As most UK readers will be aware we have Lord Carter's Digital Britain report available which sets out the vision for the UK economy being one that embraces all things digital (after all, jam making aside, we've nothing else left). If you're not from the UK, don't worry, if you haven't got such a strategy already, you'll no doubt be getting one soon, as all countries see the potential of a digital economy to get us out of the hole we are currently in.
The report sets out some commendable aims, such as creating a digital infrastructure, ubiquitous broadband and all that. But where it comes unstuck is in stressing the importance of protecting copyright online and threatening to crack down on file-sharing. Admittedly they were never going to say 'forget copyright, we promote a free for all', but they seem to be limiting their view of the net to one of a consumer channel. Never mind that four out of the top ten websites in the world are based around people sharing and creating content (YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Wikipedia).
Charles Leadbeater of We-Think fame has an excellent response, which I urge you to read. He sums it up when he says:
And this is the key to the problem with the Digital Britain report. It is, at heart, a cowardly report. They have listened to the protectionist lobbying of the incumbent industries and sought to create a strategy that will serve their needs. Unfortunately, an internet used as a broadcast channel is a long-dead notion, so it will not serve the needs of a new economy. Their proposal to create a digital infrastructure while simultaneously enforcing more stringent copyright is rather like suggesting an investment in eco-friendly cars while listening to the petro-chemical companies and simultaneously slashing petrol prices.
Here is my alternative conclusion:
If you want to have your say, then Tony Hirst and Joss Winn have taken the report and chunked it down handily into paragraphs, which you can then comment on individually at WriteToReply. In other words they've done exactly what the report should be promoting, but seems a long way from understanding.