Predictions 2011: Amuse Bouche

November 30, 2010

{b}From Kit Burden, Partner at DLA Piper UK LLP and SCL Fellow{/b}

Government procurement will be a key focus, with attempts to institute more shared IT services and moves to implement the G-Cloud. Cloud based initiatives generally will continue to proliferate, albeit with mixed degrees of success. In the meantime, the legal profession will undergo a more marked change in terms of the use of technology to assist with the delivery of legal advice.

{b}From Robert Buchan, Partner, IP & Technology, Maclay Murray & Spens LLP{/b}

Against the background of budget freezes and cuts, particularly across the public sector, I predict that customers disgruntled with the progress or outcome of large-scale IT projects will be more inclined to raise high value litigation following the ruling in the BSkyB and EDS litigation. Although it remains difficult to successfully rely on misrepresentation from pre-contractual meetings, the judgment opens the door to this and is likely to encourage parties to commence litigation in an effort to recover money or renegotiate a more favourable deal.
Clearly the role of and liability of ISPs remains a hot topic. The judicial review of the Digital Economy Act expected in February next year will be a battle ground between copyright owners, the Government and ISPs. The rushing through of the legislation in the wash-up period may give more scope for ISPs to challenge the extent of their obligation to take action against suspected illegal file sharers. I suspect that the effect of the legislation will survive largely intact and the key next steps setting the arena for the next few years will be the release of the much anticipated Ofcom code. ISPs may well challenge the requirement for them to meet 25% of the costs of the regime as proposed in the draft Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011, perhaps on the basis that in terms of the E-Commerce Directive ISPs are not intended to bear financial liability for online infringement where they are mere hosts or mere conduits.
Another hot topic will be the possibility of the UK government moving away from the principle of net neutrality and thus consumers having to pay extra for premium broadband access to the most popular websites. I suspect that at least initially this is more likely to result in changes to advertising and revenue generating models on those sites rather than the costs being directly passed on to individual customers by the ISPs.
Lastly, on a happier gadget based note, I suspect we will all be very friendly to our IT teams to encourage them to let us have first access to the Blackberry Playbook!