The Next Leap



with 16 comments

This is short and simple: Is there something you want to see us do?
Do you think we need to develop a community around this issue, and how do you think we should
a) find funding to support a strategic approach to this work at the institute? and
b) broaden the network of stakeholders?
c) was there anything we left out in The Next Leap?


Written by johnnyryan

20/12/2008 at 19:39

16 Responses

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  1. OK, I’ll start the ball rolling. Glad to see (c) added. And the wait highlights the most important thing: the need to secure more discussion.

    This is an important topic, and for the sake of the country, it needs to be driven on. So:
    (a) there are many stakeholders who could spare a modest amount of funding to support, starting with, yes, government, but also large and medium future-oriented businesses (perhaps offer “shares”)
    (b) I think that the report can be “pushed” out to all who were originally invited, and more, and the invitation to read can be combined with a request to interact, and then later followed re. funding
    (c) will come back on this, but I think more on specifics for certain sectors and levers.
    Good luck,

    J Doyle

    23/12/2008 at 08:24

  2. Let’s put a team together to build a funding proposal for a “digital media association” – we can work out the terms of reference at a later stage but fundamentally this sector needs traction and the support and leadership of such a body. Although there are several groups doing great work in the area I personally dont believe any of them are focussed on the core issues and vision contained within the report. Lest we forget a document released by the Dept of Ent, Tr, Emp in 2000 (ITS 2007) made some similar recommendations and certainly led to successes and “change” in the sector – so these things can work!
    Ireland should protect and develop its unique position in the world of digital media. We have the heritage within arts, literature, music, dance, theatre, media, storytelling and suchlike that most nations would crave…..we have through the brilliance of the IDA and others, attracted some of the biggest names in the world of digital media to our shores – linking these together and truly becoming the centre of the world’s digital media industry should be our minimum challenge in the years ahead. Let’s meet in the new year and discuss?

    Damian Ryan

    23/12/2008 at 10:39

  3. Johnny, all,

    This is a no brainer: postal codes should be introduced in Ireland that are GPS position based, and then mapped (linearly) to a fixed number of digits or fixed length alphanumeric code. My colleague Kamal Abdali had a design for this, and it was raised in a letter by someone to the Irish Times a few months ago. It provides a base for all the implementation of all sorts of geo-information based services.

    Have a great Christmas,


    24/12/2008 at 09:34

  4. Just for context, I just remembered this (low res) video – one of our initial calls for contributions back in May (video link below). Still, it shows that with enough interest, we can get inputs and come up with a solid product in a short space of time. The Next Leap was ready for launch in November…


    24/12/2008 at 16:28

  5. All,

    Further to my Grand Challenge(s) suggestion, I thought the following could be useful.

    Good points were made recently in
    “How can we foster start-ups and innovation in Ireland today”,

    Includes, by Haydn Shaughnessy:
    “The HSE is ripe for the creativity and inventiveness of the Web 2.0 social media people in Ireland. I don’t want them just to buy from Irish companies but to open up to ideas, to network with us and to launch 100 small projects that would change their culture and save them millions. Ditto lots of state bodies. The market for web 2.0 and social media in the public sector is huge, captive and in need.”

    The Irish Software Association has pointed to issues to be addressed:

    “Irish software SMEs are effectively ruled out of taking part in
    the Irish public procurement process. Half of the software companies surveyed cited the “cost” of tendering for such work as a deterrent against participating in the process. …

    The Irish public procurement market accounts for €9 billion per annum, or 40% of Irish GNP. Consequently, it has the potential to be a springboard for SMEs to access international markets. The key role of the public procurement process in driving demand for innovative goods and services was highlighted in an EU report “Creating an Innovative Europe”, published in 2006.”

    (See “Public sector procurement process hindering software SMEs – 02/28/2008”, Irish Software Association,

    And – this is a European problem which is known about but for which we need to see how can bypass the legal (sometimes for the best of reasons) or other constraints.

    This is all about getting funded research into jobs, improving society and having fun in doing so…

    “Europe is way behind its major competitors. In the US, the public sector spends USD 50 billion (€34.85 billion) every year on R&D procurement, which is 20 times higher than spending in the EU. This can be equated to half the research investment gap between the US and the EU. 

    The difference in R&D procurement expenditure is predominantly due to disparities in the defence and space budgets. However expenditure in areas such as health, energy, education, transport and the environment is still four times higher than in the EU. 

    This low spending in Europe is in spite of concrete examples of innovative solutions that have emerged from R&D procurements. These include Internet Protocol technology, the global positioning system, high performance computing and key innovations in semiconductor technology. 

    … pre-commercial procurement differs from and complements other innovation instruments, such as grants, tax incentives, access to finance and Joint Technology Initiatives.”

    (See “Commission launches debate on public procurement for R&D”, 18 Dec. 2007,



    27/12/2008 at 12:08

  6. For future Steve Wozniaks in our classrooms…


    27/12/2008 at 18:52

  7. We’re thinking of moving ahead, initially, on the idea of the digital legal services centre. This could be an IFSC type development from which services such as intellectual property, rights clearance, payments, data protection, retention & privacy etc. could be provided for digital firms operating within the EMEA region.

    If there is sufficient support (financial as well as practical), the IIEA will initiate a scoping excersize to consider the feasibility and benefits of an Irish-based EMEA or EU digital legal services centre. The IIEA will also work to bring the interested parties together to take the idea further. If anyone is interested in this idea, please contact me through this blog, or E-mail

    The initial idea in Trend 4 is that this could focus on payments and rights clearance for digital content, but as Trend 5 shows, the scope might be broader. This means that a digital legal services centre may be directly relevant to many businesses.


    06/01/2009 at 13:16

  8. Why restrict it to the EMEA? Is there some specific reason for choosing a limited geogrphical area?

    Michael Walsh

    08/01/2009 at 11:37

  9. Johnny, all,

    I think it should be global in scope. I am still though trying to understand the full extent of the focus.

    The context could be the convergence of TV, cinema, Internet, games, on most levels – creation and production, distribution and delivery. Implications follow for education and training, new generations of online communities using virtual reality support, e-government, the culture industries, etc.

    In order to support interactivity and quality of service, both of which are core drivers of this convergence, the boundaries between user and owner must be understood, – hence DRM (digital rights management). DRM is a key enabler.

    Apart from the DRM area discussed in blog entries so far, there are other important follow-on issues:

    – Irish self-employed creative artistic exoneration from personal taxation. Creative artistic work could be expanded in the context of this great convergence. [Cf. Trend 4]

    – Film production tax breaks for individual investors. Film as such will increasingly be redefined for the new “multiplay”, “360 degree” environment. How will/can investors be helped in this?

    – Digital TV has to be hastened relative to its 2012 switch-over. It is not just a matter of frequency spectrum which can be auctioned. It is also necessary to allow digital content to be opened up to the masses (i.e. us, based on the convergence noted above, supported by DRM).


    Fionn Murtagh

    11/01/2009 at 20:28

  10. […] have made further comments to Next Leap made on the proposal for a Digital Rights exchange supporting trading and other […]

  11. Re: … initially, on the idea of the digital legal services centre … could be an IFSC type development from which services such as intellectual property / rights clearance, payments, data protection / retention / privacy … (EMEA)

    Away the last couple of weeks, and glad to see the debate has moved forward. This area sounds promising, but I agree with others that in the near-borderless (but significantly, not quite – all 193-194 states in the world have challenging legal differences), EMEA is not terribly relevant – I’d go global.

    I’d go with payment handling (look at the success of Fexco as a main agent of Western Union) and IP Rights Oversight. But I would not build too much on DRM, a subject with, I suspect, a short lifespan, and already irrelevant in many large markets (China and the CIS spring to mind, followed by limited-relevance India and Brazil), rather “softer” aspects.

    Hope a few players in the content field sign-up!

    J Doyle

    12/01/2009 at 08:28

  12. Can I humbly suggest that DRM henceforth be referred to simply as copy protection? Excessive demands by distributors for copy protection has been one of the main impediments to the uptake of digital media and given that DRM’s number one proponent Apple is at least moving towards ditching Fairplay[tm] its time to entertain the idea that DRM is a net negative for content producers, if Ireland can introduce legal structures and technical infrastructure that appeal to end users content providers will move to them.

    Ideas that are activeness to customers rather than laywers are digital privacy protection, secure online archiving (perhaps encouraging the idea of enforcing the idea of legal ownership of copies of data rather than the frankly unappealing “rights” to access them).

    If Ireland focuses on legal guarantees for consumers and their online and remote data repositories we might have a chance at stealing a march on the rights enforcement approach which is always going to be seen as anti-consumer.

    This is not at odds with the idea of protecting profitability or preventing piracy, watermarking and the efficiencies of scale for online storage may allow a market to be built where customers are confident enough in their online data storage to make piracy technically involved and economically unappealing.

    Of course because of Ireland’s extremely poor network infrastructure our own consumers are not going to be first to benefit but the market is elsewhere anyway.

    Micheal Lunny

    13/01/2009 at 16:53

  13. Johnny,

    Re: “do you think there is scope for something broader?”

    As others have said – it should be global in its context

    The reason I questioned the EMEA scope was the distribution chain that is the Internet is global and I would map any solution to the distribution chain.

    I was wondering if the EMEA focus was for a specific legal reason – if not then it may be an unnecessary restriction to impose on your starting point. It’s always a lot easier to start with a broad focus and narrow in, than to begin with a narrow focus and try to broaden out – as you may end up with restrictions imposed on you that wouldn’t be there with an initial broader focus.

    Unfortunately DRM/copy protection is a dead-end. The music industry is the canary in the coal-mine (or at least should be) – as they’ve had 10-15 years of hard-learned experience with controlling content in an era of a global digital distribution system. There is more about DRM and the issues of building a business model around it in a digital age here:

    What is really needed to allow content to be traded globally, within a legal framework, is an asset-tracking system. This should facilitate all participants in the economic model. The content keeps it’s value by having a tracking code – and any effort to strip the asset of it’s tracking code makes it a lesser product – and thus no longer a perfect digital copy, which also means it loses some of it’s economic worth.

    Where you can regionalise the content is within the asset tracking code. This allows for different legal jurisdictions and economic areas to be recognised and also gives market information to the interested parties.

    DRM/copy protection is really only of benefit to the person who sells the DRM/copy protection solution. Asset tracking is something which is of economic benefit to the entire chain – and the advantage of being the trusted broker in this chain is up for grabs!

    Michael Walsh

    14/01/2009 at 10:14

  14. I spoke to someone in Government about how we move this along, taking into account what we have discussed here on the blog. As a result, there are eight follow up questions to get this thing moving, which I hope you will give feedback to.

    1. What are the clear objectives of such a Centre?

    2. Why, specifically, Ireland as a location?

    3. What environment will it require (taxation, regulatory, technological) – i.e. what must Government or industry do to make it happen?

    4. What would be the cost, and to whom?

    5. What would be the benefit, in economic and social Impact?

    6. Can Ireland as a secure location which respects IPR be incorporated.

    7. As a parallel action, is it a good idea to consider how data centres here can tie into the digital content services hub?

    8. Should this be limited to legal services, or can it be wider in scope without harming the likelihood of it actually happening?

    Please give your responses here


    20/01/2009 at 14:11

  15. […] — edit, 12/1/2009, a discussion on this post is ongoing at […]

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