April 24, 2008


SCL members can expect a new source of information to be offered to them in the next few days. We have agreed with Lexology that a co-branded daily feed of articles and news written by their peers on IT and e-commerce developments in the EU and UK will be offered to members. We feel that it offers another opportunity for members to be kept informed and we stress that it is not to be forced upon you. Sign up for the service and see what you think – you can unsubscribe at any time. You should at least be kept informed of what your rivals are focusing on and may be made aware of an important development you would otherwise miss. It is important to emphasise too that the establishment of the daily feed in no way detracts from the efforts of SCL to cover major developments in those fields on the Web site and in this magazine. We will still be beating the daily feed on the Web site whenever we can!


I was delighted to hear that the SCL Conference in November is on Convergence 3.0. I have found myself ‘doing convergence’ in the last month or so. Watching Desperate Housewives and Dexter online and even checking a weather forecast on my phone. It is hardly leading-edge exploitation of the new media opportunities but it has made me start to think that another shift in Net use may be underway and has left me with one burning question.

When I first started to use the Internet, it was exclusively for work, if you count looking at the old Link discussion forum as work. Few friends had e-mail addresses and there were only limited information sites and none that I recall as being entertaining. For work, a trip to the local post office was a daily ritual. There has been a massive change since then. I now rely on the Internet as my encyclopaedia, as my social secretary, as my shop and as my principal tool of communication, both business and private. Most readers of this magazine will be at least as dependent as I am – and even among my non-techie friends astonishment was expressed at the news last week that one of our number had tried to buy tickets in a face-to-face transaction. There were scenes reminiscent of a Bateman cartoon.

Now the balance is shifting even further towards the Internet as an entertainment medium but of course that’s not all it means. Convergence is mainly about convergence of discrete communications and delivery platforms and the ramifications of that go way beyond whether I am ‘watching television’ online. In fact the ramifications, in terms of regulation, new opportunities, globalisation and whether it limits or expands the Net experience are to be discussed at a two-day SCL Conference in November.  Rather like the last Conference on Web 2.0, if you have to wonder whether the subject is relevant to you then your need to go is all the greater.

I only hope someone is going to tell me whether, when watching Desperate Housewives, I am watching television or I am ‘on the computer’.

Taking Gowers Forward

Time constraints meant that it was impossible to give adequate coverage in this issue to the SCL Response to the UK Intellectual Property Office’s consultation on proposed changes to the copyright exceptions in a document entitled Taking Forward the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. Roger Bickerstaff and Gillian Cordall have co-ordinated the SCL Response and SCL is most grateful to them for the work put in. The Response can be read in full via the SCL web site where edited extracts also appear. I feel that the Response is packed with a common-sense – sometimes a quality lacking in emanations from those who, like Gillian and Roger, have an intense understanding of the issues. I sincerely hope that the UK IPO takes notice.