Copyright And Technology 2012 Conference

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Yesterday saw the first UK edition of this annual conference, which took place in London’s Kings Fund venue. The full day conference featured panels and expert speakers on that most interesting, challenging and potentially lucrative topic at the junction of copyright, content and technology. And, another buzzword for the ‘social’ melting pot is: Social DRM! […]

Yesterday saw the first UK edition of this annual conference, which took place in London’s Kings Fund venue. The full day conference featured panels and expert speakers on that most interesting, challenging and potentially lucrative topic at the junction of copyright, content and technology. And, another buzzword for the ‘social’ melting pot is: Social DRM!

Copyright And Technology Conference Word Cloud

Copyright And Technology Conference Word Cloud

The event format involved the usual keynotes and plenary sessions, during the morning segment, and split into two streams covering technology and legal aspects, in the afternoon. Key take-outs for me included:

  1. User education on copyright content infringement is far too one-sided. According to expert copyright lawyer, Andrew Bridges, potential infringers / fans need credible teachers with a more balanced agenda
  2. Traditional Hollywood release window is under threat (from user demand for content here & now!)
  3. Piracy data collection / analysis are increasingly used by big content owners (e.g. Warner Bros  and HarperCollins) to identify potential demand for specific content via pirate channels. Interesting question by conference chair, Bill Rosenblatt, about whether content providers saw any potential for combining piracy data collection/analysis with social media buzz to perhaps help identify new market opportunities
  4. Media monitoring organisations can collect and analyse, with the consumer’s permission, actual usage data from user computers. According to the speaker from Warner Brothers, their research appears to confirm claims that HADOPI has had an impact with the decline in Peer-to-Peer file-sharing in France.
  5. According to MarkMonitor, a high proportion of pirated ebook content are in the PDF format, which some think may be a result of it’s portability between devices. Also, according to HarperCollins, some motivational factors for ebook piracy include: Pricing, DRM and territorial restrictions
  6. Content identification (via fingerprinting vs. session based watermarking) in content aware ecosystem using Automatic Content Recognition
  7. ‘Social DRM’ the use of user information to uniquely identify digital content (and to potentially name and shame file sharers) as described by CEO of Icontact. One attendee grilled the presenter about ways and means to crack it! Social DRM – Term coined by Bill McCoy at Adobe – (now at IDPF) is really just watermarking with personally identifiable information
  8. Bill Rosenblatt described LCP (Lightweight Content Protection) for ePub as being somewhere in the middle of the content protection continuum (between DRM free and Strong DRM). Publishing industry view on DRM is still in flux and genres such as (sci-fi, romance, IT) are mainly going DRM-free, but higher education content is still using strong DRM to protect content
  9. Finally, my technology stream panel session (on Security Challenges of Multi-Platform Content Distribution) saw key contributions from experts with different perspectives from: a Security Consultant (Farncombe), DRM Provider (Nagra), Business PoV (Castlabs) and a Content Owner (Sony Picture Entertainment).

Overall, this was a very good first outing for the Copyright & Technology conference, in London. The co- organisers, GiantSteps and MusicAlly did a great job pulling it off, (despite disappointment by a last minute cancellation of the keynote from the HADOPI Secretary General). I would certainly encourage anyone interested in the opportunities & challenges of content, technology and copyright to attend this conference. And yes, Social DRM is my new buzzword of the month!

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