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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! http://www.iptegrity.com 22 April 2011

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.


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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

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