Back From Watching Cory Doctorow Talk In Sydney

I as I posted previously, Went to observe Cory Doctorow‘s talk tonight.


It was much as I expected.

He is real. I did not touch him – so you can’t be too sure. Xeni could have been hiding behind the drapes with a holographic projector.

He is a very good presenter. He has his faults but is several orders of magnitude better than I at it. 

Others have reviewed it already [update and here a review with mp3 of the Sydney talk] so I’m not going to do that. I will concentrate on what was relevant to me.

The talk started with someone from Popcornmedia asking “Who came to the conference because of a small yellow coupon”, which in a “Blues Clues” manner he failed to find under his clipboard despite it being plain view to the audience. From a non-show of hands It seems that nobody came to the talk because if this small yellow piece of paper. I wanted to yell out “Who came because they read Boing Boing” – but decided it would be a Bad Thing.

As a true believer most of what Cory said in his talk was not new to me but he raised some excellent points on the situation in Australia on DRM with respect to DVB.

I do a lot of work iTV, so this is of interest to me.

There is a standard called “Copy Protection and Content Management” (CPCM) which a DRM component for DVB. DVB-T is the standard that Australia uses for digital free to air broadcasts. The DVB scene in Australia is going to be a lot more interesting once the interactive component (MHP) becomes widely used. It would be a shame to see the platform screwed up with abusable restrictions.

At one point Cory mentioned that the well known mantra “Content Is King” is wrong, it should be “Communication is King”. Which is why the media industry measures its revenues in the billions, and the telecoms industry in the trillions. 

As evidence of this as common sense he states that if you were asked “What do you want to take to a desert island, your record collection or your friends”, if you chose your record collection then you would be classed as a sociopath. My initial response I must admit was my record collection – not because I am a sociopath ( I think ), but for the reason that I would not want to doom my friends to live on a desert island.

Another important point he made was the concept of vendor lock in. You don’t want to move from an IPod to a Microsoft based device because there is no legal way to convert your media from Fairplay to WMDRM. This is relevant to other industries of course, I will talk more of this later. There is something afoot.

What he missed discussing, which would have been relevant to the audience was the shift in focus from Blockbuster movie, to TV series. From my observations, movies are not being pirated as fiercely as TV series are. I think this is relevant because people can communicate about a series. A series brings all the chatter we get from fandom.  “What is going to happen next“. “S02E13 is soo much better than S03E03” etc.. A series is the point of focus for a community much more than a Movie can be. While a Movie generates “Buzz” before its launch. A series generates Buzz before, during and after it its lifecycle.

I was thinking what would happen if I put him in a room with Mark Pesce and it just so happens that just as I was getting out of my seat I bumped into Mark on his way down to the stage to talk to Cory. But I was a man on a mission and could tarry not, even for such a vast concentration of savvy on the New Media Topology. If Lawrence Lessig was there as well we all would have been sucked into a Gibsonian vortex of information screaming to be free.

Completely failed on my “Remember bring to recording equipment” roll but I manged to record most of the question and answer session, on my phone, but as I expected the sound is almost non-existent. So I present 4 blurry jittery videos of Cory Doctorow answering some fantastic questions, with virtually no sound.

 1 2 3 4 .

If you concentrate so hard that your forehead splits, you might be able to make out what he says.



About James McParlane

CTO Massive Interactive. Ex Computer Whiz Kid - Now Grumpy Old Guru.
This entry was posted in AttentionRank, Coolhunting, Politics, Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back From Watching Cory Doctorow Talk In Sydney

  1. leisa says:

    ‘…but I was a man on a mission…’

    what was your mission James? 🙂

  2. To be home by 9:30 🙂

    Were you there?

  3. leisa says:

    nope. got stuck in a meeting after all that.
    very boring.

    thanks for the writeup + link to audio!

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