The law. It’s a legal minefield isnt it? (always start with a bad pun)

As a journalist time was you only had to worry about libel and contempt and anything else got referred up. Now, the law for journalists, is as much about access to information.

And that’s not just about getting access to information. It’s also about controlling how your information – your identity and content is protected online. But more about legal issues tommorrow.

Bill Thompson has been mulling over the issue of control in a post about the proposed changes to communications and media legislation being suggested by the EU. Some see it as a charter to protect the big Media companies at the expense of freedom of information. Bill isn’t convinced the legislation is anti-freedom.

In fact he goes a step further, highlighting what he sees as a positive step to prevent big Media companies making good on their plans to cut people off from the net if they are repeatedly caught downloading copyright music.

That’s what the music industry wants at the moment – if you dare to damage their economic viability then you have to be excluded from everything the internet has to offer.

Bill has some sensible advice to those who might suffer at the hands of those who wield the heavy club when it comes to protecting their interest.

Perhaps the 21st Century industrial giants might like to have a quiet word with the record industry and tell them to give up trying to stop the digital tide coming up the beach.

Cnut knew it was impossible but had to show his sycophantic advisors that the sea was no respecter of monarchy.

But at an industry level, despite warnings that lessons from the music industry give us, the media often resort to these Cnut tactics. The MSM’s use and threat of legal recourse to protect their interests has been seen by some as fighting fire-with-fire.  But it seems to be behavior that, if it contnues, is sure to kill the changes the indusrty needs to make.

That’s not to say the journalism indusrty should advocate piracy. No. The point here is that the big-gun politics will eventually come back to hurt them. Take the recent AP bloggers debacle as an example.

We know that the industry is attempting to position itself in the middle of the share economy. It relies on the community around it for advertising, for support and, increasingly for content and that means giving ground and changing our behaviour. And in that respect we still have a way to go to really open things up.

It’s a big market out their. Some of it is exactly where the industry should be. Some of it is not. Some of it is where we used to be but aren’t any more. We should go gracefully.

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