Week two, weekend nil.

Bloody hell, a month goes by and no posts here. So here’s one, on the day that China and Google split up. If you think about it, that particular debate centres on how national governments interfere with cyber communities for their own, possibly nefarious, ends. That isn’t new, and censorship is creeping back in many Western countries as well as being sort of expected in what we rudely describe as the ‘less democratic’ world.

One of the outputs from the Digital Britain report published in the summer is the formation of bills to go through parliament to address the issues of copyright, open access, digital inclusion, that a digitally literate economy needs to get right. In the first and possibly last effort before the election, not everyone thinks that the government has got it right.  Here’s Cory Doctorow on boingboing describing the assault on freedom that locking down your ISP account presents. And here’s Rebecca McKinnon in the Guardian touching upon the French efforts to reject the Satan of Music Downloading, in the context of Google’s legal battles with China, France, Italy, etc. Mind you, Johnny Halliday isn’t exactly going to be troubling my MP3 collection in the near future, but I’m lucky to live in a country where you can say stuff like that and you aren’t marked down by the authorities as a travel risk.

Good news today – the government is tabling a series of amendments that appear to curtail the most iniquitous clauses in the bill, including the one that gives a (currently unelected) minister the right to decide on who and how to crack down on copyright infringement without recourse to any other parliamentary process. Whether they do or not remains to be seen.

What’s this got to do with marketing? The dripping irony here is that in the world of brand communication, we’re almost desperate for consumers to download our brand content for free and share it with each other. We want our viral messages to go viral, and for our amateur enthusiasts to make their own versions of our slick commercials. We want to show that consumers care enough about the brand to bother. Which makes it surprising (to me, anyway) that there weren’t more agency people involved in evaluating whether this new law is a blocker to innovation. It’s not just about digital innovation, but innovation in all forms of communication. At CES, the big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, most of the new technology devices being showcased have social technologies built in to them. This means that people will be able to, if they can be arsed, link to each other, recommend where they are, tell people where they are going and where they’ve been through pretty much any device. If you think of Twitter as “what are you doing?” think of the next wave of social tech as “Where are you?” Hmm.

And this brings me back to the slow post movement on participation marketing, and the kind comments I’ve received on Twitter and Facebook about the past month’s pm abstinence. The answer is I’ve been busy. We’re working on a pitch. And will be at the weekend too no doubt. Plus ca change :-)

Plus ça change

Back from a glorious skiing effort in the Jura Mountains, which explains the recent blog post free time on www.participationmarketing.co.uk. Sorry about that, but I don’t recommend blogging and driving, nor twittering and driving. I can see why Gordon Brown isn’t getting his round in at various global summits. The pound has shrunk in value to equate almost 1:1 to the euro. At least it made currency conversion easier for the kids, and slippery slope analogies abounded in the ski lift queue.

I could also justify my quiet time to the recent avatar black out in New Zealand, in protest against a proposed change in NZ law regarding internet copyright law, the guilt upon accusation amendment, which has had twitterers and bloggers around the world up in arms. The protest has had the desired effect, so far, to persuade the NZ government that it’s a dumb idea.

It’s a fine line on copyright, Lord Carter talks about re-establishing and reinforcing the copyright infringement in the Digital Britain report. It’s all well and good where such laws are respected, but the increasing ‘sharing’ of content makes it harder and harder to define origination of concepts and tranches of text. I’ve seen almost entire blogposts lifted and reposted as another blogger’s content. Please quote sources if you can, everyone.