Friday, June 19, 2009

The Future of Books: Rugby

From British Lions fullback, Lee Byrne. Via the BBC.
"It is something [Wales and Lions assistant coach] Shaun Edwards gave me," he said. "I used to play the game in my head on a Friday night and by the time it came round I'd be mentally exhausted. I would go out on the field and have nothing left.
"Shaun told me it was something he used to do as a player and he has given it to a couple of players. It has really helped me a lot. I read anything I can get my hands on really, anything to calm me down."

I'm just starting to write a book about the future of books, bookish things and reading: I'd never thought of the changing room of the British Lions as a "space" for reading. Live and learn. From Lee Byrne.

NB. Post-match book reading: Lee Byrne was injured in the first half of the Lions defeat to South much for books

Harvard Business School researchers on file sharing

Makes for some interesting reading. It is a work in progress.
Arstechnica wrote in a thoughtful response about it:
...a pair of academic researchers happily point out in a working paper they've posted online, copyright law was never meant to protect the music business in the first place—instead, it is intended to foster creative production in the arts, which happen to include music. As such, they argue it's worth analyzing the deeper question of whether file sharing is putting a damper on music creation. Their conclusion is that this is a much more complicated question, but the answer seems to be "probably not."

Going to read on now.

Post Modernism: Expenses

Mr Osborne billed the taxpayer for the £47 cost of two copies of a DVD of his own speech on “Value for Taxpayers Money”. He said it had been requested by a member of the public.

So I don't forget.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Salon, not quite an early adopter of the what next for journalism meme

The definitions and boundaries are changing. The methods are changing. We don't have to tell you the technology is changing. And the million-dollar question behind it all is: How does anyone make a few dollars in this new world, never mind a million?

Everybody's talking about it and so are we, and now we're blogging about it, and we hope you'll join in the conversation. We don't pretend to be able to divine the future, but we're intrigued by all the experimentation that's going on, and plan to chronicle it here.

Good luck everyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DB response from NESTA, harnessing the digital in positive ways

'Digital Britain is no longer a marginal issue. It lies at the heart of unlocking economic potential and radically reshaping how we deliver public services. Get this right and people will no longer accept being passive consumers of services, but will become a part of the solution.

The challenge for policymakers is to harness this new power in a positive way. It's time for Britons to get digital'.

Following the publication of Digital Britain, NESTA will take forward a practical set of solutions that will:

Develop a rights framework, along with other organisations, for publicly procured new media content which will allow secondary commercial exploitation and create extra public revenues;

Work with the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) on the development of a Next Generation Digital Testbed where the telecoms industry and digital innovators can experiment with novel product ideas and revenue models, intellectual property frameworks and new models of partnership that will enable UK businesses to become global leaders in the digital markets.

In addition, NESTA will launch 'Reboot Britain' in early July which will use the opportunities offered by digitisation to find practical solutions to some of the intractable social challenges we face, for example, providing public services which are more efficient and shaped by the people who use them.

From the NESTA wesbite.
This has to be right: We've seen the consumer voice in these debates infrequently, and yet consumers are the economic and social drivers of the digital experience and the behaviours that result (which appear to be different from behaviours in the physical/material world). New research into what people do, and how they respond to innovative ideas - technology take ups, for example - must be part of the process of making us digital. Much of the response to DB has been, ok a tax, what else? In fact there are many interesting ideas buried in the (large) document. The detail is not the devil; the devil is in the ongoing consultations that will follow DB: such as those over the licence fee, the Ofcom stance on "file-sharing". And, of course, the dreaded 2Mbs...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pipes not Poetry

The Digital Britain report is about pipes, not poetry, and spreads an underwhelming layer of digital varnish across a hopelessly wide range of services. It has stopped short of shoring up unsustainable businesses – Channel 4 and the BBC can form a partnership if they wish, but little pressure here and certainly no forced marriages. The BBC should be a public service partner to media companies, not a virulent competitor, says the report. There should be more focus on a new model for local news which will please some regional newspaper groups but will not begin to replace the money they have already lost and will continue to lose.

It isn't much of an electrifying vision, more a well-intentioned attempt to square the impossible circle of supporting innovation and disruption while exercising crowd control so the feeble and ailing don't all get trampled in the rush. Those who might be classified as "at risk" which includes the majority of existing UK media brands in one way or another, might all find a crumb of comfort somewhere in the 237 pages, but there is nothing here likely to sustain those who are unable or unwilling to institute some fairly radical self-help.

From Emily Bell in the Guardian.

So how does the radical "self help" begin? Now there's the question. Particularly taken with the NESTA stuff in DB. "Test-beds" et al. More, later. To go poetry rather than pipe, this report is for recollection in tranquility, not shrill blasts.


Remembering the old days of a White Paper, the speed reading, the nods where to look and where not, it's hard - despite the variety and quality of the first responses to Digital Britain - not to luxuriate in what the digital now means: access; a real sense of how politics is received by a large number of people. There's the front page headlines - telephone taxes - and there's the commentary; and now a sea of thinking. How can this sea be channelled?

The wordle, of course

Digital Britain Day (8)

From Wordle.
Main points, via The Guardian. More when read.
4.11pm: To Recap The Main Points:
•Illegal filesharing is "tantamount to theft", repeat offenders will have their broadband connection reduced.
•Part of the BBC licence fee will be used to fund universal broadband access
•But also a levy will be placed on all fixed phone lines to help pay for universal broadband
•A small part of the licence fee digital switchover surplus will fund regional news pilots between now and 2013
•Talks between BBC and C4 are ongoing
•Martha Lane Fox to become "digital inclusion champion"

From Charles Arthur.
British ISPs will be required to cut illegal file sharing on their networks by 70% within a year under new powers set to be given to the communications regulator Ofcom, the Digital Britain report says.

The government will empower Ofcom to demand that ISPs collect data about alleged infringers of online rights – by downloading or uploading content without permission – and to notify them that their conduct is unlawful. Persistent infringers could see their details passed on to rights holders – principally music and film companies, but also games and software companies – which could sue them in court.

Just so I remember the times

3.39pm: BB: Legislate to curb unlawful peer-to-peer filesharing. Ofcom to regulate. Targeted legal action by rightsholders. And technical action to limit broadband access to offenders.

3.38pm: BB: Martha Lane Fox to be the Govt's new web inclusion champion

Social Networks: Five starts to give it away

Digital Britain Day (7)
[UK television network] Five has signed a deal with Brightcove, an online video platform, which will allow its TV content to be easily embedded within people’s social networks and via big entertainment portals, such as AOL and Yahoo.

It is the first UK broadcaster to syndicate full-length episodes of popular programmes like Home and Away and Neighbours, for catch-up viewing across third-party websites. It is also the first broadcaster in Britain to use an externally developed player to host its full-length content. The BBC relies upon its iPlayer, Channel 4 on 4oD and ITV on ITV player.

From the Telegraph. Social prestige through sharing and embedding...
Five hopes to have signed deals with partner websites such social networks like Facebook and portals, like AOL, by the end of this year. However, its own online properties, and FiveFWD, the cars and gadgets portal for young males, will be the first websites to use Brightcove as the video platform showing Five content.

New Business models all the time.

Reading: digital literacy means many things

Digital Britain Day (6)
From a fantastic essay in Wired.
Books are the last bastion of the old business model—the only major medium that still hasn't embraced the digital age. Publishers and author advocates have generally refused to put books online for fear the content will be Napsterized. And you can understand their terror, because the publishing industry is in big financial trouble, rife with layoffs and restructurings. Literary pundits are fretting: Can books survive in this Facebooked, ADD, multichannel universe?

To which I reply: Sure they can. But only if publishers adopt Wark's perspective and provide new ways for people to encounter the written word. We need to stop thinking about the future of publishing and think instead about the future of reading.

Every other form of media that's gone digital has been transformed by its audience. Whenever a newspaper story or TV clip or blog post or white paper goes online, readers and viewers begin commenting about it on blogs, snipping their favorite sections, passing them along. The only reason the same thing doesn't happen to books is that they're locked into ink on paper.

Think on this when we talk of the "creative industries". Publishing is very important as well.

Don't Forget Opera

The idea behind Opera Unite is to take the client-server computing model and toss it into a browser. Your computer can share content with other PCs on the Web without servers. This functionality would happen from within a special version of the Opera 10 browser.

From ZD Net. Why is this interesting?
Opera Unite has a series of services such as file sharing, Web server, media player, photo sharing, a chat service and a notes exchange. Opera is hoping developers will jump on the Unite bandwagon and add other services.

The Guardian - via Reuters, Helsinki - follows up.
The new service, which the company has said would "reinvent the Web" is part of Opera's Web browser, enables direct downloading from personal computer to personal computer and removes any need for data storage at servers in the middle. Files can be viewed with any browser.

Similar technologies have been available before for tech-savvy consumers, but these have required downloading separate software, paying usage fees, or a long process of uploading content -- limiting take-up of the services.

Here's Opera.

Regional newspapers & Digital Britain

Digital Britain (5)
If the competition laws are relaxed, it could lead to an asset swapping session among the big [newspaper] players, who would concentrate their efforts on specific regions and target television and the internet as competition rather than each other.

However, it is also speculated that such a change could lead to a mega-merger. One newspaper expert told PrintWeek that he believed Johnston Press and Trinity Mirror could be merged to form a newspaper behemoth.

Several of the big players, including Johnston Press chief executive John Fry, head of Guardian Media Group, Carolyn McCall, and Trinity Mirror's Sly Bailey will appear before the culture, media and sport select committee today to put forward their case.

From Print Week.
And here's a Daily Mail blogger with a 'monopoly' thought:
There's plenty of comment about Lord Carter's Digital Britain White Paper today. But no one seems to be mentioning the one big change that could really radically transform "digital britain" - dumping the BBC News website.


New (Digital) Business Models

Digital Britain Day (4)
The Virgin-UMG deal looks it may be the start of a compelling proposition - an all you can eat, no strings-attached bundle. But without wholehearted label support, the service is rather meaningless, and it's such early days that no one else is on board. Incredibly, the most flexible licensee of all in the music business, the PRS, hasn't granted Virgin a license yet.

From The Register.

We the Consumers

Digital Britain Day (3)
From Chris Williams, media partner, Deloitte, a management consultancy. In Computer Weekly.
"Deloitte believes if high-speed broadband is to succeed, three principles need to be adopted:

Online services need to offer something new that the customer will value significantly above today's alternatives to drive a desire for increased bandwidth;

The customer business model needs to be viable and sustainable for all parties in the value chain;

New ways must be found to target segments of the population that do not currently use any broadband services.
"By putting the customer back at the centre of the debate, the industry can avoid the 'build-it and they will come' mentality, and will create a competitive environment that puts Britain in the foreground of the digital landscape."

Let's hope

Digital Britain Day (2)

From Gordon Brown in the Times.
So the first step must be to make the existing broadband network truly available to all. Just as we remain committed to a universal postal service, we pledge today to give every home, community and company access to broadband internet.

These technological advances will be accompanied by a revolution in content, which they allow. We must develop and sustain public service content, such as commercial regional news, which we all value and rely on, ensuring that it can be delivered across multiple digital outlets by a range of providers accessible to all.

These are difficult times for local newspapers, TV and radio and, as Ofcom has said, a regionalised TV news network is no longer financially viable. However, competition in news - as in business - is vital to provide consumers with the highest quality and we cannot allow a monopoly to take root. Remaining in touch with local issues and holding councils and regional bodies to account is the lifeblood of our democracy.

PS. Tweet from Rory Cellan-Jones
Gordon Brown says Britain will "lead the world" in broadband technology after #digitalbritain. Eyebrows may be raised in South Korea

At least the trains always run on time.

Digital Britain Day.

Writing in the Financial Times, Lord Carter said: "Just as Britain's canals and railways formed the symbolic infrastructure of the industrial revolution, so the country can exploit the internet revolution using fibre optics and cable in fixed and next generation mobile technology.

There's a risk that digital Britain will end up like Wimbledon — a world-class competition that we created, but never win.

From John Enser, a media and technology partner at Olswang, in Yesterday's Times.

What is the cornerstone of the report?

Lord Carter wants to provide broadband to every home in the UK, running at speeds of at least 2mbps: fast enough to watch a programme on the BBC's iPlayer. Some have criticised this as too slow while others have questioned whether everyone wants broadband. Britain's take-up of the service has been faster than most other major economies, and has the highest proportion of internet advertising of any developed economy. By 2012, £1 in every £5 of all new commerce in Britain will be online, the government said. However about four million homes currently can't receive 2mbps broadband. Lord Carter hopes to tackle this with an overhaul of the existing network infrastructure, as well as moves to increase wireless, mobile broadband, and satellite broadband services.

From the Independent

Monday, June 15, 2009

That Google Book thing

AIG and General Motors apparently are too big to fail. But the way the opposition to Google Book Search is shaping up, it looks like some believe Google is too big to succeed.

Interesting stuff here at CNET news.

Good timing

A case of press releases:
The UK’s minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, Stephen Carter, has welcomed the announcement of Virgin Media and UMG’s unlimited streaming and downloads music service.

“Government has a role in creating the right legal and regulatory framework for rights and copyright,” says Carter. “However, the market will flourish through innovative commercial agreements between companies, and agreements such as this will help significantly in reducing any demand for piracy.”

The announcement comes a day before the expected publication of Carter’s Digital Britain report, which includes in its focus questions of how to fight online piracy while fostering legal music services. So it’s good (and presumably un-coincidental) timing on Virgin’s part.

From Music Ally.

A spokesman for Virgin Media said [Virgin Media CEO Neil] Berkett was in constant talks with Lord Carter in the run up to Digital Britain and piracy was a big part of the discussions.

From Media Week

Virgin Monday; Carter Tuesday

Cable TV operator Virgin Media is to launch a "ground breaking" unlimited music download subscription service through a partnership with the world's largest music company, Universal.

The service, which both sides describe as a world first, will allow any Virgin Media broadband customer to both listen by streaming and download to keep as many music tracks and albums as they want from Universal's catalogue in return for a fee.

The music will be in the MP3 format, meaning it can be played on the vast majority of music devices, including the iPod and mobile phones. The service is set to launch later this year.

Virgin said as part of its cooperation with the music industry it would also work to help prevent piracy on its network by educating users and would, as a last resort for persistent offenders, suspend Internet access.

Virgin said no customers would be permanently disconnected, however.

Will these suspensions include publishing, films, non-Universal songs, software, audio books, data sets, images....And tomorrow is? From Reuters.

And here is Rory Cellan-Jones' initial take:
Then I read further down the press release and found what Virgin was offering in return - action against persistent file-sharers. Here's the key paragraph:

"This will involve implementing a range of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives. They include, as a last resort for persistent offenders, a temporary suspension of internet access. No customers will be permanently disconnected and the process will not depend on network monitoring or interception of customer traffic by Virgin Media."

And here, one day before DB-Day, is a response from Lord Carter himself.
The UK’s [current] minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, Stephen Carter, has welcomed the announcement of Virgin Media and UMG’s unlimited streaming and downloads music service.

“Government has a role in creating the right legal and regulatory framework for rights and copyright,” says Carter. “However, the market will flourish through innovative commercial agreements between companies, and agreements such as this will help significantly in reducing any demand for piracy.”


L'internet, moi non plus

And there are at least 29 positions on this.
In a video shot for an online news site, French legislators were asked whether they were familiar with peer-to-peer file-sharing technology. “No,” one lawmaker responded, rolling his eyes. “I speak French. Excuse me.”

While France has often prided itself on its contrarian approach to information technology — remember the Minitel? — the response summed up the ham-handedness of the latest digital initiative by the French government. The video appeared this spring, at the height of debate about a plan by President Nicolas Sarkozy to set up a government agency to disconnect persistent copyright pirates from the Internet.

From the NYT.

New Book @ £60?

Brand extension, coffee table accessory; the de Botton empire expands into the Interiors market?
In a carefully targeted brand extension, Monocle is launching its own library, with the first title Alain de Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and a print run of just 1,000. More titles will follow, ranging from social and political commentaries to out-of-print books meriting revival. "It develops and solidifies our relationship with our audience and our contributors," says [Tyler] Brûlé.

From The Guardian.

Subject for Investigative Journalism?

Now there's a little money.
...the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $15 million initiative to spur investigative reporting.

The grants, some ongoing, and others new or yet-to-be announced, will promote new economic models for in-depth reporting on digital platforms...

More here. How about investing some money in thoughtful analysis of the digital world, "free things" and "copycat" culture? The rush to report this subject badly is worthy of Usain Bolt.

Oh, book quote, 15th June, 2009

In some ways the online world has reinforced the joy of books. The best reading is not useful reading; it is useless. The Kindle is the first thing to annex technology for this uselessness: the joy of a comic novel, the journey of a historical biography, the diversion of a short story. Trust me: this took me by surprise. It will probably do the same to you.

More Sullivan.

Andrew Sullivan gets E-Reader fever, Kindle style

Early Adopter syndrome, or the harbinger of the Tipping Point? Or Both?
The Kindle, unlike laptop or PC prose, is read in an armchair or a sofa or on the train. You can read it while holding it up with one hand. You can lie down and read it perched on your lap. Although it’s connected to the internet and you can buy a book and start reading it within a minute by pressing one button, it doesn’t facilitate web-surfing. It is not an iPhone. It doesn’t text. It brings you words, plainly packaged. The words, by their very plainness – like the plainness of a book’s print – demand respect. By removing some of the peripheries of reading – the shop, the cover design, the author photograph – the words seem to acquire more solitary authority.

I found that, unlike reading online, I was never tempted to open a new web window to appease my restless short attention span. For a blog addict like me, always vowing to get back on the wagon of a web-free life for a few hours a day, it’s a godsend. If there’s a long article you find online that you want to read later, you can e-mail it to your Kindle and read it later in the manner most appropriate.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make notes, highlight and underline passages. But the Kindle lets you do that using a mini-mouse – and your notes are then helpfully compiled in an appendix at the end. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember where I stopped reading last; the Kindle automatically remembers and takes you there. Looking for a detail you’d already read? Unlike a paper book, the Kindle can search the text for you.

More here (unless the Sunday Times starts charging for back content, or indeed access).

And when McCrum finally gets it...then we have a movement.
However, for all this, I still needed hard evidence that e-reading was here to stay - until last week, on the train from Liverpool Street to Norwich, it happened. I saw a woman happily ensconced with her ebook, lost in the words on the screen like any reader of traditional books.

For me, this is the tipping point. All the anguished commentary in the trade press, all the anecdotes from the US about New York editors reading "manuscript" submissions on e-readers, all this dwindles beside that thirtysomething train traveller quietly at home with her Kindle.

To see a regular commuter choose an ebook over a newspaper or a magazine, a paperback or a library book, indeed over any piece of conventional print, all competing literary distractions: that seems to me to be a moment of the greatest significance.

I still firmly believe that the new technology will not eliminate the old. It's not an either/or choice. That's the lesson from the history of IT, from Caxton to Google.

Perhaps McCrum is in fact the new George Routledge...trains eh? To Norwich. Alan Bennett beware.

And speaking of which:
Mr. [David] Sedaris wrote in a recent e-mail message that he has actually signed “at least five” Kindles, and “a fair number of iPods as well, these for audio book listeners.” A frequent chronicler of his own eccentricities, the author often encounters his readers’ quirks at the book-signing table.

“The strangest thing I’ve signed is a woman’s artificial leg,” Mr Sedaris continued in his e-mail message. “Last year in Austin I signed an actual leg, and its owner had my signature tattooed into her flesh.

From the NYT.

Open Access and "false" History

A Russian perspective. From the St Petersburg Times.
[Dmitry]Medvedev’s commission “for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests” is headed by presidential chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin, who will control which documents remain classified and which ones are opened to the public. There are many reasons to be concerned that the documents most essential to an open and honest study and discussion of Russian and Soviet history will remain locked up.

Interesting stuff here.

Wow! That censor word, from The Times

Digital Britain will also try to tighten up rampant internet piracy of music and films, by trying to encourage the creation of an industry body that will have the power to censor pirate websites so nobody can log on to them.

Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media, is today expected to spell out an alternative strategy as he unveils plans to launch a massive library of music available for unlimited download for a small fee in partnership with Universal Music, the record label behind Amy Winehouse.

Virgin Media believes there is no need for a bureaucratic body to decide what sites people can visit, and that piracy can be curbed by agreement with individual customers. Anybody who signs up for its unlimited music service will also have to agree not to visit pirate websites, or risk have their internet access cut off for one hour. “We won’t be suspending people’s internet connections. It will be more of an intermission to encourage good behaviour,” said one source familar with Virgin Media’s plans.

Censor pirate websites so nobody can log on? Internet access "off for an hour"...Tax breaks for people that buy vinyl? This is getting absurd.

In a slightly more positive mode, this from the Digital Britain team.
The report will also be commentable, of course, which provides a great route for feedback to Team DB. Obviously, this being the final report, there’s no scope for changes to be made to it on the basis of comments received. But we’d like to think that there is plenty that the community can contribute in terms of how the report’s objectives can be implemented.

The publication of the report is just the start of this process, not the end. We need everyone to stay involved and engaged to help us make Digital Britain a reality.

Saying and Doing

The FT reports on a YouGov report, published today. (Registration may be needed for these links).
A majority of British adults would back stronger government intervention against online piracy if it helped protect media industry jobs, according to a survey released today.

The poll comes ahead of tomorrow's release of the Digital Britain white paper, which is expected to include legislation to force internet service providers to work with content owners to block file-sharing websites and aid the prosecution of persistent illegal downloaders.

In a survey of more than 2,000 people by YouGov for the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, more than half supported preventing access to "unauthorised content" online.

These polls: over 50% are concerned about "media jobs"? I think we should see the questionnaire. 1. What is a file-sharing website? 2. How is the "blocking" going to be achieved? 3. What is a "persistent" downloader. 4. Was anyone asked about "new business models"? 5. What about educational initiatives?

And in another article - again jobs are the angle - the FT follows this news up with a piece by the executive chairman of Kudos Productions, Stephen Garrett.
In this parallel universe, consumer rights have acquired the status of a fascistic mantra. What the consumer wants, the consumer gets, even if he does not want to pay for it. Everyone has, to some extent, colluded in this fantasy, blocking out the advertisements while consuming – for “free” – newspapers, films, television shows and music on legitimate websites. Now, and this has happened very quickly, consumers assume they have a right to these things. Free, and forever. Unfortunately this fantasy is unsustainable. All of these cost money to produce; in the case of TV dramas such as Spooks that my company produces, a huge amount. At the point when these creative products enter cyberspace, they are only partly paid for. Producers are dependent on revenues from DVDs and international sales, which piracy hits.

Piracy happens on the internet. The greater the bandwidth, the easier piracy is. We in the creative industries have asked (nicely) that the internet service providers should help tackle piracy by responding in a graduated way to customers of theirs identified as offering or downloading pirated material. The sequence would be along the lines of a warning letter, a “squeezing” of bandwidth, a further cut in bandwidth and then the ultimate sanction: a limitation of service.

It is worth noting here how film and music have (silently) become the UK creative content industry. Where is publishing? Gaming? Software? Academic publishing?

More Carter

The Guardian makes Digital Britain predictions too. Seems somewhat half-hearted, perhaps?
Online piracy

The government sees nothing to be gained this close to an election from making criminals, with no trial, of the estimated six to seven million people who have downloaded illegally copied material. Carter will not introduce a so-called "three strikes" system which results in people being summarily disconnected – instead he is expected to codify in legislation last year's memorandum of understanding (MoU) between several ISPs and the content industry, which resulted in warning letters being sent out to persistent illegal file-sharers.

All ISPs will have to sign-up to a new warning letter regime which will be backed up by "technical measures" that will see the worst offenders have their connection speeds reduced sharply. Exactly how those measures will work and what standard of proof and appeals procedure will be needed, will be the job of the ISPs and content players to work out through the auspices of the "rights agency" – although that will not, however, be its name.

Funding for the new body and regime will come from industry, although Carter is not understood to be in favour of industry levies on computer or internet equipment. But it will still be the responsibility of content owners – either individually or through their own trade bodies – to take any legal action against persistent offenders on whom "technical measures" fail to make any impression. The new regime, however, should deal with all but the most hardened file-sharer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Digital Britain coming shortly, piracy concerns

From the FT.

Digital Britain's ambitious programme also seeks to reduce online piracy of music and other media.

Lord Carter's preference was for content owners and broadband providers to set aside long-standing differences about who should tackle piracy and agree a solution. But the two camps have polarised further since the interim report, so the government is likely to legislate after further consultation this summer.

A proposed "rights agency", which the government hoped would broker digital content rights and enforce action against pirates , proved divisive among ISPs and broadcasters. A new bureaucratic body of some kind is likely to appear in the final white paper, but its powers will disappoint some content owners who have lobbied hard to block persistent file-sharers' internet access.