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How should one distribute the video of one's grandchild's wedding? Well maam, one can set up one's own YouTube channel.

 The Queen is an unlikely pundit for new Internet business models,  but her grandson's wedding on May 29th will be setting an example for others to follow. And it   gives us an opportunity to consider the possibilities for new   Internet business models   and see if there are any  insights for policy-making.


When Charles and Diana got married in 1981, it was a relatively simple affair. A procession from St Pauls Cathedral, watched all in real time by 750 million people  -   one single BBC television feed distributed by government-licenced national networks.


When William and Kate get married next week in Westminster Abbey,  it is predicted that 2.4 billion people will watch it .  But it's not just the numbers, it is  how they will watch it. All the complex machinery  of the Internet  will kick in, creating  a challenge for the broadband providers and a potential headache for copyright. 

Download it,  stream it, on pc, mobile or iPad,  YouTube,  Flickr, upload your own photos, follow the Clarence House  Twitter feed,  check the route on an interactive satellite map, download an app of Westminster Abbey , see the hotel where Kate will spend her last night as a single woman,   even the Ministry of Defence ( Household Cavalry )  is using it  to get some web-based PR.


The entire wedding ceremony  will be streamed live for free and a paid for download will become available immediately afterwards, followed by physical copies in the stores with all sorts of ‘extras' for royal fans.  


One really notable - and perhaps ironic -  difference from 1981 is that Buckingham Palace can now talk direct to the people, without needing the intermediary of the BBC. In a move that single-handedly destroys the exclusivity formerly enjoyed by Britain's so-called public service broadcaster, the Palace will take the BBC video feed, and stream it live, and for free, from its own YouTube channel, with its own commentary.  Indeed, the Palace has issued its own video wedding invitation to all citizens to watch the webcast.


The really slick move is that the whole ceremony will be available to download immediately afterwards on 29th April. It will be a commercial download, produced and sold  (and presumably with a rights agreement attached) by Decca Records. In this way, the Queen  will be sponsoring the test of a new Internet business model - it is believed to be one of the first occasions when the download is released immediately after an event. The objective of course is to make it widely available at the time when people are poised to buy, and remove the temptation for commercially  ‘pirated' editions. 


Copyright is a big issue for the Royal Wedding.  I found several warnings about  ‘pirate' sites and fake FaceBook pages - because  there are many who  want to   cash in on it. 


There are numerious sites claiming to offer Royal Wedding information which appear to be little more than commerical vehicles for selling so-called souvenirs. They seem to be the ones that include Wills-and-Kate in the domain name and have prices in US dollars.


One particular Facebook page is alleged to be  trying to get people to upload their photos, and take the copyright so that it can use them for its own commercial purposes.


However, the Royal Family will not lose, whatever happens. All the apps, streams, and  interactive wedding books will act as a global cyber-promotion vehicle for  the Queen and her family ‘firm' and if others can learn from their experience, so much the better.



Iptegrity  wishes the happy couple all the best on their big day! 



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The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2011) It's a right royal (wedding) download! 22 April 2011  

 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.

Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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