The Digital Media Manifesto



Andy Finney


Comments on "Final draft of Digital Media Manifesto"




1: Should paragraphs be numbered? Or at least sections eg 2.1 Analogue Media

2: I know it's difficult, but the term 'media' is used interchangeably to mean both the medium and the message. This means that occasionally I have to stop, go back, and think about which usage is meant.

3: The term end-user should always be hyphenated.

4: The end of section one ... the bullet list ... refers to 'end-user rights'. I think it is useful for end-users (as all players) to understand that these are actually 'rights and privileges' since the essence of any agreement, as Lord Goodman famously put it, is benefit and burden on both sides. Only a small point but it could defuse arguments over whether 'fair use', 'home taping' and other exemptions are actually rights in the same way that a copyright is a right.

5: First para of 2 ... it may be simplest to just use $ here. In any case the other currency character has come out as a question mark on my machine so I don't know whether it's Euros, Pounds, Yen or Lire 8=) .

6: Start of 'Analogue Media' ... this is an example of the duality of the term media. The section heading and the first use of the word are actually slightly different meanings of the word. This is one instance where 'Although media can be packaged' might be better as 'Although content can be packaged ...' . You go a long way towards solving the duality issue by introducing the term 'CMSU' but I don't know whether this is a widely accepted expression. It is a bit of a stumbling block in reading and using the terms 'content' and 'distribution technologies' where you need to differentiate between the medium and the message. More importantly, I think that the use of the word 'immaterial' is incorrect since this word means 'doesn't
matter' whereas what you actually mean is 'has no material form'. 'Intangible' is perhaps a better word. This would rewrite Analogue Media in this way (with a little added nod to MacLuhan):

Although content can be packaged in different ways, they share the common feature that the media content is intangible. Whereas physical devices are required to create, move, store and use content, the content exists on a fundamentally separate level from its physical carriers. The older technologies for these carriers - now referred to as "analogue" - were employed throughout history by all content media until about 20 years ago. Traditionally, the tight connection of content with the technology it employed was a major feature. Examples include vinyl recording, broadcasting, cable television distribution and VHS recording. In each case the technology used materially affected the content; blurring the distinction between the medium and
the message.

The physical nature of analogue technologies played a major role in shaping media businesses, imposing unique and various limitations on cost, delivery, consumption, etc. This union between the technology and its intangible content also shaped public policy and legislation, for example laws concerning intellectual property and usage rights such as "fair use".

7: The 2nd para of Digitised Media includes this sentence: In the early years the negative impact on business of the compact disc (CD) - the first example of digitised consumer media - was minimal because duplication was extremely difficult and costly, although it was always technically possible.
I think I know what you mean but what you are actually saying is that CDs per se had a negative impact. Can I suggest ...

In the early years the negative impact on business of the unlawful production of compact discs (CDs) - the first example of digital consumer media - was minimal because duplication was extremely difficult and costly, although it was always technically possible.

8: In 'Legal solutions, so far' ... you refer to 'consumption devices'. I think you don't mean 'consumer' but 'consumption' has too many connotations of eating and disease (to an English person anyway) to seem right to me. Perhaps it just needs to say 'hardware' instead of 'consumption devices'.

9: Next to last para of 'DRM technology solution' ... Is a further worry of the value chain players also that the price of entry may be too high? (Thoughts from a small company!)

10: Last para the reference 'End-users ... can no longer do things they assumed it was their right to do' ... the use of the word 'assumed' may imply that the end-users were in error, which of course they were not. Can I suggest 'can no longer do all the things that they used to do with content'?

11: In 'One stalemate ..." I think that it is incorrect (at least as far as the UK is concerned) to say that the DM stalemate is slowing broadband down. Is it not the opposite? Broadband is slowed by lack of action by Telcos in a monopoly infrastructure (outwith the scope of this document). How about just 'The slow progress of broadband deployment is slowing the development of a networked market for DM and, in turn, slowing DM technological development.'

12: CMSU again (this time used as a verb!) In this case could you replace it with 'support'?

13: You note that major players have avoided exploring P2P. You may know this but Ashley Highfield, at IBC, said that the BBC is planning
to use P2P to alleviate bandwidth bottlenecks when it starts making its archive content available on the Internet. (Just an aside rather than an addition to the document.)

14: I think reversing the order of Society, Business and Individuals in the bullet list would have more impact.

15: Similarly ...and this is definitely an attempt to sex things up ... the next sentence could read ' ... profitably extend one of the noblest and most valued human activities - creation of works of art music and literature.'

16: In the first bullet list in 'Acting on two fronts ...' As per comment 11, the absence of a reliable means of distribution is a consequence of slow broadband deployment rather then the other way around. It may be truer to say that the absence of a strong high-bandwidth content market is slowing the deployment by not providing a market driver for broadband.

17: Potential benefits bullet list ... The order could be optimised. At the moment it seems a bit random.


Section 3 reads very well and I have only a few suggestions. There is one thing that isn't mentioned but I think is important and that is the possible effect of both DRM and technology obsolescence on our ability to 'read' all this digital stuff many years from now. As I have recently helped to resurrect the Domesday Project this is a subject close to my heart.

Is it possible to include something to this effect? It would possibly be part of the Mapping rights traditionally enjoyed by users to the DM space section: the right of access to material whose copyright has expired. I would be grateful if this could be added.

1: Para under the lists of actions ... you refer to individual legislations. Is this either 'individual jurisdictions' or 'individual pieces of legislation'?

2: Next para there's a typo 'value-chian'

3: Next para: What is a 'virtuos circle'? Is it the opposite of a vicious circle? It's a new one to me.

4: Section 3.1.1 ... comparing the first two paragraphs I can't see what the differnce is between the 'basic user rights' in para 1 and the 'end-user exceptions' in para 2. Also at the end of para 2 perhaps it should be 'custom and practice' rather than 'common practices'.

5: Should there be a section break after the 'Right to privacy' para? In any case it needs to be clear that the next para isn't part of that subsection.

BTW: The 3.1.1. analysis is brilliant. Congratulations!

6: Half way through 3.1.2 there is another 'immaterial' where you mean 'intangible'.

7: 3.1.3 section Economics etc ... I re-read the second para ('Many of the business issues ... ' several times before I udnerstood it. Perhaps it needs a comma after 'incumbent telcos' in the first line.

8: 3.1.4 ... IP and IPR and used and I suggest it should always be IPR.

9: 3.1.4 para beginning 'The MPEG-2 standard ...'. In the first sentence you refer to 'relative IPR' when I think you mean 'related IPR'.

10: End of 3.1.4 just before the references ... '... might become discriminatory towards small firms ..' would be better as '... might discriminate against small firms ...'.

11: End of 3.2.1 refers to 'fielded applications'. I'm not sure what this means. could it be '... a given application may achieve initial success in its field.'?

12: 3.2.2 Reference to VHS and Beta perhaps should say Betamax since many people think SP when you say Beta.

13: Next para: 'The first example of DM ...". Is this referring to SCMS (if I remember it right). It took me a while to realise that you were talking about DAT (so the acronym should be included) . Since CDs didn't have any DRM (and DAT had this first generation SCMS) the second sentence is a non sequiteur which means that I am not understanding the first sentence. A paradigm is mentioned but then SCMS is described but this doesn't apply to CDs. Could you revisit that paragraph and clarify it perhaps? (I hope I'm making some sense here.)

14: 3.2.2. para 6 I'v got that $/? again.

15: Next para. I think OnDigital was the company and it was later renamed ITV Digital.

16: 3.2.2 final para. How about 'Undoubtedly' instead of 'probably'? It stops the sentiment sounding vague.

1: Section 4 3rd para and elsewhere. The term 'clear text' seems odd when applied to television. The term 'free-to-view' or 'free-to-air'
is more commonly used in digial TV to describe this.

2: Rights holders para 2. 'The DMP intends to provide solutions ...'. This implies a solution that the DMP will implement. Perhaps 'offer', 'describe' or 'define' would be more appropriate?

3: Digital Terrestrial Television: 'clear text' as above. Also the sentence 'Availability of the Interoperable DRM specification will let broadcasters not consider the problem of deploying STBs' is somewhat convoluted. Could it be 'Availability of the Interoperable DRM specification allows broadcasters to avoid the problem of deploying STBs'.

4: Digital Libraries: This is where I suggest a reference to making sure DRM does not prevent out-of-copyright material being accessed. If the DRM is truly standardised it won't be a problem as long as decryption keys are available and not kept 'commercially secret'. We risk losing some of our cultural heritage if we mess up this one. Also, copyright 'expires' rather than 'elapses'. To say it 'lapses' implies that it could have been renewed so 'expired' is the best word for the first sentence.

5: Public authorities: I don't think dirigisme is an English word. What does it mean? Is it 'nationalisation'? Also, you could say an engine has 'stalled' rather than 'jammed'.

6: Annex 3 Typo in title.