware. Some of the key yearly events of this ilk include:

  • MIDEM – January in Cannes, France. The premier global music industry event where all the big deals and announcements are made (only perhaps more-so in those heady pre-digital days. Sniff!).
  • The World Economic Forum – January in Davos, Switzerland. Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, an international body that is “committed to improving the state of the world”. So there.
  • MacWorld – February in San Francisco, USA. This year saw the launch of the uber-hyped Apple iPad. It is the main event at which the Apple faithful gather to pray.
  • TED (Technology Education & Design) – February in Long Beach, USA. TED is all about “ideas worth spreading”, and this is where potential future Nobel Laureates come to share their thoughts / angst.
  • Mobile World Congress (MWC) – February in Barcelona, Spain. This is the mobile equivalent of the CES, and is where all new mobile products / services get prime time, (at least until next month).

So after the first couple of months, one might be forgiven for thinking that people must surely be struggling with severe event fatigue. But apparently not so, because of what can only be described as an insatiable appetite for yet more events, (and perhaps the perks thereof, think cute gift / goodie bags, air miles, and after party / networking sessions).

In any case, one can only conclude that said event organizers, speakers and attendees, (sometimes event entire industries), are still seeking answers for whatever ails them most in a dynamically converging digital landscape of disruptive technologies and beleaguered business models. To that end, it would be great if more focused events like Music 4.5 could provide some of those answers, where possible, in an environment that allows participants to roll up their sleeves and come up with real strategies and solutions to deliver the titular 4.5 percent ROI from music tech startups. Watch this space.


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

In Search of Mash-Up Licensing

June 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Every so often I am fortunate enough to be invited to participate (as speaker or facilitator) in a conference or summit that is focused on rights and licensing within industries outside of the usual suspects of music and media. However, it is generally pretty much the same in terms of the key challenges with getting stakeholders to agree the best ways to tackle this most pressing issue. So what was so different about the recent OGC Summit at MIT in Boston?

For one thing it was pleasant surprise to discover a sincere effort, by the good people of the Open Geo Spatial Consortium (OGC), to open up the debate to outsiders like myself and such experts as DRM Guru, Bill Rosenblatt; XACML Evangelist, Hal Lockhart; and other key speakers from related communities like the Science Commons and W3C. This was done deliberately to inject external but relevant perspectives into their deliberations (I think it has to do with the “Open” in their title). In any case I found it an interesting day’s event, full of enthusiastic participation by delegates and speakers, with some key take-outs, from my point-of-view, that include:

  • GeoData Exploitation – GeoRM poses unique challenges to the established world of Intellectual Property, eCommerce, Usage and Control, mainly because Geographical Data is a specific type of factual data, which is not in itself liable to copyright protection. However, the packaging, presentation and application of the data (which extends to the exciting world of Location Based Services) is definitely worth protecting and exploiting, hence the efforts by the OGC to nail this area before it becomes fragmented and uncontrollable is too late
  • Mash-Up Licensing – The direction of progress, in all likelihood, points towards a definitive move away from static to dynamic content usage, and from paper-based to electronic rights management (as highlighted by Graham Vowles – chair of the GeoRM WG in his opening address). This indicates a forward look towards the potential to licence dynamic electronic applications and usage scenarios which are as yet undreamt hence the term “Mash-up licensing”.
  • Shades of control – after much debate over the impracticality of predicting future user intent or consumer behaviours, it quickly became clear that the issue of managing access to Geodata would require a gradient or shades of access and control that varies from consumers (i.e. lower controls) to more rigid forms for commercial enterprise / professional / government users. This neatly helps to focus efforts where the value lies (i.e. commercial usage), and to maximise the viral / social benefits derived from ordinary users (i.e. free advertising / capturing hearts & minds)

The second part of the day was devoted to finding the best ways forward / next steps towards establishing and developing a standardised model for encoding Geo rights models in a way that it will enable interoperability between the diverse licensing models used / required by different communities. The consensus was:

  1. to open up the debate via a forum that promotes greater dialogue between communities, and which will not just focus on technology but also the business requirements;
  2. To create a test bed for trying out these candidate models in a safe and trusted environment; and to create use cases for each domain in order to identify commonalities that would be used to make up the standard.
  3. Finally, to acknowledge that although a difficult undertaking, it is well worth it, even if it is “just for the common good” –a sentiment / motivation that the scientific community would certainly subscribe to!

So in all, it was a very useful exercise and one which when kicked off will possibly lead the way for other industries to emulate in resolving rights management issues from the front. If the only thing that results from this summit is the adoption of a bill of rights on geospatial data, (e.g. see O’Reilly’s post on Health Data Rights here) then it would be a job well done.


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